• By: Dave Gross

Rielly, Greig incident draws out the ‘Pin-Dicks’

Middle ground and balanced opinion?

Not that we were expecting anything different but there wasn’t much of that coming out of Saturday night’s coup d’etat of the Ontario hockey universe by frothing fans on both sides of the fracas involving Ottawa’s Riley Greig and Toronto’s Morgan Rielly.

Make no mistake, there was and is absolutely zero neutrality or moderate positioning being taken by either the Leaf faithful or Ottawa’s.

That’s just the way of things.


And it goes back well past a Colton Orr TKO on Matt Carkner. Hell, when you’re dragging names like Rico Persson, Andre Roy, Tie Domi and Kris King into the mix, that’s going a long, long way into the past.

And like the historic Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, that extensive history conjures generations of discord. It also conjures tribalism . . . a perfectly perfect word brought up Monday on the 32 Thoughts podcast.

From one description of the word: “Tribalism can take many forms in our modern society. One prominent example of tribalism is individuals’ strong affiliations with sports teams. These affiliations are often built on regional identities . . .

From Jeff Marek on the pod: “I can’t help but think if the roles were reversed and it was Matthew Knies scoring an empty-net goal (with a slapshot) and Brady Tkachuk went after him, the roles would be completely reversed. It’s almost like one of those exercises you do in high school where it’s ‘this is the position YOU have to take, and this is the position that THIS side has to take’ and then you flip (the positions) halfway through the debate.”

Elliotte Friedman then? “Ninety-nine per cent of the people who are arguing about this on social media, if you reverse the two teams . . . all these people are going to reverse their decisions. They are not arguing so much what they believe, they are arguing the bias that they have.”

“Say if Nick Robertson (slapped one into the empty net), the Ottawa fan would want Brady Tkachuk leaving the ice with blood coming out of his teeth like one of the vampires in I Am Legend. That’s just the way life is.”

So not surprisingly the past 2-3 days has been rich – if you can call it that – with the I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong gang. Somebody should step on their air hoses.

Civility takes a backseat here as well.

So too does impartiality and objectivity, even from media people who’ve been somewhat even-handed covering the game for eons. The whole getting-swept-away-by-homerism thing is disheartening.

Really appreciated Nick Kypreos (476 NHL games played) though on this shebang during his own show Monday with a comment about the social-media-hockey virtuosos browbeating the other side. Nick said the only ‘opinion’ that counts here is the one being held by the guys on the ice.

Nobody else matters.

So – Tommy living in your great auntie’s basement in Glen Cairn, nobody cares what you think . . . (except me Tommy. Like Frasier, I’m listening. I really care).

So let’s leave it to former NHLer Bobby Ryan (yup, from another podcast: Coming in Hot. 907 NHL games played. FYI.) to bring it on home: “If someone takes a slapshot like that, that (the Rielly incident) is going to happen 1000 per cent of the time. And if we don’t (react), we have a bunch of pin-dick writers come in and say: ‘You guys had no f—-ing response!’ Players can’t win (in that situation) so if I’m Morgan Rielly, I’m going right at his head.”


I lied.

One more quote to go.

Let’s leave it to Ryan’s co-host, Jason York, to bring it all on home: “If #PinDick is not trending before sunset then I just don’t what to say anymore!”



Tuesday, Feb. 13: Columbus at Ottawa (7 pm)

Thursday, Feb. 15: Anaheim at Ottawa (7 pm)

Saturday, Feb. 17: Ottawa at Chicago (3 pm)

Monday, Feb. 19: Ottawa at Tampa (7 pm)

Tuesday, Feb. 20: Ottawa at Florida (7 pm)