For just one night, it seems like the Kansas City Mavericks wanted a throwback night while visiting the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night. Well, at least two players wanted a throwback night. Mavericks fan, however, are not pleased with the actions of their team.
In what started with what is listed as a cross-checking match penalty, ended with a line brawl being shared on sites such as Yahoo, NBC Sports, ESPN, and TSN. Garrett Klotz, a nine-year veteran who boasts a healthy 77 points in 466 career professional games, cross-checked A.J. Jenks once to send him to the ice, and an additional four times as Jenks laid on the ice. All hell broke loose, and rightfully so, with the goalies also getting involved. What was originally hyped as a goalie fight, was quickly seen for what started it, Klotz losing all self-control and excessively cross-checking a helpless player.
It’s worth noting that the Mavericks were trailing 4-0 when the festivities started.
Surely, that’s why Klotz, who was playing in his third ever game with Kansas City, felt the need to change the momentum and take his team on his back or stick; however you want to look at it. The deficit was too much for Klotz to handle, he tried to spark his team! That’s why he felt the need to cross-check Jenks into the boards, and what better way to get your team going than to continually cross-check that same player multiple more times. It had to have been his wiley, veteran mindset that forced him to make such a brave display of teamwork and unselfish play.
Or, it could be that Klotz, a known enforcer for his entire career, had no place being on the ice for the Mavericks.
What was the need that had to be filled by the Mavericks taking a chance on a guy that has played for 13 different teams in nine years? That answer is not for me to guess, but it does make one wonder why a player of Klotz’s skill-set was even added to the roster of any ECHL team.
The fun didn’t stop there, however, after the Walleye scored their fifth goal of the night with just 38 seconds left in the game, Eric Freschi had a center ice run-in with Parker Reno of Toledo. As Reno fell to the ice, Freschi also laid a nasty cross check to the shoulder/neck area of Reno. This was done inconspicuously right in front of head referee Chris Pontes. As you might surmise, a second line brawl broke out, but this time with both goaltenders staying in their respective creases. Pontes deemed the cross check worthy of a major penalty and a game misconduct.
So after the Klotz “incident,” Kansas City probably just wanted to get the hell out of Toledo, but Freschi took it upon himself to add to the Mavericks black eye for the night. Freschi had 42 penalty minutes on the year over a span of 30 games and added 15 alone in that one cross check. Whether or not Freschi is on the ECHL radar for suspension is yet to be seen, but the incident itself added insult to injury and was completely unnecessary with a half minute remaining in the contest.
Since the video of the Klotz incident has gone viral on social media, Mavericks fans have not stayed quiet about their team’s actions. It’s easy for fan bases to wear rose-colored glasses when their beloved teams commit crimes such as this, and I can’t say I blame passionate fan bases for sticking up for their teams. But in this incident, typically positive and loving Maverick fans have expressed outrage and disappointment with the actions of their team. Many comments on Twitter and Facebook state how there was no need for that to happen or even for Klotz to be on the ice and this writer agrees.
When the announcement of signing Klotz became public, I was quite stumped. A Kansas City team who’s trying to play catch up in a playoff race in the Central Division added an enforcer!? Needless to say after Saturday night there are many more people asking the same question.
The only two people who can answer that question are John-Scott Dickson and Brent Thiessen. Now, before I continue, I need to preface what I’m about to say by telling you I’ve met both of these gentlemen, and have a tremendous amount of respect for both. I will never insinuate that either of these guys would condone or promote such actions from their team. That said, the question remains; Why was Garrett Klotz the acquisition that was brought in for a team that is on the outside looking in? I’ll leave that question open for anyone to respond to, but for now, I’m left shaking my head at adding that guy to the roster this late in the season.
The bottom line is actions like these are no longer tolerated in hockey today. With the way the NHL, AHL, and ECHL are now aligned and affiliated, rules trickle down from the NHL. The NHL has made a constant effort to reduce player injuries, and in doing so, they’ve made suspensions very public as to what their reasoning is for the length of each suspension. This transparency makes it clear that actions like those that happened on Saturday night in Toledo are not acceptable. This is a situation in which the ECHL needs to take strong action and make a statement. Especially with the amount of publicity this has received since Saturday night, millions of views on this video on Twitter alone.
It seems silly that actions like these need to be brought up and discussed as unacceptable. The good news is that fanbases are now becoming fed up with seeing it. Everyone loves a good fight or a line brawl, but line brawls caused by selfish and thuggish actions by a guy who scores a point once every six games are no longer accepted or tolerated in the game of hockey. I will be looking forward to the ECHL disciplinarians giving down their judgment, and whether Klotz is the only one suspended, or if there are a couple more surprises.
The bottom line is not only is this writer tired of it but so is the Mavericks fan base. Good for them.