I had no problem watching last Friday's Islanders-Devils game on MSG Plus HD. Thanks to Cablevision's insistence on always placing the Islanders on MSG Plus 2 whenever the Rangers, Devils, or Knicks are playing the same night, I had to choose either listening to Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe and watching in low-def or watching in HD with Mike Emrick and Chico Resch.
It was really no contest. Sorry, Howie and Billy, but I have a nice HD set and cannot watch hockey on low-def anymore. Plus, Emrick is one of the best play-by-play men anywhere—and now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame—and I've never had a problem with Chico. The guy was an ex-Isle and he's likeably goofy.
But did you know Chico was also a mindreader?
Immediately after Frans Nielsen was leveled by Mike Mottau in the third period of the 5-2 Devils win, Chico came to Mottau's defense and said he knew that Mottau was not trying to go at Nielsen's head or injure him.
Really? You knew what he was thinking? Well, Chico, I think you may be wasting your time doing Devils color commentary. Mind reading is a pretty marketable skill. You can play Vegas with an act like that, although the government would probably find a use for you as well.
Mottau clearly made a run at Nielsen, who was flying around the ice like Apolo Anto Ohno and has been one of the Isles' best players recently. Mottau went after him, and if Nielsen wasn't so quick, he would have caught him clean in the head.
As it happened, Nielsen wasn't hit as hard up top, but in the process he caught an edge and is now out for eight to 12 weeks with a leg injury. It was an awful, awful play and a tough break for an Islanders team that has already had to deal with a ton of injuries.
That said, I have no problem with the two-game suspension handed down by Colin Campbell. Would I have given him three or four games? Probably. But had Nielsen not caught that edge, he probably would have been well enough to continue.
The leg injury was collateral damage, in a way, and while I have no doubt what Mottau's intent was, you could make the argument that he didn't mean to go after his head. A weak argument, I'll grant you.
But Chico can't tell us he KNEW what Mottau intended, especially when the visual evidence implies the opposite.