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Game #76 – Hawks vs. Islanders Douchebag Du Jour: Whatever a Ross Johnston Is

Sounds like the perfect name for a Slapshot character, doesn’t it?

We don’t know who this guy is and we know it doesn’t matter. We know he’s amassed 58 penalty minutes in 17 games. We know that 42 of them came in just two games, including 17 the last time these two met. Sure, he’s a little unlucky that an instigator penalty comes with a 10-minute misconduct and makes things look worse than they are. But still, you see this kind of disphit come up on every team every year.

Johnston can’t do anything. He’s never amassed more than 15 points in an AHL season. What he has done is collect over 130 penalty minutes in two seasons at that level, including 113 in just 38 games this year. Clearly he’s a very skilled hockey player.

And then these nincompoops come up, and they feel they have to impress the coach, and they’ll drop the gloves with anyone who doesn’t have time to figure out that it’s a waste of time to tango with some guy who most likely will be working in a garage or robbing banks with Jeremy Renner’s character in “The Town” in a year or two. And then the coach flaps their hands together like a desperate seal or something. At least that’s the impression.

All of this does nothing of course. If you have to skate a tire iron like this as your 12th forward, why not just dress seven d-men and get all of your top six an extra shift or two per game? Wouldn’t that make more sense? We long for the day when a coach tells the press, “I don’t even know this kid’s name, but punching another food bag on the other team doesn’t impress me. Causing a turnover, making a chance, scoring, these are the things I’m looking for. I could give a shit about fighting.”

Of course, we’ll be dirt-surfing by the time this happens. It’s clear Johnston isn’t an NHL player, so why are we even bothering? He’s not even an AHL player. But in hockey, if you can metaphorically be a loud enough fart, there’s seemingly always a place for you.

Hell toilet.

Game #76 Preview

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Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

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Lineups & How Teams Were Built

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