Impertinent thoughts on pertinent subjects

With respect to long time Hockey News columnist Stan Fischler…

Tom Michalik’s departure by the MAINEiacs this week comes as really no suprise, but what was a little surprising was the public statement issued by GM & Head Coach Ed Harding. “It really was a competition between our 8 defensemen. When you have a 20 year old who gets paid a high salary, that player needs to be in the top 4. In the end, it was a business decision.” Harding said via a MAINEiacs press release.  A business decision?  Really?

A hockey decision I can see and agree with completely. When a team has a younger player or players that play a more solid all around game than their elders, they most certainly deserve a spot in the line up. Not only do they deserve to play, but they deserve the minutes for the efforts and work ethic they exhibit during practice and in game situations. Age or years of service shouldn’t play a factor of whether or not a player sees the ice. Looking at it from that standpoint, Michalik’s spot in the line up was taking away from the development of Dany Coulombe who shows more potential upside at the age of 17 than what Michalik was displaying on the ice this season as a 20. It’s really just that simple.

Dollars and cents for player contracts in the Q really just mean spending money when it is all said and done. The league mandated salary for overage players is around $500 a week. For Harding to call the decision to release Michalik based on business is a little silly. In the end, what Michalik brought to the table just couldn’t justify his existence on the team as a 20, and in fairness to Harding, he gave him plenty of opportunities to make his case.

I’d like to wish the best of luck to Tom and his family. While in some cases it is sad that it had to end this way, where one door closes, another opens and better things await for the young man down the road. Thanks to Tom for his contribution in the championship run, and for doing the best he could. In the end, that is all that can be asked for.

Danick Paquette’s scrap Friday night with Cape Breton’s Mathieu Brodeur was of little surprise, and has to be a cause for concern here moving forward. Justified or not, getting into a battle in the first period while behind 2-0 really wasn’t the smartest decision to make for the 18 year old captain. There again it exposes an achillies heel for the MAINEiacs from the void of the departure of Brett Gallant and the lack of a suitable replacement.

In fairness to Paquette, he’s got to stand up for himself and not be a pushover, but needs to look at the clock and the situation. This incident exposes a fine line that luckily wasn’t crossed this time as Paquette and Brodeur were willing combatants and there was no fines or suspensions levied in the altercation. Looking at Rimouski’s Patrice Cormier who was just suspended by the league two games for taking a simple swipe at a Baie-Comeau Drakkar player last Saturday, one wonders when, not if, the MAINEiacs will be paying out fines and dealing with the loss of the team captain from the line up for an emotional lapse in judgement. Lewiston is a much better team with Paquette in the line up. Paquette can score goals while out on the ice and be an active contributor to the score sheet and in winning games. One feat in the game of hockey that has yet to be accomplished is that of scoring legitimate goals from the penalty box and/or the stands.

With Drummondville on tap for a pair this weekend in an home / at home series, the agitation brought forth by the gritty Voltigeurs will be on full display to get Paquette into trouble. The question will be who will step up in the MAINEiacs line up to deflect some of the attention away from Paquette, and if Danick will be able to remain cool under pressure. This is going to be tough to watch this season unless either Danick skates away from trouble, or Harding finds that player that can protect him as well as finding another way to contribute to the team on a nightly basis. Wins and losses depend on it at this point, and the MAINEiacs have a better chance of winning night after night if Paquette stays on the ice for the presenting of the three stars.

Looking ahead to next week, the MAINEiacs have announced plans for the 2nd annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night on Saturday, October 18 against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The organization will be honoring those who have won, lost, or are battling breast cancer.

Death rates from breast cancer have been declining steadily since 1990, but it remains the second leading cause of death in women. The Lewiston MAINEiacs will be doing their part to help find a cure by auctioning off a one of a kind team signed goalie mask. The goalie mask, designed by Tim Lafrance of East Coast Sign and Design, will be worn by MAINEiacs’ goaltender Peter Delmas during warm-ups and then awarded to the highest bidder in a silent auction during the game.

Other fundraising initiatives to take place during the game will include the MAINEiacs Chuck-A-Puck and Liberty Mutual 50/50 raffle. In addition to the goalie mask, the MAINEiacs will be using custom pink hockey sticks throughout the game. Fans can purchase raffle tickets to win one of the 20 sticks up for the drawing. Also, donations can be made at the MAINEiacs Fan Shop to hang a pink ribbon at the store front. All proceeds from the many fundraising opportunities will go to the American Cancer Society in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

In honor of the fight against breast cancer, MAINEiacs staff and coaches will be wearing pink lapel ribbons for Saturday’s game and the MAINEiacs players will be wearing pink ribbon stickers on their helmets.

To purchase tickets to this special game, contact my good friend Rita Renaud of the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” team. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go to support the American Cancer Society. She can be reached via email at rjrenaud@midcoasthealth.com or by telephone at Mid-Coast Hospital in Brunswick (207) 373-6540.

offthepost@lewistonhockey.com

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