NHL Pin

April 1, 1978

Bruins forward Bobby Schmautz received a two-game suspension following a review of the shoving incident involving NHL linesman Kevin Collins on Tuesday of that week.

According to both sides, Collins gave Schmautz a shove toward the penalty box after the Bruins right wing was whistled for a penalty. Schmautz responded with two shoves, which the league deemed one more than necessary … or, at least, acceptable.

“We considered Schmautz’s first shove a reflex. But there was no excuse for the second one,” NHL executive director Brian O’Neill said, as reported by the Boston Globe. “The provocation didn’t justify the action he took.”

How the world has changed, eh? Or is there a reason to believe that, today, if an NHL player shoved an official once that he’d get anything less than two lifetime sentences in the penalty box?

Officials should not be shoved, or touched in any other unwelcome way, in any sport. Nor should they do any shoving as a player makes his way off the playing surface.

Collins was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016 and there is no indication that he didn’t deserve it. But his tangle with Schmautz was not his finest hour.

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