By Sarah Hall (@)
We need to have a chat, Coyotes fans, and it’s not going to be a fun one.
Over the past 72 hours, a few things have become obvious. Anthony DeAngelo continues to be a dirtbag and Coyotes fans can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to why what he did is an issue.
Saying that an official sometimes deserves to be pushed around is ridiculous. Yes, the officiating this year has left something to been desired but, come on people, saying an official can be abused verbally or physically is ridiculous.
Anthony DeAngelo has a history of Abuse of Officials. He was suspended in Junior for a racial slur towards an official; this is after he was punished by his own junior team for using homophobic slurs against his own teammates. And may I remind you that in juniors, the kids are 16-20 years old and in exceptional cases, 15.
Hockey is working to change the culture and use of homophobic slurs with the likes of You Can Play, but it needs to start younger than 15 in my opinion.
The suspensions did hurt his draft stock that year, he was looked at as a top 10 pick but dropped to 19 in the 2014 draft. Tampa Bay said they were going to give him a clean slate, but he was suspended, again, after his draft year and was benched multiple times while in Syracuse with the Crunch due to character issues.
These are facts, these are not accusations. DeAngelo has a pattern of abuse of officials, which is the least worrying part of the whole thing.
When the Coyotes picked DeAngelo up in the trade from Tampa Bay, I immediately was concerned. The Coyotes are a young team that needs strong, stable leadership. DeAngelo, on the surface, does not meet that criterion.
I’m not going to defend Anthony DeAngelo. This is not a ‘heat of the moment’ issue. This is a systematic problem that he has been dealing with and it is now costing his team and affecting his his teammates.
As someone who takes pride in being a Coyotes fan, and someone who writes about the team, this is making it very hard to stay dedicated to being objective. I can feel myself going from fan to observer, and after an interesting conversation a few weeks ago, maybe that’s how I have to go.
Three games for him to sit and think about what he did, which will not change anything. He has a history, this is a trend from the junior to the NHL level and sitting him for three games won’t make him think about it.
The NHL’s culture is of brushing off ‘problematic’ issues is starting to become a huge concern. It amazed me how many Coyotes fans were willing to write off everything that has happened before because he is a ‘great player.’
This is the same as ignoring what Evander Kane did, what Patrick Kane has done. Writing off acts just because the player is ‘exceptionally good.’ This cannot stand anymore. I am tired of the ‘it shouldn’t matter how he is off the ice, as long as he keeps producing’ attitude. This is how things can spiral out of control so easily.
I am ashamed of the Coyotes fans who are writing it off, not taking what he did seriously, or saying it was perfectly fine for him to touch an official.
You cannot ignore this problem; it will just grow more and more. You need to take it seriously and it is never, ever okay to touch an official.
Coyotes fans, you can’t accept this behavior from players on your team. Just because he can quarterback a power play, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be punished for what he has done. And yes, his past is relevant as we talk about what has happened in the past 72 hours.
DeAngelo needs to be sat down and talked to, this cannot be acceptable behavior. When John Chayka brought him into the organization, he said that they would work on his maturity issues and give him a clean slate. Apparently, DeAngelo doesn’t care, or they haven’t had that talk with him yet.
Either way, this is a mess that needs to be dealt with, and sooner rather than later.