Tampa Bay Lightning number one draft pick Anthony DeAngelo was suspended for one game this past weekend.
Playing for the Sarnia Sting Junior team in the Ontario Hockey League, DeAngelo missed Sunday’s game against Mississauga after a verbal altercation with a referee in Sarnia’s Saturday night loss to the Erie Otters. I had a conversation with Dave Barody, a freelance writer who witnessed the game. Barody covers the Sting for the team’s website.
After taking a 2 – 0 lead against Erie, Sarnia held on to a 3 – 2 lead after the first period. Erie tied the game in the second period. Heading into the third, the game began to get a little chippy.
After Erie broke the tie at 1:19 of the third period, DeAngelo was called for a cross checking penalty at 2:36 of the third.
Erie capitalized on the ensuing power play with a goal less than a minute later, to make the score 5 – 3 Erie, who went on to win 7 – 3.
Barody told me that as the game headed toward the final buzzer, DeAngelo must have exchanged words with one of the referees. It was this exchange that led to the one game suspension. DeAngelo may have been reacting to what he perceived as a bad call by the referee.
Now, most Lightning fans were made aware of DeAngelo’s past incidents. He was suspended twice last season, prior to the draft, for verbal altercations. One involving a referee, the other involving a teammate. He was suspended for both instances.
Anthony DeAngelo had to address these suspensions after being selected in the first round by Tampa. Steve Yzerman also had to answer questions about the maturity level of his newest draftee.
I realize that I am not the most objective voice when it comes to the Bolts. I am a fan and I make no apologies for that whatsoever. That being said, I want to take as objective a look at this most recent incident involving DeAngelo.
Shortly after the draft, we heard all kinds of stories about this kid, while many “experts” agree he has the skills to play in the NHL in the future, there is no question his stock dropped because of the aforementioned transgressions.
I honestly do not believe for a moment, that if there was even the slightest doubt in Yzerman’s mind about Anthony DeAngelo, that he would have drafted him, let alone, make him the #1 pick in the most recent draft. Based on his four year history with the team, I’ll back Yzerman 100%.
During his brief time with the big club at the beginning of training camp, Anthony DeAngelo was opening some eyes. Captain Steven Stamkos had some nice things to say about his play in one of the pre-season games. Comparisons to Dan Boyle continue to be made, which ain’t a bad thing.
If I had my druthers, and five minutes one on one with DeAngelo, this is what I would say: “Ange, (obviously, if he lets me call him that), Ange, you got a bull’s eye on your back. Some of these refs who will never get higher than working an OHL game, may have a target on your back. Keep your yap shut with them. Harness that anger, and use it to improve your focus on the ice. Digging the pucks out of the corners. Body checking an opposing player off the puck. You will have some bad calls, such is life. Bide your time, bite your tongue and before you know it, you will be playing at the NHL level.”
Anthony DeAngelo will be an NHL defenseman. Of that, I have no doubt. He just needs to know that there are a lot of people who he has to hurdle over to realize his dream.
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