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By D.K. Williams
October 29, 2001
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FRONT LINE
Coach Graeme Townshend and Arley Johnson were joined by players Shaun Peet and Chris Brassard at Parmesan’s Great Italian Buffet for the Front Line, Townshend’s weekly coach’s show on WWBG 1470 AM. Team captain Jason Robinson was also present, but he did not take to the airwaves.
For those that missed it, or who live outside the WWBG 5000 watt flamethrower signal, I have compiled some of the highlights from the show. The italicized portions are my comments.
Shaun Peet and coach Graeme Townshend talked candidly about Peet's suspension and fighting in hockey.
SHAUN PEET ON HIS SUSPENSION
arley asked Shaun about the suspension and the fight that precipitated it.
SHAUN: You have a guy (the Royals’ Steve Shirreffs) running around spearing all our guys. He still thinks its college hockey and he can get away with it.
Something needed to be done. I didn’t jump him. He knew it was coming. I told him "we are going to go." He didn’t fight, so I was going to make him fight. When he was on the ground, I’m not going to hit a guy on the ground. I kind of let up when he was on the ground.
I turned around, and their biggest guy on the ice was going against one of our smallest (Craig Stahl, who is listed at 6-foot-0 and 198 pounds by hockeydb.com). I got up and tried to even that fight out. Obviously, what I did there could be looked at a couple of different ways, but where I’m from, you stick up for your friends, just like a lot of these guys would on our team. I know we would.
I was going off [the ice], and I turn around and he’s challenging our bench. The whole situation could have been avoided if the officials had done their job, and I’m not putting it on the officials, believe me, I’m a man and I’ll take my responsibility.
It was just a matter of them taking liberties with us. I wasn’t going to stand for it, and if it wouldn’t have been me it would have been someone else who would have done it.
It is something my dad instilled in me. We are family, and you stick up for your family. I can’t say that I would do it again. According to the league, I have to say I am very sorry for the incident.
But if your brothers are in trouble, you gotta get in there. Unfortunately some people growing up didn’t see their name in the paper enough and need to see it there more often. Some people that don’t play hockey like to see their name in the paper and unfortunately it came at my expense.
GRAEME ON PEET’S SUSPENSION
Arley made the comment that the entire front office and organization was behind Shaun Peet.
On a personal note, if someone comes up to me and says "Hey, we are going to fight when the puck drops," I’m going to probably be ready. And I’m not going to let the guy pummel me.
That just shows a lack of character on the part of the kid that turtled when Shaun told him what was going to happen.
Whether you like it or not, hockey is a game that involves fighting. If people don’t want fighting in the game of hockey, then they ought to petition the league and show their support against fighting.
I’ll tell you what, everybody in that building, as far as I’m concerned, was on their feet going crazy when our guys where fighting.
You constantly hear "We don’t like fighting, we don’t like this," but it must be those 20 people in the building that like fights that sound like 5000. Those are the loudest 20 people I have ever seen in my life.
Fighting is part of the game. From a player’s standpoint, if someone tells you they are going to fight you, well, get ready.
So because the kid turtles, we get in trouble. I don’t like how Shaun is being portrayed.
I have known Shaun for three years almost and he is an honest upstanding citizen, a great person, a tremendous competitor, he works extremely hard and he is there for his teammates.
If I were to handpick a player or teammate, I would want him watching my back.
I agreed with what he did as far as sticking up for Craig Stahl, I don’t care what anyone says.
If your teammate is losing a fight, I don’t care. It is like I told one of my guys last week, if my brother is in a fight, whether he is winning or losing, I’m jumping in and making it two on one.
That’s how me and my brother used to do things when we were kids. I don’t care what anyone says. That’s my brother. If he’s in a scrap, if he’s winning or losing, I’m jumping in there and making it overwhelmingly in his favor. That’s it.
And that is the way it is on the ice. You guys are brothers out there and they need to stick up for each other and they are going to stand up for each other.
If the guy is losing or winning, and he wants to jump in there and help him out, then that is the way it goes. If people don’t like it, well, I don’t care if they don’t like it.
That’s just the way it is. I’m sure Shaun knows if he ever gets in trouble he is going to have 15 or 16 guys backing him up, and that is a great feeling, because he came from a team last year where nobody would have stuck up for him. That’s a scary feeling.
I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve played with teams where guys didn’t stick up for each other, and I’ve played with teams where guys would die for each other.
You’ve got a team here with guys who will die for each other.
THE 3-2 SHOOTOUT VICTORY OVER THE INFERNO IN COLUMBIA, SC
Arley discussed how the victory had to improve the confidence of the team.
GRAEME: I think so. Any time you win a game you are going to gain confidence. I think the way we won that game, coming from behind… we were down 1-0 and tied the game up. We were down 2-1 and came back and won the game.
I think that alone gives you a lot of confidence, knowing you can win those types of games when you are down, especially on the road. That’s huge, travelling the day of the game, playing in a rink that is not regulation size (NOTE: The Columbia rink is smaller than regulation).
ARLEY: It’s a good home-ice advantage for them.
GRAEME: Absolutely. The boards there play to their style of play. They know all the kinks and the different flaws in their rink and they take advantage of those flaws, believe me. (NOTE: This advantage is akin to the way the Boston Celtics took advantage of the dead spots on the old Boston Garden floor).
Those boards are terrible. I feel bad for the visiting goaltenders. It is a shocking surprise when that puck goes off the end boards and ends up in the upper slot for another shot on net. It is like an indirect pass to yourself sometimes. It is unbelievable.
It is a tough rink to play in. It gives them a huge advantage.
THE READING REMATCH ON HALLOWEEN IN PENNSYLVANIA
ARLEY: Do you expect it to be a little chippy, do you expect there to be a little payback on your part on Reading’s part?
GRAEME: I don’t think we are in any position to try and get payback because nothing happened to us (laughs) on the ice. As far as anything extracurricular we are not going to be too worried about that.
As far as the physical side of the game is concerned, I think they have more to worry about on that end. We just need to go out there and win a hockey game. That’s really all we are going out there for.
We’ve set the tone, basically. Everyone knows what kind of hockey club we have, and that if anything happens on the ice, everyone on this team is going to stand up for the next guy.
I think that we have made that statement. If you look at that game (the Reading game in Greensboro October 20th) as a statement maker, then that is great. I think that is what that game was. Now it is just time to go out there and win a hockey game.
We are going to go on the road and play a good solid road game and play Generals’ hockey and come up with the two points.
THE COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, COTTONMOUTHS
Coach T, Brassard and Peet have been associated with the Macon Whoopee in the past. Macon and Columbus were big rivals in the Central Hockey League. They are only 90 miles apart. Greensboro travels to Columbus to take on the Cottonmouths this Friday night.
ARLEY: Graeme, Chris, Shaun, do you still consider these guys an archrival?
CHRIS: I do personally because the fans are going to be the same people. (laughter ensues). They love me there. I can’t wait to get there and play again.
ARLEY: Shaun, do you still consider them a major rival because of the bad blood from last year.
SHAUN: Absolutely. You go into that rink and it’s like a scene straight out of Deliverance. (much laughter ensues).
GRAEME: Oh that’s harsh. I don’t think I’d go as far as Shaun, but it’s definitely a place where we like to win. Over the last couple of years, the way things have gone, it seems they have gotten all the breaks in that building.
We always played really well against that club, so our guys will be pumped up to play against them.
As far as being an archrival, I don’t feel that way about them anymore, because we only see them a couple times a year. You have to play a team ten or twelve times a year to really get a rivalry going. That’s gone for me right now. They are just another hockey club that we need to go and defeat.
THE CHARLOTTE CHECKERS
The Gens play Charlotte this Saturday in the first game in Winston-Salem. Arley compared the Greensboro-Charlotte rivalry with the Macon-Columbus rivalry, and pointed out that the Checkers have won the last 10 games against Greensboro.
GRAEME: I feel the same way about Charlotte as I felt about Columbus when I was in Macon. They are a club we want to spank quite often this year. I say that with a lot of confidence, because I feel it is a team we should beat consistently.
I think with the type of hockey we are playing right now, we should give them a much better game than we gave them last time. (NOTE: The Generals fell to the Checkers 4-2 on October 14 in Charlotte’s home opener). I’m not saying we didn’t give them a good game, but they had a couple of really lucky bounces that ended up in our net.
But this time around, we are on our home ice and things are going to be different.
We’d like to fill this building up and we’d really like to put on a good show for the fans. Come on out and support our team. If we can get that place packed it will be a huge advantage for our team.