The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost their captain for an undetermined length of time after a scary injury during Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was Corey Perry’s knee that smashed into Tavares’ head at full speed. When play resumed, Nick Foligno dropped the gloves with Perry. That’s the end of the story. In hockey, that’s how it goes, you injure a player, and you answer for it. However, people were quick to demonize Foligno’s actions claiming that because it was an accident, Perry should get a pass.
Let’s clear this up right now. It was an accident. Of course, it wasn’t intentional. First, because it happened too fast to be planned. Second, Perry does his best to jump over Tavares. Third, Foligno acknowledged it was an accident. “I don’t think Perry did anything maliciously,” said Foligno. “I think it’s just a matter of answering and being done with it. It allows us to go play hockey, you know, and whether you feel one way or another about it, our captain is laying on the ice. I’m sure those guys would feel the same way if it was their captain laying on the ice. I think it is the right response. And Perry is a big boy. He obliged, and we handled it and moved on and played hockey.”
Perry Answered For It
That’s how Perry saw it, “Nick came up to me he said, ‘let’s just settle this now, let’s not wait and you gotta do what you gotta do.” As the two discussed, Shea Weber approached, possibly explaining it was an accident, but Perry waved him off. Perry understood Foligno’s intentions.
If you thought the injury was intentional or accidental, the situation was dealt with according to Foligno, “it takes away any grey (area). Whatever happened, it just allows everyone to go back to play.” And everyone did. There were no blindside hits, there was no checking from behind, there were no boarding calls and no spearing. The game went on. Other than one minor tussle after the whistle between Wayne Simmonds and Perry, Perry wasn’t on the screen too much. Foligno accomplished precisely what he wanted to do. Admittedly, in a strange way, he kept the game much safer.
It’s referred to as the Code. It’s self-policing. In fact, it straight out of the Bible. From the scripture Leviticus 24:19-21 “Anyone who injures their neighbour is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.” For those that don’t like the Code, all you have to do is look back to the Tom Wilson incident earlier this month. He ended Artemi Panarin season, and the League did nothing about it. Many will say that is different; Wilson meant to injury Panarin. That’s not how the NHL saw it, and it’s not how Wilson saw it either. He referred to it as a routine hockey play.
Montreal reporters repeatedly asked Foligno about the fight and then asked about the Code, “I don’t see a Code. I just think it is playoff hockey, first and foremost, so you are not taking a backwards step to anybody. And our captain is laying on the ice guys, I don’t know what more I need to say than that.” Foligno, who seemed surprised to be defending his actions, continued, “you stand up for one another whether you feel it’s right or wrong. We are family in there.”
We knew this series would give us lots to talk about, but the Code and the Bible were not on the list. That’s only after one game. Game 2 goes on Saturday night.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.