The knee-on-knee hit is one of the most invidious plays in hockey. So you can imagine the Gatineau Olympiques were fairly irate when they saw there was no penalty call after their brightest talent, centre Tomas Hyka, get taken out late in the first period on Wednesday by Blainville-Boisbriand's Vincent Richer. It went double after 'Piques coach-GM Benoît Groulx, one of the best in the business, got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from referee Dominick Bédard for protesting the call.
Showing that he thought the non-call was garbage, Groulx threw a garbage can on the ice. Here's the play, which came with 2:49 left in the first period of Blainville-Boisbriand's eventual 10-4 win, and the protect at the beginning of the second period.
Hyka, an 18-year-old Czech whom the Philadelphia Flyers wanted to sign last fall before realizing NHL rules required he go through the entry draft, is apparently done for the season. The scolds among us will say there is no excuse for throwing anything on the ice — especially since Olympiques right wing Alexandros Soumakis nearly took some friendly fire during the garbage can toss — and they are right. Keep in mind, though, that earlier this season Quebec Remparts rookie Nick Sorensen had his season ended by a knee-on-knee that was only assessed as a two-minute minor.
In fairness, one can only imagine what the between-periods conversation between the coach and official was like. Putting oneself in Groulx's shoes, he saw what he perceived was a blown call, had his suspicions confirmed by watching video at the intermission, learned his leading scorer was significantly hurt and then got a penalty for addressing it with the referee. There probably will be some sanction from the QMJHL coming for this and Groulx probably knows it, but he was ultimately trying to defend his players.
The game more or less degenerated from there. Richer wasn't even put on the ice in the final 20 minutes.
Here is a second angle on the Groulx protest. As Gregg Drinnan put it, "It's obvious that Groulx hasn't yet been to the Marlin Murray school of cleaning up the bench, but he does get good distance in the garbage can toss."
Murray, of course, is the Junior A coach in Manitoba who got a 12-game suspension for basically throwing anything that wasn't nailed down on the ice during a playoff game last week. (Alas, the video's been pulled from YouTube.)