No, that isn't fog, and that picture wasn't taken in Buffalo. Instead, it was snapped yesterday evening during overtime of a game between the Flyers and Devils in Philadelphia, with the score tied 2-2. I'll let Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post (N.J.) take it from here:
The Flyers thought they had won the game 3:14 into the extra period when Brodeur made a spectacular save on Simon Gagne.We've got the video -- courtesy of Paul Kukla, who apparently hasn't slept all night -- after the jump.
Immediately after referee Dave Jackson waved off the goal, a fan on the second level hurled a smoke bomb onto the ice. It took a couple bounces and landed in front of the Devils bench, where Flyers captain Mike Richards pushed it with his stick.
At that point smoke streamed out of the bomb and Flyers defenseman Vaananen picked it up with his gloved hand.
"I figured I would carry it off quickly so we can move on with the game," Vaananen said. "Maybe I shouldn't have. It caught some flames and I thought, "What if it explodes?' That's not funny. I shouldn't have touched that thing."
A couple of thoughts: If you can get a smoke bomb inside the arena, light it and launch it at the ice and get away scot-free -- as apparently the unidentified perp did, according to Wachovia Center authorities -- just how big a joke is all the extra security we've seen deployed at big league sports arenas over the past few years?
The next question, of course, is what do you do about it? Patrick Elias of the Devils told Gormley that if North American hockey fans want to import a European brand of lawlessness, perhaps it's time for the NHL to import some European-styled justice too:
"It reminded me of soccer games in Italy," said Devils forward Patrik Elias, who said the smell gave him a headache. "Maybe they should do the same thing that they do in Italy when they throw the flares. One game misconduct for fans so they can't come in."Just to clarify, folks, he's not talking about banning one fan, he's talking about forcing the Flyers to sacrifice the gate for an entire home game in order to send the message that this sort of behavior won't be tolerated. As Elias noted, it's happened before, most recently in Italy in 2007, when four matches were played in empty stadiums in the immediate aftermath of the death of a security guard at a previous match.
While I'm sure that plenty of other fans in the Atlantic Division would relish the idea of forcing the Flyers to play before an empty arena -- and heck, in more devious moments I'll cop to admitting I like it too -- it's probably not a viable solution in a league that depends so heavily on gate receipts in order to survive.
My guess is that somebody who was in the crowd knows pretty definitively who threw the smoke bomb. Here's hoping that person or persons step forward and tells what they know.