November 19, 2011
In the third quarter of their 37-16 win over the New York Jets on Nov. 13, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady and emphatically spiked the football. The officials felt it happened a little too close to a Jets defender, and hit him with personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But the punishment didn't end there: The NFL hit Gronkowski with a $7,500 fine for the TD celebration, because it's the No Fun League.
Michael A. Mudd, president of the American Hockey League's Worcester Sharks, saw the fine and, in turn, saw opportunity. The San Jose Sharks' AHL affiliate has offered to cover Gronkowski's fine … if Gronkowski agrees to attend a Sharks game against the Providence Bruins on Feb. 24, 2012 and "spike a ceremonial puck" before faceoff.
Ah, minor league hockey. You never let us down. From the Sharks:
"The Sharks would be more than happy to reimburse Gronkowski to spike the puck before a Worcester Sharks game, said Mudd. "Sharks fans are Patriots fans and I know that they would enjoy watching Gronkowski show us how to properly spike a puck at center ice and sign some autographs. I hope Rob takes us up on the offer."
Rob Gronkowski spiked the football after a celebration of a touchdown vs. the Patriots biggest rival, the New York Jets. It would be only fitting if Gronkowski would spike a puck before the Worcester Sharks host their biggest rival, the Providence Bruins on Friday, February 24th.
Gronkowski has yet to respond to the invitation. He also signed a 4-year, $4.44-million contract last year, so he's not exactly hurting for dough. But we get the feeling the money is secondary to the chance to "properly spike a puck" before a rivalry game.
But let's keep the NFL/pro hockey relationship at the ceremonial puck-spike level; we don't need hockey players doing some stupid dance after every hit like they do on the gridiron every given Sunday.
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