Peter O'Malley, politician, has earned a reputation in Prince George's County governmental circles for his fact and restraint under the most trying circumstances.
Peter O'Malley hockey club president, is less calm and reflective as he proved Saturday night by charging down to Captial Centre ice and remonstrating with referee Bruce Hood after the first period of his Washsington Capitals' 3-1 loos to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I spoke to the officials when they came off the ice," O'Malley faces possible disciplinary action by NHL president John Zeigler for his action, but he accomplished his purpose. Referee Bruce Hood, hwo had ignored the most blatant violations during the first period, called a penalty 15 seconds after the seconds after the second period began and charged the belligerent Flyers with enough violations soon after to leave the visitors shorthanded for a consecutive 5 minutes 51 seconds.
"I was disturbed at what was not happening," O'Malley said, "I went to look for a supervisory official and was advised there were none in the building, I then took the only recourse that was available.
"I reflected on it. I knew what I was doing. There was malice a forethought. If it results in league action, that's the way it will be.
"There were so many people in the stands, divided with regard to partisanship, that I was afraid things would get out of hand. I thought unless the game was more closely called - fairly and impartially - that there was the potential for trouble. The game was heading in a direction I didn't like.
"One reflection, I don't know that talking to them in full view of the crowd was the best way to handle the situation. But things tightened up considerably thereafter, so at least I accomplished what I intended."
During the first period, Barry Dean apparently slashed Washington's Bryan Watson in a renewal of their battle in Philadelphia on Thursday. Watson then cross checked Dean from behind, driving Dean to his knees. When Dean arose, he again slashed Watson with his stick. No penalties were called, although the action took place directly in front of Hood, considered the league's No. 1 referee.
The Flyers' Paul Holmgren and the Capitals's Gord Smith wrestled along the boards in a flurry of elbows, then Watson checked Don Saleski into boards and was punched from behind by Saleski. Hood ignored both incidents.
Finally, a minute before the period ended, a flight broke out between Washington's Bill Riley and the Flyers' Moose DUpont, each being asessed a major penalty.
O'Malley went to the officials' dressing room after the game and induced Hood to accompany him to coach Tom McVie's office. He showed Hood a set of tooth marks on the forcehead of Washington defenseman Robert Picard.
Pickard was attacked by Holmgren in the second period, in another continuation of Thursday violence. Holmgren first tried to board Picard and missed, then he jumped on Picard and, after forcing him to the ice, bit Picard on the forehead. Holmgren drew a major penalty, Picard a minor for this flareup.
Until this season, biting an opponent was considered gross nisconduct and called for automatic expulsion. A rule change, reduced it to unsportsmanlike conduct, a minor penalty. In any event, Holmgren was penalized for fighting, not for biting.
"My postgame visit was made in a different vein," O'Malley said, "I told them it was the first time I had ever said anything to game officials, and there was no evidence of ill will on their part."
O'Malley saidhe planned no formal protest of the officials' alleged over sights.