Unknown to the young Mekkar and by the time of this matchup versus the Penguins, they were already interested parties in acquiring his future services. Clubs from both the WHA & NHL observed his play and loved his toughness. They appreciated the fact he soldiered on and was still effective in a limited role despite the serious hand injury. Plus, the fact that he missed no games on the Selects barn-storming tour. The scouts had their ways of founding out hard to discover inside information from their sources about hockey personnel.
It was a good thing that Mekkar was not cognizant of the interest in him because that might have put too much pressure on him. He might have tried too hard to impress the pro hockey brass with the result of more on ice frequent mistakes and errors. It was already tough enough to draw from the well of his full capacity of skills being exhibited because of the upper body injury. The physical diminishment was considerable, but the determination and heart was extremely visible.
Mekkar learned some new inside lessons during this matchup. He learned the art of sending a message to on ice officials for disparate rulings. Rulings that greatly favored one team over another and ultimately impacted the outcome of the game. He saw examples of individuals trying to line up body checks, usually near the boards, of opponents that would include hopefully clip the refs in the process also. He also overheard statements such as “Be more consistent in your calls for both sides!” The reasoning was to get the attention of the on ice decision makers and send a message to them. That is, if they are going to be awful, at least be consistently bad for both teams as much as possible. Show no favoritism because players and fans eventually learn the referees’ tendencies and recognize these erratic stances. He wanted to incorporate these elements into his game as well.
Other previously unknown perspectives to Mekkar were introduced to him during this part of the trip as well. Whether he want to be or not, Mekkar would be introduced to more insight about the game he loved. For instance, this was an era where dubious activities were always taking place. Members of one squad would place bounties as a reward of carrying out aggressive moves. Violence against individual opposition players, coaches, referees, whole teams, what have you, were common. Mekkar found out that these spirited undertakings have been present for a long time. It could be found in a myriad of athletics such as hockey, football, and many others. At many levels of sports too! Such an environment exists in other realms like the cutthroat business world also. If one needs proof do a research on the mafia and hidden government operations. So, it was not a new phenomenon.
Whoever says they do not know about it is either lying, involved somehow, or willfully ignorant. This includes coaches, managers, executives, etc. Thus, the reason why these deeds of intent are still conducted regularly today.
Management and executives usually turn a blind eye to this type of behavior, but they are acutely aware that it happens as most were athletes at one time or another. However, the suits who are just politician lawyers do target their specific punishment decrees and mete out retribution based on a host of reasons. Some reactions are in reaction to public outcry and perception. Others are due to hidden jealousy, choosing sides in a rivalry, or flat out hatred.
Many excuses are made to conceal the dictatorial mandates and exercise of authoritative power which in turn has an extremely high potential for abuse. There is truth in the saying that: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. [Lord Acton, 1887; William Pitt the Younger, The Earl of
Overbearing answers are given in regard to legality issues as to avoid lawsuits in sue-happy
to cover the speaker’s tracks. However, it is evident for all to see through
the smokescreen, if a person is truly alert to conditions that surround them.
Aslak’s discussions with Mekkar back home made him very enlightened. That is of
the premise that everyone has some sort of agenda and will take actions to
promote it, if they are able.
The match itself was fairly non-descript in that the young Selects squad were vanquished by the Penguins club by a seven to four margin. Jean Pronovost and Rick Kehoe contributed to the scoring. Another player on the
side - Bob
“Battleship” Kelly was given way too much room on the ice as a result of his
pugilistic prowess. He wasn’t just a goon, but also had a good slap shot and
knotted two goals in this match sending the Selects off with another loss.
[Wikipedia; penguinslegends.blogspot.com; penguinpoop.com] Pittsburgh