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11-18-2012, 11:30 PM
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Devils benefit from first ever blind referee, beat Panthers 4-2

In what was a historic night for the NHL, Buffalo, New York native Steven Zalewski was given a chance to ref his first pro game despite being legally blind. "It was a wonderful opportunity for me", said the enthusiastic official after the game, "I think I did a fine job, obviously there was a missed call everybody was talking about, but they need to cut me some slack given the situation". The NHL was happy to give Zalewski a chance and look forward to seeing how he performs in future games, "the NHL is very proud to have Zalewski as an official, we have proved to the world that anybody can be part of this wonderful league".

While the mood was generally happy for the on ice official, his family, and the New Jersey Devils, who walked out of Sunrise, Florida with the victory, the Panthers locker-room was not quite as excited about tonight's historic event. "I don't think blind people should be allowed to officiate in the NHL", said winger Sean Bergenheim to the media after the game, "I mean, its great that he got this opportunity, but he missed a CLEAR goalie interference penalty that may have cost us the game".

What Bergenheim is eluding to is the Adam Henrique goal, which gave the lead and helped them win tonight's hockey game. Patrick Marleau clearly pushed goaltender Jacob Markstrom out of the way and allowed Henrique to bury the rebound opportunity. "I didn't see him", said Marleau after the game, "what? Don't look at me like that".

Panthers GM JSolari was not happy about the no-call by the NHL's first blind on ice official, "He didn't see Marleau shove Markstrom completely out of the way to give them the goal", said the angry GM, "I mean, is he (expletive) blind or something!?"

JSolari was later informed that the official was, in fact, blind.

"My bad", said the Panthers GM.

With the 4-2 victory, the New Jersey Devils are now just 4 points shy of a playoff spot. "We aren't thinking about making the playoffs" said the Devils coach Pete Deboer, "because when we do that, we lose. And right now we need to win, so logically we'll just forget about the whole situation and take it a game at a time".

When asked about the blind official's performance in tonight's game, Deboer said "he did fine, for not being able to see anything, you have to give him all the credit in the world"

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