by Patrick Hoffman on 03/22/10 at 02:45 PM ET
I recently conducted an e-mail interview with Millian, the host of The Blue Line: Hockey Talk Radio:
PH: I know that this has been beaten to death but what are your thoughts on the Cooke-on-Savard hit? What could the NHL have done to rectify that situation?
M:: People keep comparing it to the Booth/Richards hit. The thing is, that the Booth hit seemed to me like a play within the rules. Booth specifically had his head down, and Richards landed one on him. In the Cooke hit, there was a much different air to it. You can’t just sense from the hit, and the follow-up interview that Cooke had a MUCH greater motive and overall, this hit on many levels seems much more deliberate. So, I think this was a dirty hit, and the league let one get away from them.
There is nothing to do really to rectify, as much as letting someone else beside Colin Campbell make the decisions. I would consider making the case that the league is trying not to rock the Player Union boat too much especially this close to a contract negotitation. So, there is definitely an underlying motive, and I doubt we will ever really know.
PH: What did you think of the Ovechkinon-on-Campbell hit on Sunday afternoon? Should Ovi have been suspended?
M: I used to be a real big fan of Ovechkin, and I used to like his style, and his persona that he projected. I’ve had a chance to meet him, I’ve seen the kind of plays he makes, I’ve seen illegal hits that went unpenalized or without suspension, and it all comes back to the fact that the league doesnt need one of their poster boys sitting on the sidelines. So, the famous double-standard appears again.
In the Campbell hit, Ovechkin clealry pushed him, in an area that left him no space to recover from. At the point of contact, Campbell’s skates are parallel, and he is leaning to his left to circle around back of the net. Contrary to people saying that Campbell was off-balance, and that he embellished the hit, one can clearly see that this is not the case. The GR8 enablers of the world, need to admit that Ovechkin is a dirty player. I don’t care if he is your guy, or if you’re a fan, the first step is admitting this. Something about attacking female fans, and generally acting like a buffoon turns me away from appreciating him.
I think the suspension in this case is merited. The league, however, needs to consider the notion that your suspension coincides with the number of games your victim misses. AO misses 2 games, whereas Campbell misses 8-10 weeks. But, as we have already determined, the league can’t go too long without their guy. Politics before the fans, is the S.O.P…
PH: Earlier two weeks ago, the NHL general managers met to discuss hits-to-the-head and potential rule changes. If you were an NHL GM, what rule changes would you have proposed? Why?
M: I must agree with Don Cherry on this one. There ALREADY exists a rule to handle headshots. They call it a “Match” penalty, and its used for any form of intent to injure. So, if there is a blindside hit to the head, its a match. If you check someone from behind like Ovechkin, its a match. If you slew-foot someone, and tangle up a players legs like a pretzel on purpose, it’s a match. Suspensions are automatic following a match penalty, and therefore solve the problem.
Instead, we have existing rules that we ignore. And with that, we have to invent a whole bunch of new rules to substitute for the ones we don’t already call. Just like the obstruction rules that supposedly caused the lockout. Before the rule changes, there already existed hooking, holding, obstruction and etc. We had to lose an entire season for people to realize, that they had the ability to call them the whole time.
So, no rules, no proposals, no nothing. If there is a headshot and the refs think it was intentional, then call a match. Why are they trying to over-complicate these things?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.