Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Darren Eliot at SI,
The puck-optional pursuit of punishing checks by these kind of players is the bane of the league because the notion of self-policing always enters the discussion when talk turns to repealing the instigator rule. The theory goes that if players weren’t fearful of getting the extra two-minutes for instigating a fight, Ruutu and Hollweg and players of that ilk would cease and desist if they knew they were going to be on the painful end of a pounding. I’m not so sure. Simon’s attacks didn’t back either guy off and what else can they do? They’re both one-dimensional in their play as well as the exception rather than the rule among NHL players.
No, allowing the instigation of fights because of the acts of a couple of wanton repeat offenders isn’t the answer. Stern suspensions will suffice. The longer the stretches that the league keeps these two thugs off the ice, the better.
from Dan Pollard of TSN,
I’ve changed my tune. I think it’s time to set a standard suspension for hits from behind in the NHL. It can’t hurt.
In the latest incident New York Ranger forward Ryan Hollweg, the man who took a Chris Simon stick to the face a year ago, ran Montreal Canadien Sergei Kostitsyn.
There’s no irony that Hollweg was involved in the two incidents.
In case you missed the hit from Hollweg, you can view it here on KK...
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
The incident occurred late last season and though Nieminen was ejected from the game and later suspended, in old-school fashion, he wasn’t forced to answer for his crime within the arena.
In the press box, former Blues tough guy and current team radio analyst Kelly Chase scowled.
“When I played, I didn’t have to call (National Hockey League commissioner) Gary Bettman to find out what the punishment was for running a guy from behind in Detroit,” Chase said. “The punishment was (Bob) Probert and (Joe) Kocur.”
According to popular logic, the reason why this form of capital punishment is no longer delivered is the instigator rule. That’s Rule 56 (a) in the NHL rule book, if you are inclined to look it up.
from Pat Connolly of the Daily News,
On the one hand are the hockey purists and more learned observers found mostly in Canada who like the game played hard and clean at high speeds.
On the other hand is the vastly larger number of American fans less enthused about game quality than physical violence, with insatiable appetites for bare-knuckle brawling.
With only six Canadian governors out of 30 sitting at the NHL board making decisions concerning the direction of the league, guess which side wins?
A prime example of how influential one governor can be is Bettman confidante and boardroom bully Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that has reinvented itself as the 1970s’ Broad Street Bullies.
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
What comes as a shock to long-time observers, however, is that now the NHL Players’ Association wants to get involved, and not necessarily to fight off the suspensions that were handed down by Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Director of Hockey Operations, as well as the perceived threat of additional suspensions that were hinted at by Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly.
Paul Kelly, who barely has found a chair that fits him as the NHLPA’s new executive director said recently that he’s “concerned” about the number of suspensions the Flyers have been given since the start of the season and that not only should the league take a tougher stance, but that his organization should “have a voice in the process.”
Given that he’s not dead, it would be wrong to say that former NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow is spinning in his grave over that one, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Kelly’s statement made his head turn. Criticism of Goodenow within and outside the PA often centered on how he handled on-ice or player-on-player violence. The perception (Goodenow argued it was unfair) was that the PA was quick to come to the defense of any perpetrator, but did next to nothing to protect the health, safety and long-term welfare of the player who was unduly or unfairly assaulted.
from the Windsor Star,
Last season, defenceman Sean Hill was suspended 25 games by the league after testing positive for steroids.
For his attack on Moore’s brother, Bertuzzi - like Shore a player with a history of violence - missed only 20 games.
In other words, in a span of more than 70 years, not much has changed when it comes to the NHL disciplining its violent offenders.
Hockey remains the only sport where the rules vary as the game progresses. Penalties in football and fouls in basketball are called the same way no matter how much time remains on the clock.
“Make the rules black and white and enforce them as they are written,” is Moore’s challenge to the NHL.
from David Amber at ESPN,
This week’s “10 Degrees” counts down the 10 dirtiest incidents.
10. May 29, 1996: Claude Lemieux’s hit from behind on Kris Draper
He has as many Stanley Cup rings as Wayne Gretzky, but Claude Lemieux’s legacy is often tied to a hit that sparked one of the NHL’s best rivalries, something Colorado and Detroit fans will never forget.
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via Yahoo,
Players around the league have roundly applauded hefty suspensions to Philadelphia Flyers forwards Steve Downie and Jesse Boulerice this season. The message is clear: hits to the head will no longer be tolerated.
“That kind of stuff is crazy,” said veteran winger Mark Recchi. “That’s stuff that doesn’t belong in the game. We’re a sport that allows fighting and you can vent your frustration by a fight if you want, but it’s a clean, hard game and that stuff doesn’t belong.
“I think (NHL disciplinarian) Colin Campbell has done the right thing.”
read on for the reaction from other NHL players…
note 1:22pm, I missed my morning coffee earlier today and forgot to note this was from a tele-conference Campbell did yesterday.
Q. So often in these things we hear about repeat offender things, that each suspension thereafter is harsher. Now we’ve had two against a team in a short period of time. Is there any provision where teams can now be held responsible for their players’ actions as well?
COLIN CAMPBELL: There’s nothing formal that holds a team responsible. I guess if you really look at the issues they have to deal with, their roster situation, they have to deal with paying the player and with other aspects that come with losing two players that they’re paying. But there’s nothing formal that punishes the team for the number of players who are suspended.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...There are, however, signs, that the NHL is trying to change that mindset, one suspension at a time — the Boulerice suspension ties with Chris Simon for the longest in history, relating to an on-ice incident.
But the league could fast-track the process by extending the discipline to the respective teams as well. Fines to the club, suspensions for the coach - those sorts of penalties might encourage teams to think twice about employing players who haven’t yet figured out that the culture of head-hunting is going the way of the dodo.
The simplest solution might even be the least complicated — simply prevent a team from replacing a suspended player in the line-up.
more and other NHL bits too in Eric’s weekly NHL roundup…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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