Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Removing the trapezoid, the area behind the goal line where NHL goaltenders are allowed to play the puck, is another idea that will get discussed by the competition committee.
Some believe, the combination of forwards barreling in on the forecheck, protected from obstruction, and goaltenders not being allowed to freely move the puck have contributed to injury.
Paul Kelly wonders if Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn would have been in the same vulnerable position if Vesa Toskala had been allowed to get to the puck before Montreal’s Tom Kostopoulos raced in to complete his check…
The NHL’s Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell, had the following memo, obtained by TSN, posted in every NHL dressing room on Friday….
“We cannot and will not tolerate blows to the head that are deliberate, avoidable and illegal. Furthermore, both the history and status of the offender (first time versus repeat) and the nature of the injury caused (if any) will be taken into consideration as they have been in the past. The length of suspensions for illegal blows to the head will be increased if these incidents persist across the League. Taking steps to maintain the safest on-ice environment possible for the Players remains our most important priority.”
“Well, it’s like I said, it’s the “New NHL,” they want scoring, they’re supervising these referees…And, I mean, just compare it to basketball; how many times do you see a team get in foul trouble, you know, once they get up a bit? It’s almost like it’s controlled to a certain extent by the referees, the officiating, and the supervisors, so…I mean, it’s not like they’re keeping it a secret—they’re telling the referees to call penalties…”
-Chris Chelios. More at SnapShots…
from Sean McCormick of Sportsnet,
Effective Wednesday, the NHL has increased the penalty for elbowing from two minutes in the penalty box to two games in the press box.
That is the reality of the situation following the two-game suspension that the league handed Jarkko Ruutu for his “elbow” on Maxim Lapierre last night in Montreal. For the record, Lapierre was not injured and Ruutu was penalized two minutes on the play…
By entertaining the whimpering Habs, the league has set a dangerous precedent. Bryan Murray said as much today, inferring that a precedent has now been set.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Now I don’t expect a goalie will slip some netting between his pads or anything like Tony Esposito was alleged to have done way back when, but is it outside the realm of consideration to think a netminder might have an equipment guy go back and get that “favourite” glove or blocker, the one that wasn’t quite up to stuff at the start of the season when measurements were made?
Who’s to determine whether the incoming goalie’s stick is extra long or has a paddle that is just a shade wider than the league allows (after all, poke checking is less of an art and more of an advantage if the stick is longer than the rules allow)?
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
To hear Ray Scapinello tell it, his path to this week’s induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
To hear his fellow NHL officials, coaches and players tell it, “Scampy’ was always in the right place at the right time.
Scapinello, 62, is being honored because he set all the records for NHL linesmen: 33 seasons, 2,500 consecutive games and 426 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was chosen for the playoffs in only his second season, 1972, and continued every year until he retired in 2004. He never missed an assignment in his career.
One of my first interviews on KK was with Ray, a little over two years ago. What a great guy and I am so glad to see him go into the HHOF.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
With all the recent focus on hits to the head following last Saturday’s violent collision at the Coliseum in which Doug Weight concussed Brandon Sutter with what is classified as a legal hit in the NHL, it is beyond mind-boggling that notorious repeat offender Chris Pronger was allowed to escape a suspension, let alone a penalty, for the shoulder blow he delivered to Pavel Datsyuk’s head on Wednesday night.
The puck was some 40 feet away on the boards when Datsyuk came across the line and appeared to first encounter defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Pronger came second against the off-balance Detroit center and got the shoulder high into the head.
from P. J. Stock of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
You know what’s funny? I’ve looked and looked and still can’t find anything in this year’s booklet that says anything has changed. Despite all the complaints, there is still no rule, penalty or HEAD SHOT category.
Why is it now the fault of the hitter and not the fault of the who ... the hitee? (You understand).
What is the first thing you teach a peewee kid when he’s starting to play contact hockey? Keep your head up! Protect yourself!
Why when one of these players gets tattooed in today’s NHL it’s not their fault for not keeping their head up? Why isn’t it their fault for not protecting themselves? Why?
from Scott Morrison at Sun Media,
The problem remains, though, that the easy answer isn’t the answer that is easy to sell at the pro level, meaning not everyone is convinced that an automatic penalty for a hit to the head, regardless of the intent, as they do in Ontario junior hockey, is the way to go.
Fact is, a year ago, the NHL’s general managers decided it wasn’t the way to go. When they debated the situation last winter, when there were several more injuries, all agreed they didn’t like to see players getting hurt, but that hockey is also a physical game.
The question was asked, because the league has taken away low hits. If it eliminated hits to the upper body, what would be left?
So, it was decided that as long as the hits to the head are accidental and not a head hunt, then it’s part of the game and players best keep their’s up.
added 8:50am, from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,
In simpler times, Darryl (Sutter), 50, figures Weight would have held up for fear of the inevitable retribution coming his way.
Maybe not on the same shift. Maybe not in the same period. But, at some point, retribution would arrive.
“The game has changed a little bit,” he said. “That’s a legal hit. The player had his head down and he got hit. But would it have happened when we were all playing? Probably not.
“Because that player knew if he was going to do that, it was going to be a long night for him. That’s the difference.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Jim Rutherford was right; so, for that matter, were Guy Carbonneau and Brent Sutter and everyone else who, in the past 48 hours, raised alarm bells about blows to the head — and the fact that the NHL really, truly has a problem on its hands.
What makes their voices more likely to be heard is that all are old-school hockey men — and thus immune from the criticism that changing the rule book (and the mindset) about how to police shots to the head will leech contact out of the game.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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