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Afternoon Line- Jim Rutherford

“I hear year after year how the league and everyone loves how the Penguins play they play pure hockey and they skate.’ Well, now it’s going to have to change and I feel bad about it, but it’s the only way we can do it. We’re going to have to get one or two guys…and some of these games that should be just good hockey games will turn into a sh—show. We’ll go right back to where we were in the ’70s and it’s really a shame.”

-Jim Rutherford, GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more....

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+rutherford

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Ken is a joke.  His obsession with Crosby discredits his journalism and he is second only to Sid in his ability to whine.

Posted by SevensForTed on 05/28/17 at 07:15 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

and Rutherford is any worse ??
Figures, a former goalie whining about Nashville’s physical play.
They don’t call it “Smashville” for nothing.
Penguins had their fair share of physical players but they got old and were never replaced.

Should be interesting to go see a Carrie Underwood concert later this summer and see her bring out the Stanley Cup ... YEE-HAAAAA

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/28/17 at 07:33 PM ET

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Ken Campbell goes way, way over the top in his extreme and seemingly almost singular
focus on Crosby and the Pens.

That’s special pleading, in both senses - why all the crying about one player and team
who have been extraordinarily favored by the league for years and years when it comes
to penalty calls, non-calls, and an at-times almost sickening over-saturation of Sidney
and Penguins hype. He also ignores all of the dirty players and goons the Penguins have iced during
the Crosby era. It’s not like the Pens haven’t dressed Tom Sestito, of all sort-of-players, in games this past season. Funny, I didn’t notice Sestito trying to protect Crosby or retaliating against abuse to Crosby.
I noticed things like Sestito skating through the crease right into an unsuspecting goalie’s head, when he was tracking the puck, knocking that goalie out of the game.

So, I guess Rutherford is letting the NHL know that he will both bring in some more serious goons like Sestito
- and fully expect continued special treatment for Crosby and his teammates.

I say this as a Wings fan who really holds no special animus toward Crosby or the Pens.

But it’s almost hilarious as a Wings fan to read all of this complaining on behalf of and from that team in particular. What else was it, other than special star and team treatment, when Evegeni Malkin jumped Henrik
Zetterberg in the closing minutes of a losing game for the Pens and instigated a fight against a much
smaller player. Where was the automatic suspension then? Where was the protection of Zetterberg when
Shea Webber decided to stop playing hockey and take up pro wrestling, slamming his opponents head, with
both hands, into the glass, cracking his helmet?

As the fan of a team whose GM has unilaterally disarmed and refused to protect his own players, at the expense of serious abuse, injuries and even early retirements and a life-time of poor health for some, I both wish the league seriously crack down players who repeatedly play to injure opponents and - more realistically - wish that GM would pull his head out of his behind and add some protection to the lineup.

But why exactly did Crosby get away with a gratuitous shot below the belt and a violent and damaging slash to an opponent? Those were pretty glaring cases that occurred in a short period of time. And he got a free pass both times.

And we’re supposed to cry in unison with Ken and Mike because a good, contributing player on an opponent sprayed some water at Crosby from the bench? Yeesh. If we’re going to be that uptight, call unsportsmanlike conduct, two minutes, and move on. But be consistent!

And what about Brad Marchand, another star player on a very favored team, who so consistently displays
a complete lack of respect for the safety of his opponents? The non-calls and/or tiny wrist-slaps in his case are so beyond laughable they verge on tacit admission by the league that Jeremy Jacobs’ players get special treatment and play by different rules and that’s just the way it is - i.e. the league is corrupt.

Apparently, Rutherford and his stenographer, Campbell, want something akin to “Jordan’s Rules” for Crosby
and perhaps a couple other players the league wants to market. Or the alternative is the boogey man - the return of true enforcers. It’s funny to see both basically admit that, because they don’t think their favorite
players and teams don’t get quite enough favoritism, enforcers are now actually necessary and effective.

Though I’ve never wanted to see the repeal of the instigator rule, as I think vicious mismatches represent about the worst of hockey, it’s interesting that Campbell and Rutherford now both basically acknowledge that the league has gone way too far in marginalizing fighting at the expense of giving blank checks to some
of the serially dirtiest players in the league, by failing to take truly seriously dangerous hits and stick-work from usual suspects. 

And I think the timing of Campbell’s piece is bizarre. Nashville, “Smashville” nickname or not, is not a particularly thuggish or dirty team at all. Instead, they have been largely rebuilt for speed and skill. Look at the top-four on defense and the many finesse players at forward. How recently were we reading about Kesler taking every imaginable cheapshot at Ryan Johansen, while he refs looked on indifferently? Which team kept engaging in near line-brawls at the end of games - Nashville or Anaheim?

I’m mainly looking forward to a good series in the finals, because both teams offer speed and skill.
What league is Ken Campbell watching?

Posted by Lefty30 on 05/29/17 at 01:14 AM ET

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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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