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Eliminate Trash Talking?

A letter submitted to the Montreal Gazette...

Indulge me for a moment while I blame the victim of the recent James Neal/Brad Marchand incident during a Penguins vs. Bruins NHL game.

Let’s suppose it had been the well respected Patrice Bergeron instead of Marchand in a defenceless position on the ice. It would not be shocking to see James Neal pull a hamstring in trying to avoid a knee to head collision.

Brad Marchand is one of the NHL’s most celebrated trash talking agitators who on that night achieved his goal of instigating a retaliatory penalty with a bonus five-game suspension. The hit could have ended Marchand’s season.

Why does the NHL allow all of this senseless trash talking and constant after-the-whistle scrums? The NBA got rid of trash talk and intimidation with punishing technical fouls that affect the individual and his team. NFL players are constantly wary of the significant 15-yard penalty for gestures and provocation.

The NHL needs to put the benches back on opposite sides of the ice and the officials need to use the 10 minute misconduct more often. Here’s for a hope that NHL players stop yapping and just play the game with a healthy respect. Are they not all part of the same union?

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Bill from GR's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly.

I’m old, and old school, where sportsmanship was the norm.  Athletes were in fact, role models. 

There weren’t any Ricky Hendersons proclaiming themselves the greatest of all time (except, perhaps, one Cassius Clay), or players standing and taunting over fallen opponents, or asinine celebrations at accomplishing a mere first down while your team is behind by 20 on the scoreboard.

Basketball lost me years ago because of their behavior on and off the court.  I guess I’m glad to read above, that they are cleaning up their act, to some extent.  I’m still not watching it.

Baseball lost me with the 94 strike and all the cheating, doping athletes.  Yeah, real role models.

I still watch football but am starting to enjoy the college game more then the pros because I am sick of all the egotistical celebrations and gyrations.  I watch it to watch the game, not some numb-nuts pretending to be on Dancing with the Stars.

And while hockey has had it’s characters over the years, the current crop of Steve Otts adds nothing to my game day enjoyment.  If you can’t beat him with your game, you can beat him with your mouth?  After the whistle?  Real classy.

I watch sports to watch sports.  Not to watch prima donas self promote.

Posted by Bill from GR on 12/13/13 at 11:09 AM ET


I’m old, and old school, where sportsmanship was the norm.

Heh, good one.

Posted by Garth on 12/13/13 at 11:14 AM ET

TKShreve's avatar

I’m sorry, but you just don’t knee a defenseless, unsuspecting, prone player in the head with a moving knee. Call me old fashioned too.

Plus, I don’t care what he said about your mom or whatever else. Sticks and stones….....

Posted by TKShreve from East Uptown on 12/13/13 at 11:32 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Plus, I don’t care what he said about your mom

Bartender: What if someone calls my momma a whore?

Dalton: Is she?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 12/13/13 at 11:44 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Ted Lindsay was a hardcore trash talker, but he was also a scorer and an enforcer. This “problem” is not a recent issue. The issue is the one-dimensional player who is on the roster primarily to get under the skin and draw penalties.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/13/13 at 11:53 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar


Give it long enough and you’ll find somebody always willing to blame the victim. 

We see it pretty often in worse cases than this.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/13/13 at 11:59 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Interesting topic.
A friend and myself had the same discussion last week regarding this topic.

I wonder how many fights, dirty hits or revenge type actions would be eliminated if post-whistle chirping and shenanigans were removed from the game.

The NHL loves this stuff though.
The league knows it can’t stand against powerhouses like MLB, NBA and NFL with it’s on-ice, and within the rules product.
The rough stuff attracts fans and the NHL knows it can offer this unique flavor unlike it’s competitors.

Posted by Hank1974 on 12/13/13 at 12:00 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Dangit redxblack! I should have read your post first so I could have commented on it in my original reply.

Bang on with this quote:

The issue is the one-dimensional player who is on the roster primarily to get under the skin and draw penalties.

Marchand has more skill than some other dummies out there like Dan Carcillo.
But at the same time, I wonder if he’s in the NHL if he’s not allowed to chirp, cheapshot or piss-off the other team.

I’d also be interested in seeing how many NHL fans like this type of player.

Posted by Hank1974 on 12/13/13 at 12:02 PM ET


I don’t like that type of player. I liked malty. He stuck up for himself and was a prodigious short in juniors. He upset people but he had something to back himself up. Skill. Most of these players are just out there to hurt someone. Jared Cowan.

Posted by teldar on 12/13/13 at 12:14 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Marchand is all that, yes…

But it doesn’t help that Neal thinks he’s an all-star winger and can get away scott-free with his shenanigans. This isn’t the first time Neal has pulled crap like this, and with the limp-wrist punishment, it’s not the last.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/13/13 at 12:21 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Sticks and stones

yep. that same thought came to mind.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 12/13/13 at 12:31 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

The Wings have Samuelsson who fills that same role. Sammy is good at being hurt, shooting the puck three feet over the net and chirping.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/13/13 at 01:17 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I think it would be pretty hard to eliminate all of the trash talking because the game moves so fast and the players are often out of ear-shot of a ref. But that “after the whistle” crap definitely can (and should) be penalized – and penalized severely.

The Wings fall victim to that stuff far too often because they tend to concentrate on getting to the next play, not on sucker punching someone of slashing at the back of someone’s ankle. I know refs see most of that stuff and just ignore it because it doesn’t happen “during play.”

Make that kind of “goonery” a two minute penalty the first time and a five minute major each time after it in a game, and we might get back to actually watching hockey instead of the on-ice version of the WWF.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/13/13 at 01:29 PM ET


Article starts with a faulty premise.

Neal didn’t knee Marchand because of trash talk. Neal kneed him because Marchand pulled the old, Claude Lemieux “push the guy high in the back when he’s three feet from the door” play against him in last year’s playoffs and Shanahan ignored it.


That said, not that I like trash talk, but the idea of enforcing some rule against saying mean things is stupid. I’m all for making the game less dangerous, but outlawing injured feelings is pure coddling. These guys make enough money that they can deal with a little criticism from their peers. Hell, Michel Therrien probably says worse things to them at intermission than Marchand does during a game.

Posted by larry on 12/13/13 at 02:49 PM ET


I think Larry’s got it right. It’s not the chirping. I actually think most guys find it amusing as much as anything. Probably pisses them off in the heat of the moment but is laughed off later on. It’s the cheap shot slash, the push from behind or a slew foot that players remember from one game to the next.

Posted by vansteve on 12/13/13 at 07:04 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Trash talk? Who cares. But I agree that the refs need to do a better job of controlling and often putting an end to the frequent post whistle scrums.

Roughing is already a penalty. Start calling it far more liberally. Make it a double or a major when it gets especially rough. And its not always necessary to make them offsetting penalties. Keep a closer eye on who instigates and who escalates.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 12/13/13 at 07:34 PM ET

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