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NHL Remains Clueless

from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The incompetence displayed by the alleged NHL leadership is so staggeringly routine, it leaves me in awe. How can one league remain so utterly clueless and still survive? This is the real miracle on ice.

In the latest piece of unique wisdom, the NHL reaffirmed that it’s OK to crush a defenseless player with a vicious shot to the head — as long as the hit doesn’t stem from a specific, targeted attempt to injure.

Despite countless studies that loudly sound the alarm over the danger of head trauma, the NHL thinks it’s OK for a player to attack the head of an opponent.

Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, a budding star at 21, was flattened by a cheap shot delivered by Colorado’s Mark Olver in Wednesday’s game. The image of a bleeding and disoriented Tarasenko collapsed on the ice did nothing to nudge the NHL out of its hopelessly irresponsible Neanderthal mentality.


If you didn't see the hit or need to see it again, watch it below...

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vladimir+tarasenko


Paul From Cali's avatar

Gimme a break will ya!  It was NOT A DIRTY HIT.  He was going for shoulder to shoulder and Tarasenko happened to turn towards him and lower his head right at the last split second.  Even so it doesn’t look like he actually hit him in the head.

I’m so sick of the whining media making every hit in the NHL into a federal case.  It’s called HOCKEY.  There’s CHECKING in hockey!  If you can’t take it go watch figure skating.

Posted by Paul From Cali on 02/23/13 at 10:57 AM ET

Paul From Cali's avatar

Ok, after watching it 3 times I agree that it was a hit in the cheek but that was clearly NOT Oliver’s intention.  Tarasenko turned towards him and bent over as Oliver was about to hit him.  What’s Oliver supposed to do?  There’s no way he could have avoided that hit or changed it in any way and there was no reason to.

Posted by Paul From Cali on 02/23/13 at 11:02 AM ET


I don’t think it was a head shot per se, but I do agree that when the stars of the league are laying on the ice with their eyes rolled up into their head, it is a serious problem. As for this fat bastard reporter calling the NHL a garage league, he should go eat some more pizza and STFU.

Posted by timbits on 02/23/13 at 11:28 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

This guy is in the same league as Dater and Cooper.  They are all no talent homers with zero objectivity.  They are basically ugly cheerleaders.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/23/13 at 11:33 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

oliver should know better than to raise an elbow.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 02/23/13 at 12:19 PM ET

Bieksa3's avatar

So because he didn’t intend to do it, it is not worthy of a suspension???  What happened to all the talk the other night about Jannik Hansen and the need to “be in control” of your body even if you didn’t intend to do it.  He got a 1 game suspension for reaching up for a puck.  This guy tried to deliver a crushing check and hit the guy in the jaw.  Even if he didn’t mean to hit him in the head, why doesn’t he deserve a suspension for a game or two?  No consistency…if they want to eliminate these things, they have to take out the grey area.  It was blindside and resulted in an injury.

Posted by Bieksa3 on 02/23/13 at 12:30 PM ET


oliver should know better than to raise an elbow.

What?  The elbow was nowhere near Tarasenko’s head?  What does the elbow even have to do with this conversation?

why doesn’t he deserve a suspension for a game or two?

Because unless they do indeed want to take hitting out of the game, you can’t suspend someone for a hit like this that wasn’t dirty but simply unfortunate.

Posted by Garth on 02/23/13 at 12:37 PM ET

Bieksa3's avatar

The guy was blind sided!  How is that not dirty?  He raised his head and still got hit in the jaw.  I’m not saying he intended to hit him in the head.  But how can you prove intent?  There are a lot of hits that are “simply unfortunate” but need to be punished so they don’t happen again.  I’m sure Marc Savard would disagree with the term “simply unfortunate”.

Posted by Bieksa3 on 02/23/13 at 12:42 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The announcer says, “He never saw it coming.” Well, yeah, that’s because he turned to skate the other way without looking.

Maybe players should have little “beepers” on them (like you see on forklifts). If they’re going to back up without looking, the beeper goes off and alerts an incoming opponent that he’s going to be moving towards him. Then the incoming player can honk a small horn as an alert that he’s there.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Honk. Honk. Beep. Beep. Beep. Honk. Honk.

Perhaps that will satisfy NHL-hating guys like Miklasz. But, hey, the idiot is from St. Lose, so probably not.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/23/13 at 12:48 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

oliver should know better than to raise an elbow.

Nowhere in that replay does Olver raise his elbow.  Try watching a play before making comments about it.

This is a good hit with unfortunate consequences.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/23/13 at 04:22 PM ET


I don’t know what Olver not being suspended for hitting a player who pivoted on him at the last second through the chest (and clipping his chin more or less incidentally) has to do with Janik Hansen jumping and elbowing Marian Hossa in the back of the head. One of these things isn’t illegal. One of them is grossly illegal.

But there is a question to be asked on the Olver hit. Of course, there’s nothing illegal about what Olver did. It’s completely allowed (though, in the old days, he wouldn’t be making it back to the bench without getting a two-hander across the jaw). But at the end of the day, you’ve got a marketable gate attraction out indefinitely at the hands of a minor leaguer who was “just finishing his check.” Is this, perhaps, a problem that something should be done about?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know players like Tarasenko sell tickets to the masses and players like Olver sell tickets only to their mother and cousins. If Olver’s game, even when he’s playing within the rules, has the end result of players like Tarasenko not being in a position to do something that sells tickets, it could be argued that allowing bums to freight train stars is an obstacle to the sport’s growth.

Just a thought.

Posted by larry on 02/23/13 at 05:29 PM ET


One other thing. This St Louis columnist is sensationalism city. While there was no real need to drill that guy as hard as he did (nor is there a rule against it), it wasn’t a “vicious cheap shot.” If you’ve got the puck flat-footed on the wall, you -should- currently have some expectation that some guy’s lining you up.

Only thing I could really criticize Olver for, in terms of “cheapness,” is he didn’t let the kid know he was coming (“on you” or “heads up”). But then, the last guy I know of who reliably did that was Gary Roberts. Used to smack his stick on the ice before a bodycheck, which meant to the puck carrier, “guy’s about to hit you, brace yourself so you don’t get killed.”

Posted by larry on 02/23/13 at 05:36 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I don’t care at all about objectivity. Nothing is purely neutral, so biases are inevitable. If the crests of the sweaters were reversed, this piece would not have been written.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/23/13 at 07:05 PM ET

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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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