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Video- Bertuzzi Hit On Johnson Tonight

Todd Bertuzzi received 5 for elbowing and a game, Ryan Johnson went to the quiet room.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johnson, todd+bertuzzi

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Primis's avatar

Here’s the problem with the Bertuzzi hit: it’s outcome was far worse than the apparent intent.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/28/11 at 10:13 PM ET

It really wasn’t.  Johnson came back to play not that much later.  Its outcome was rather tame and uninteresting, quite frankly, compared to guys who have missed or are missing entire seasons.

Johnson didn’t even miss a period.

Posted by Primis on 03/29/11 at 12:22 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

All he has to do is keep his arms down and it’s a clean hit.

I’m curious, are you one of those rare human beings who is able to maintain his balance on ice skates while flying around backward, WITHOUT using your arms?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/29/11 at 12:31 AM ET

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I’m curious, are you one of those rare human beings who is able to maintain his balance on ice skates while flying around backward, WITHOUT using your arms?

Isn’t every defenseman -and hopefully every forward, if they’re playing at the NHL level- able to skate backwards without flailing about?

Posted by Garth on 03/29/11 at 12:45 AM ET

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Isn’t every defenseman -and hopefully every forward, if they’re playing at the NHL level- able to skate backwards without flailing about?

D, yes. Forwards? Maybe not at that speed in traffic.

Strange thing about this hit is, if it was supposed to be a hipcheck, why is Bertuzzi trying to hipcheck a guy backwards at this speed this close to the boards? If the Blackhawk sidesteps him or ducks, Bertuzzi almost certainly injures himself on this play. It doesn’t make sense that he would throw this hit in this situation.

Neither does the alternative, though, which is that a 35 year old pro, unprovoked, decided to try to end some minor-leaguer who was minding his own business.

Maybe Bertuzzi’s just a clod.

Posted by steviesteve on 03/29/11 at 01:14 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I have to say that I’m very proud to come into this thread 44 comments in and nobody’s screaming about how he should have never been let back in the league in the first place.

Pretty good conversation so far.

Bert probably does hurt Johnson more if he keeps that arm down, but that’s not the issue.  He shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.  I don’t think it was an elbow, but rather a weird half-clothesline-armpit hit, but it was definitely charging and definitely worth 5 and a game.

Stupid play by Bertuzzi. 

Looking at fairly recent comparables:

Dany Heatley: intentional elbow to the head, definite intent to injure - 2 games.

Brad Marchand: intentional blind-side elbow to the back of the head, definitely dirty - 2 games.

Matt cooke: Intentional elbow to the chin, dirty play - 14-17 games.

Patric Hornqvist: Hard play ending with a stupid check where head contact was made with the elbow - 0 games, $2,500 fine.

Martin Erat: Comes off the bench, misses a check, but catches a guy with the elbow, dirty play - 0 games, $0 fine.

If anything, I’d say Hornqvist’s elbow is the best comparison.

To be fair, I thought Hornqvist should have been suspended for that hit.  I wouldn’t be surprised or dismayed if Bertuzzi were to get suspended.  I don’t think it will be much if anything though.  Probably closer to the 1-2 range than 5-8.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 01:42 AM ET

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Time served. Keep your head up, Johnson. Could’ve been worse if it was the Bert who used to be a tad faster.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 03/29/11 at 01:43 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

At the Max…Bert should just be fined for stupidity….
He was way too late to the party and decided to cover his ass with a body check that looked like my daughter in her first peewee game..
He should have just used his momentum to follow the puck and avoided contact completely.
A total bonehead move by a guy moving at 30 mph, but thinking at 15 mph.

Primis is right….Tuzzi’s game has just turned to pigeon poop.
CHI had to play a much better game with someone competent filling his ice time.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 03/29/11 at 02:17 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

First off, it wasn’t an elbow in the classic sense, as his arm wasn’ bent in a chicken wing (Matt Cooke).  His arm was straight, so at worst a forearm shiver.  Second, as has been mentioned, he’s NOT a repeat offender, I believe the statute of limitations on that is 18 months.  I’m thinking he probably gets fined, as hits tha don’t lead to injury that happen early in the game resulting in ejections usually end up with time served and that’s it.  He might get a game, but anything more than that and it’s clear that the NHL is punishing him for what happened with Steve Moore, which shouldn’t come into play here.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 03/29/11 at 03:03 AM ET

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So to all the Red Wings fans who think this hit doesn’t warrant a suspension, I guess if Jarrku Ruutu hits Zetteberg like this its totally ok and he deserves nothing more than the 5 minute major and a game? 

Please, you’d be screaming bloody murder.  If somebody hit Crosby like that I know I’d be screaming.  I’m a Pens fan and wish the likes of Matt Cooke and Todd Bertuzzi were thrown out of the league permanently.  Bertuzzi is a freaking thug just like Cooke.  And yes, when you break someone’s neck on the dirties play since McSorley, there should be no statute of limitations on your repeat offender status.  The game could live without players like this forever.  The NHL allows its teams to keep guys like this around because they have some skills other than goonism due to a lack of any consequential discipline for this type of garbage.  I hope to heck the Pens dump Cooke in the off-season.  They can’t do anything at this point, but I’ll be surprised & sickened if he’s on the roster next year.  The NHL could start by taking away a roster spot for those games, or fining the team when a player got suspended.

If the league would ever man up and suspend a star, (Ovechkin, Chara, Heatley come to mind) for a meaningful amount of time they’d be on to something.  Or create a rule that says any intent to injure head shot gets a mandatory suspension of X games for the first offense, x more for the next, etc, some sort of standardization, it’d help too.  Also, the fact that a player was or wasn’t injured shouldn’t matter very much, or not at all.  I understand the penalty for attempted murder is still pretty severe, not so in the NHL. 

I think the game can be plenty physical without all these dirty hits.  Just look at how exciting the recent Olympic hockey was.  There was plenty of hitting, I seem to recall Jagr getting absolutely buried on a beautiful clean hit.  I didn’t mind, it was well executed, and I hate Ovechkin, and I’m a Jagr fan.  I want to see the Crosby’s and Zetteberg’s Malkin’s & Datsyuk’s of the world playing a gritty skill game in the NHL, similar to the olympics.  The two finals with Detroit & Pittsburgh were riveting hockey series to watch.  If Orpik or Kronwall cross the line with their aggressive play, then I’m for suspending them too.  I’ve got no problem with big clean hits.  but go into someone from behind, or jump up to hit someone high and you should get the gate, period. 

I suppose fighting is fine during the regular season when its man on man without sucker punches etc. if it helps sell tickets.  But its funny how there aren’t any fights in the playoffs.  I happen to like the fighting during the regular season, to spice up a game or wake a team up, I don’t even care if its “pre-arranged” as long as the guys square up.  There are a lot of regular season games and I feel it adds some entertainment, but that’s just me.  I don’t happen to buy the argument that the fighters help “police” the league when there’s a questionable hit.  From what I see they tend to just fight other fighters and rarely go after a guy later that made a dirty play.  That’s usually handled by someone else on the ice immediately, and the fighters play so infrequently that there seldom on the ice at that moment. 

Either way, I could live without it, and I think the middleweights who can actually play could still fight if need be.  With actual consequences that hurt players and teams for garbage thuggery, I can’t see how the players union, or the league could argue against it.  Have a panel with a couple lady Byng type players, two quality retired officials, and a respected non-partisan (judge or something) board to review and rule on dirty play.  One things for certain, to grow the game please get rid of the outright dirty plays and Colin Campbell forever.

Posted by Pete from Pittsburgh PA on 03/29/11 at 03:20 AM ET

SYF's avatar

A really dangerous hit but I think at the worst, he’ll get two games in addition to the game misconduct.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 03/29/11 at 04:27 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Definitely the right call on the ice. I think this is one of those plays where there wasn’t an intent to hurt him or even hit him high, but the responsibility is on Bertuzzi (or in general, the hitter) to make sure that if he’s coming in fast for the hit that he’s going to be able to square up cleanly, and if not, you have to bail on it and ease up.

Because of his history, Bertuzzi will be suspended. If this were anyone else, I’d say the call on the ice, plus a fine, and a game would be sufficient. But Bertuzzi has done what he’s done, so five games isn’t unreasonable.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/29/11 at 10:47 AM ET

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I guess if Jarrku Ruutu hits Zetteberg like this its totally ok and he deserves nothing more than the 5 minute major and a game?

Yes.  If it is the exact same hit, yes.

Posted by Garth on 03/29/11 at 10:58 AM ET

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Bertuzzi is a freaking thug just like Cooke.

No he’s not.  If you think that, you should try watching him play.

Say what you will about Bert on Moore, but you cant’ compare Bert to Cooke.  At all.  Bert’s game is completely different from Cooke’s and if you can’t see that, then there’s no helping you.

But Bertuzzi has done what he’s done, so five games isn’t unreasonable.

I’ve quite unreasonable.  There was clearly no intent to injure.  The head was not targeted.  There was no injury.

Add to this the fact that worse hits have gotten nothing and yes, 5 games is absolutely unreasonable, I don’t care what happened 7 years ago.

Posted by Garth on 03/29/11 at 11:03 AM ET

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Someone who’s been in the league as long as he has, and lives with the reputation that he owns, should know to control his play better. I frankly don’t care what he did or did not intend to do. Players need to take responsibility for their actions, intended or not intended.

Posted by VAHockeyFan on 03/29/11 at 11:36 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Players need to take responsibility for their actions

Like visiting the opposing team’s locker room to apologize for the hit?  Because Bertuzzi did that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 11:41 AM ET

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JJ: So if I get drunk and hit you with my car, but come by your house and say I’m sorry, then it’s OK? Just like someone should be responsible for what they do with their car, hockey players need to be responsible for what they do with their bodies. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good thing that Bertuzzi came to say he was sorry for what happened, but would you have the same forgiving feeling if Matt Cooke said he was sorry for what he did? Still the same lack of control on the ice. Penalty for it should be the same, regardless of intent or how sorry you feel about it afterward.

Posted by VAHockeyFan on 03/29/11 at 12:05 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

He’s not a repeat offender

Hahahaha.  That’s my favorite right there.

He’s changed his game!

He’s AFRAID to hit people, now!

He’s soooooo sorry!

I’m glad nobody is making excuses for the guy that gave the NHL it’s blackest eye.  Once a dirty player, always a dirty player, right guys?

Suspend him for the rest of the regular season just as a refresher.  We don’t want him forgetting how to be a “gentle giant”, you know?

Say what you will about Bert on Moore, but you cant’ compare Bert to Cooke.  At all.  Bert’s game is completely different from Cooke’s and if you can’t see that, then there’s no helping you.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Just like you can’t compare Cooke to that piece of garbage player on Long Island, right?  Because Cooke’s game is completely different from that guy’s…but that argument wasn’t an option for Pens fans, was it? 

Because a dirty play is a dirty play and a dirty player is a dirty player, right?

And it doesn’t matter what a guy does for his team, it doesn’t make a dirty deed any less dirty.  At least that’s what I learned from all the non-Penguins fans about Matt Cooke.

I love when hypocrisy rears its ugly head.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 03/29/11 at 12:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

JJ: So if I get drunk and hit you with my car, but come by your house and say I’m sorry, then it’s OK?

It sure as hell makes it better, especially if you’re punished for it, which you’re forgetting that Bertuzzi was.

That penalty happened in the first five minutes of a game and saw Bertuzzi given a game misconduct for his actions.  It’s not like he got off scott-free.

would you have the same forgiving feeling if Matt Cooke said he was sorry for what he did?

Actually, yes, I believe I would.  Kind of like I had the same forgiving feeling when Brent Burns showed absolute contrition for accidentally butt-ending a guy in the face earlier in this season.  Remorse goes a long way with me.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Just like you can’t compare Cooke to that piece of garbage player on Long Island, right?  Because Cooke’s game is completely different from that guy’s…but that argument wasn’t an option for Pens fans, was it?

Did somebody really say that you can’t compare Cooke to Gillies?

I love when hypocrisy rears its ugly head.

Then you must have really high self-esteem after that tirade.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 12:20 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Just like you can’t compare Cooke to that piece of garbage player on Long Island, right?  Because Cooke’s game is completely different from that guy’s…but that argument wasn’t an option for Pens fans, was it? 

Did somebody really say that you can’t compare Cooke to Gillies?

I love when hypocrisy rears its ugly head.

Then you must have really high self-esteem after that tirade.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 10:20 AM ET

Not right then, obviously.  But when everything happened a couple of weeks ago, absolutely.  Go find them.

And I have nothing against you, JJ.  You do nothing but present fair, well thought out arguments.  I have no reason to call you a hypocrite nor do I see ever having any reason.  But if you remember correctly, I said that if/when it happened to another player/team, the fans of that team/player would come out of the woodwork to do the very same thing Penguin fans were chastised for doing during the whole Matt Cooke thing - finding reasons to defend that player.

And here we are.  The fact that it was Bertuzzi - who I used in my tirade as an example - makes me giddy.  I just love being right.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 03/29/11 at 12:28 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And here we are.  The fact that it was Bertuzzi - who I used in my tirade as an example - makes me giddy.  I just love being right.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Milford, CT on 03/29/11 at 10:28 AM ET

Ah, I apologize.  I had lost the context there.

I mean, it’s a good point that people are going to come out to defend their own player.  That’s always going to happen.  I’m pretty sure that Sean Avery could pull an uzi the middle of the game and you’d find at least one Rangers fan online saying he was pushed.

But, trying as hard as I am to take off the red-colored glasses in this case, I’m finding trouble saying that this is evidence that Bertuzzi has been lying in wait all this time for the perfect opportunity to show how dirty he is again.

For what it’s worth, I’m pretty happy with the way Penguins fans have reacted to the last Matt Cooke suspension.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 12:48 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I’m glad nobody is making excuses for the guy that gave the NHL it’s blackest eye.  Once a dirty player, always a dirty player, right guys?

no, not even close.

how can you not see the difference between a player (Bertuzzi) who had ONE incident YEARS ago and NOTHING SINCE, and a player who has had MULTIPLE INCIDENTS in the PAST FEW SEASONS?

seriously.  get a grip on reality.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/29/11 at 12:56 PM ET

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My point in this whole thing is that, in my opinion, the player’s intent and his past should not have a bearing on his punishment. If he was reckless or negligent on the ice, he should be suspended. Period. Don’t care how sorry he is, don’t care if he does/doesn’t have a past. If you don’t nip it in the bud every time, you leave way to much for subjective decisions to be made….and Colin Campbell is the last person I would want making a “subjective” decision.

Posted by VAHockeyFan on 03/29/11 at 01:04 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

and Colin Campbell is the last person I would want making a “subjective” decision.

You and I agree on that point, but disagree that the solution to it is to try to take all subjectivity out of the process.

I propose that we remove Colin Campbell from the process and let things like intent still make a difference.

I believe this is a way to help eliminate the seriously dirty and dangerous plays without taking all hitting out of the game.  I would not want Bertuzzi to get the same punishment here as Trevor Gillies got for what he did in that Penguins bloodbath game because you can clearly see the difference in intent between the two plays.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 01:07 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

My point in this whole thing is that, in my opinion, the player’s intent and his past should not have a bearing on his punishment. If he was reckless or negligent on the ice, he should be suspended. Period. Don’t care how sorry he is, don’t care if he does/doesn’t have a past. If you don’t nip it in the bud every time, you leave way to much for subjective decisions to be made….and Colin Campbell is the last person I would want making a “subjective” decision.

I agree with this.  it gives the impression that if you don’t have a history, you will get less punishment, and therefore you have more leeway to play a risky and/or dangerous style.

if you went into court and told the judge “hey, it’s my first murder…go easy on me” how long would it take the judge to stop laughing?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/29/11 at 01:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

if you went into court and told the judge “hey, it’s my first murder…go easy on me” how long would it take the judge to stop laughing?

Probably no time flat, as defense attorneys will always use a clean rap sheet to try to get a lighter sentencing.

This is the way the justice system works.  Intent and history are factors in things.  If we threw everybody away who had ever lost his cool in a bar for the same amount of time that we gave to the sick idiots who plan to beat up minorities, then the system wouldn’t work.

What we’re talking about here is locking everybody away for murder, even in cases when it’s manslaughter.  After all, the primary difference between those two crimes is intent.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 01:42 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

seriously.  get a grip on reality.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/29/11 at 10:56 AM ET

Again.  Excuses.

A dirty play is a dirty play.  A dirty player is a dirty player.  From what I’ve gathered in the comments section of Matt Cooke posts around here, there’s no wiggle room to that fact. 

Todd Bertuzzi engaged in a stupid, reckless and dirty hit last night.  It doesn’t matter what kind of player he is or what sort of impact he has on the team he plays for - those things aren’t an excuse for what he did last night (or what he’s done in the past).  At least that’s what everyone said about Matt Cooke.

Can’t have it one way for Cooke and another for Bertuzzi just because one is a Penguins and the other a Wing.

Look, I don’t keep a running tally on who says what around here…I just know that these sorts of arguments weren’t acceptable for Penguins fans when they were talking of Matt Cooke last week.  So, to me, they aren’t acceptable for any other fanbase, either because that would be extremely hypocritical.  That’s all.

But, trying as hard as I am to take off the red-colored glasses in this case, I’m finding trouble saying that this is evidence that Bertuzzi has been lying in wait all this time for the perfect opportunity to show how dirty he is again.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/29/11 at 10:48 AM ET

I understand that.  This was more tongue-in-cheek than anything.  He’s a completely different player than what he was 7 years ago.  You can tell that not only by what he does on the ice but the production as well.  I think people forget he was a top-5 scorer in the two years prior to that infamous February evening (I know I do sometimes).  Afterwards, not so much.  He contributes, but not @ a PPG pace like he did.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 03/29/11 at 04:01 PM ET

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I can’t see everything perfectly on this replay…but I think Bertuzzi was looking to lay a hit on Johnson…he was coming pretty straight on…I think Johnson hears his teammmates warning and gets a little lower to protect himself…I think it was a good hockey play where sometimes at such high speeds things can and do go wrong . I am glad Johnson is OK and I am glad Bertuzzi is still in the game . oNe more thing…Let’s Go Pens !

Posted by svenlovesflo from Pittsburgh on 03/29/11 at 05:07 PM ET

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