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Banning the Little Green Men, Crosby/Miller concussions and other news from the Hotstove gang

Hockey Night in Canada’s Satellite Hotstove gang delivered several bombshells on Saturday night (you can watch the video here), with the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis and CBC’s Glenn Healy revealing that our favorite octopus-hating league plans on cracking down on the Vancouver Canucks’ Green Men.  According to Healy, the Nashville Predators complained to the league about the Green Men, and, well, Yahoo Sports’ Sean Leahy explains it from there:

The Green Men are hockey’s secret during the regular and once the Canucks make it to the payoffs, Sully and Force become international phenomenons, doing interviews and promotions all over the place, like their spot on ESPN’s E:60 last week. Their silly little antics don’t take away from the game itself and is nothing but harmless fun, with some NHLers even enjoying their act.

That’s why it’s maddening to hear Glen Healy report on tonight’s “Hotstove” segment on Hockey Night in Canada—after turning up the volume on his “curmudgeon” button—that the NHL has told the boys in spandex that they can no longer touch the glass while an opposing player is in the box.

Healy suggested that the NHL may very well tell the gents to refrain from leaving their seats during play, which is somehow less than surprising given the fact that the NHL’s polite request to the Detroit Police resulted in a new citation which penalizes octopus-throwing Wings fans with a $500 fine and a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct.

Anyhow, Francis and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun revealed several other news items, and while I’ll leave Francis’s relating of the fact that Canucks GM Mike Gillis was indisposed when his team won Game 1 of their series against the Predators, he also talked about one restricted free agent-to-be and a disappointing Canadien...

Crawford Hawks’ future The Chicago Blackhawks have identified rookie goalie Corey Crawford as their top priority to re-sign past next season, and Crawford is amenable to it.  His agent, Gilles Lupien, said they spoke three weeks ago and agreed they’ll hammer out a deal face-to-face at the draft where he’ll table three possible deals ranging from two to four years in length. 

Gomez to minors? As Montreal Canadiens’ Scott Gomez wrapped up the season with a mea culpa last week, there were suggestions he’d be a candidate to be sent to the minors next year to bury his US$7.3 million cap-hit each of the next three seasons. Turns out it’s a possibility, as his agent, Ian Pulver, confirmed Gomez does not have a no movement clause in his deal.

And both Francis and LeBrun focused quite a bit of attention on Sidney Crosby, who suffered a “setback” in his recovery from a moderate concussion recently, but is not expected to miss time next season due to a recurrence of symptoms:

While Sidney Crosby never gave up hope he’d be back this season, his handlers knew when he was shut down about 10 days ago due to headaches and fogginess there was no chance he would play this year.

Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson said Saturday Crosby will treat the off-season like every other summer by taking the next two weeks off before ramping up his schedule. However, instead of returning to his hometown, he’ll stay in Pittsburgh all summer to be close to his doctor. All involved are convinced he’ll be 100% ready to play next season at the start of camp.

ESPN’s LeBrun confirms:

Concussion expert Dr. Micky Collins advised him to take a week off from skating, which he did. He still traveled with the team, which suggests that while he did have a step back, it wasn’t a major setback as far as having massive headaches or not being able to sleep at night. But he did get a little foggy and that was enough to take a break. But all signs point to the world’s best player being ready for next season.

“He’s certainly going to be ready for camp,” Pens GM Ray Shero told ESPN.com Saturday. “He had really ramped it up before taking a week off. I know you don’t totally know with these things, but Dr. Collins has maintained the whole time that this is a manageable injury and that Sid will be fine. He’s got lots of time now.”

He’s also got some scoops on the Penguins’ free agents (surprise: Alexei Kovalev won’t return!); he reports that any suggestions that the New York Rangers might send Chris Drury and his $7.2 million salary to the AHL are misguided as Drury has a no-movement clause; LeBrun says that Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray has six coaching candidates lined up and is hoping to talk to more as the last eight teams are eliminated from playoff contention; he speaks to Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier about the slightly opened purse-strings which may allow him to keep Tim Connolly and the Sabres’ other seven free agents-to-be, depending on their asking prices, and after mentioning the Red Wings’ strange struggle with penalties in the playoffs, he offers an intriguing bit of news about Ryan Miller:

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, once his season was done, confirmed the rumor that he had a concussion late in the regular season and that’s what knocked him out of action more than a week. In the wake of that, Sabres GM Darcy Regier is very concerned about goalie mask safety. There is no official safe standard for goalie masks across the league. Regier told ESPN.com Saturday that he will definitely make this a conversation point at the next GMs meeting at the Cup finals in June.

Kay Whitmore, the NHL’s manager of goalie equipment, told ESPN.com Saturday that the league’s first priority is always safety and that Regier’s concerns are well-received. In fact, Whitemore and Regier have already spoken on the issue. Whitmore has also long wanted to standardize goalie masks.

Just like the visor debate, however, my sense is that this will come down to player choice. The NHL Players’ Association has the hammer when it comes to player equipment. Still, very much a conversation worth having given the investment in starting goalies around the league.

It’s more likely than not that the NHLPA would agree to some sort of grandfathering in of more standardization testing and foam requirements for goaltenders’ masks, but don’t expect Chris Osgood to be asked to ditch his Cooper SK 2000 helmet and HM-30 cage.

 

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Comments

bezukov's avatar

Like I said earlier today.  Love the game.  Love the teams that play the game (Wings, Hawk, Canucks, Coyotes, et. al).  Fuch the NHL.

Way to kill everything last thing that makes being a fan fun Gary. Ass.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/01/11 at 03:52 AM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Sad news about the Green Men. From here it looks like lil’ Gary is trying to follow Goodell’s lead in the NFL and turn the NHL into the No Fun League, v2.0.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Rochester, NY on 05/01/11 at 10:34 AM ET

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So the NHL is worried about these guys touching the glass, but it seems every game I turn on this year, there’s people in the front row forcefully pushing/pounding the glass when play comes near them and there is nothing about that?  This league is awful sometimes

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 05/01/11 at 10:58 AM ET

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Not sure what is fun about the green men, the act is old. If having two idiots rub their ass and crotch on the glass is entertainment some folks need to find new entertainment.

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 11:49 AM ET

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White wine (one glass per fan) and polite golf claps for goals so as to not distract the players.  Make it happen, Gary.

Posted by herschel c. wollmack on 05/01/11 at 12:00 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Wait…I thought football was the No Fun League?

I find the green men stupid, but that doesn’t mean they should be banned. Far as I know they’ve never assaulted anyone or caused any injury, let em go. This one might just be worse than messing with the Octopus tradition because you cant even make the ridiculous claim that “particulate matter” might fly off and injure someone.

I hate this league.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 05/01/11 at 12:18 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Good. If we cant throw the squid(hehe) on the ice, then screw the rest of you around the league too.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 05/01/11 at 12:24 PM ET

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Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 10:49 AM ET

I agree 100%.  I hate the stupid Green Men and everything about them, from the lack of originality to the lack of entertainment.

Having said that…really?  Why does the league need to step in?  Let these douches do their douchy thing.  Who gives a shit?

What a joke.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/11 at 12:52 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

The NHL management is indulging fully in their control freak tendencies.

They already have punished players for rude words and gestures, same for coaches and front office personnel, now they are moving on to the least predictable, most uncontrollable element, the fans. The only thing they want of the fans is to sit in their assigned seats in the appropriate colors, cheer when prompted by the scoreboard, and open their wallets without hesitation. Don’t do anything that might be considered strange, unusual, or out of the ordinary.

I’m sorry, NHL, but f*** off. If I’m expected to play a part in your staged drama as one of the cast of thousands in the background, you should be paying me. I refuse to pay for the privilege of being instructed how to behave. It’s patronizing, petty, annoying, and if your sport ceases being fun to follow, I’ll take my time elsewhere to something that is.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 05/01/11 at 01:21 PM ET

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I’m sorry, NHL, but f*** off. If I’m expected to play a part in your staged drama as one of the cast of thousands in the background, you should be paying me. I refuse to pay for the privilege of being instructed how to behave. It’s patronizing, petty, annoying, and if your sport ceases being fun to follow, I’ll take my time elsewhere to something that is.

There may be principles in which to stand for, the green weanies are not one of them.

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 02:59 PM ET

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the green weanies are not one of them.

Right, because it will probably stop with them, right?

Just like it has obviously stopped with the octopus throwers in Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/11 at 03:04 PM ET

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When fans try to inject themselves into the game, either by antics in the stands or on the ice, the league has a legitimate say. The problem for the weanies is that they are imposing themselves on the TV audience and other fans sitting around the penalty box. It has very little to do with taunting the other team and it really has nothing to do with fans acting like fans. These bozos want their 15 minutes of fame and the NHL is done with their act.

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 03:14 PM ET

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I would like to see them ban towel waving.  It could take someone’s eye out.

Posted by yayamo on 05/01/11 at 03:16 PM ET

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First, Gary Bettman came for the octopus throwers, and I didn’t speak up.
Next, Gary Bettman came for the green men, and I didn’t speak up.
When Gary Bettman comes for you, who will be left to speak up ?

Posted by mc keeper on 05/01/11 at 03:17 PM ET

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First, Gary Bettman came for the octopus throwers, and I didn’t speak up.
Next, Gary Bettman came for the green men, and I didn’t speak up.
When Gary Bettman comes for you, who will be left to speak up ?

He will have to pry the Florida Rat from my cold dead hand!!

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 03:28 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

You know, I came here to say something about being pureed into a homogenous mix, poured into a cast, and spit out as an army of identical fans from city to city differentiated only by team color. But what Baroque said was much better.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 05/01/11 at 05:01 PM ET

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When fans try to inject themselves into the game, either by antics in the stands or on the ice, the league has a legitimate say. The problem for the weanies is that they are imposing themselves on the TV audience and other fans sitting around the penalty box. It has very little to do with taunting the other team and it really has nothing to do with fans acting like fans. These bozos want their 15 minutes of fame and the NHL is done with their act.

a) They’re not “injecting” themselves anywhere.  Their seats are near the penalty box and they’re doing what fans do.

b) They’re not “imposing” themselves on ANYONE.  First off, watch some footage of them sometime, the idiot Vancouver fans love them AND networks like CBC, Versus, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and ESPN (a network that doesn’t give two shits about hockey) are CHOOSING to feature them.  Just because you and I think they’re idiots doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong.

c) It has EVERY SINGLE THING to do with taunting the players.  EVERYTHING.  If you don’t think so then you don’t know anything.  At all.  They’re trying to get into the players’ heads.  Whether it’s working or not can be debated, but do you think that Carrie Underwood in a Canucks jersey is a random thing or maybe, I don’t know, an attempt to taunt Mike Fisher?  Gee, I wonder.

d) It’s weenie, not weanie, you weenie.

Posted by Garth on 05/01/11 at 07:03 PM ET

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I agree 100%.  I hate the stupid Green Men and everything about them, from the lack of originality to the lack of entertainment

So as you said originally, why shouldn’t the league restrict them, as you said, they are stupid, lack originality and lack entertainment?  Sounds like pretty good justification to end this, not like they didn’t let it have its run. It is time to move on. It isn’t a tradition, two years isn’t a tradition, nor are they mascots.

d) It’s weenie, not weanie, you weenie.

Wean us from the Weenies!!!

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 07:31 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

There may be principles in which to stand for, the green weanies are not one of them.

Posted by timbits on 05/01/11 at 01:59 PM ET

It has nothing to do with fans in green spandex (which I think are silly, too, but heck, it’s not my rink and if the fans in the arena think it’s amusing, then more power to them) it has to do with regulation and control over how fans can express themselves at a game. Regulating language and aggressive behaviour is one thing - trying to eliminate any oddball but harmless characters from the game is something else entirely. If people aren’t going to be allowed to be silly - not harmful, not dangerous, just SILLY - at games, I think that’s excessive.

Getting fans who are belligerent drunks out of the arena before they get in a fight is a good idea. Telling fans in oddball garb they can’t touch the glass - while letting everyone in normal clothing bang on the glass like crazy monkeys when the play comes near them - is just a waste of time and effort. It’s stupid to worry about something so trivial.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 05/01/11 at 07:53 PM ET

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I totally agree with the comment about the NHL turning into the No Fun League. In fact, I published an article myself where I said the exact same thing. Check it out:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/687445-vancouver-canucks-nhl-censoring-the-green-men-shows-a-lack-of-common-sense

Posted by Adam G from Vancouver on 05/02/11 at 05:25 AM 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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