posted on February 25, 2013 08:00
Remember the scene in Blue Chips (one of the best movies ever made by humans) where Ed O’Neill asks Nick Nolte about the allegations of point shaving within his basketball team?
“How long are you gonna keep this bullshit up, Ed?”
I propose this question to Gary Bettman, Brendan Shanahan, and Terry Gregson.
How long are you gonna keep this bullshit up?
Two incidents last week have once again caused me to question how concerned the NHL really is when it comes to protecting their players from head shots whether it be intentional or unintentional.
Last Tuesday night in Chicago, Vancouver Canucks right winger Jannik Hansen delivered a left forearm to the back of the head of Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa while attempting to grab a puck out of mid air. Hossa fell down like a sack of bricks and left the game while Hansen got two measly minutes in the box.
League disciplinarian (and I use that term loosely) Brendan Shanahan doled out the ultimate punishment.
One game. One effing game.
Shanahan called the play a “sharp, careless forearm.”
“A sharp, careless forearm” that only merited a one game suspension.
One night later, we had our very own Vladimir Tarasenko get annihilated by Avalanche center Mark Olver with a shoulder hit that nailed Tarasenko in the jaw. In typical NHL fashion, Olver got nothing while the Blues were the ones who got penalized as they lost their heralded rookie for the rest of the game and ultimately to injured reserve.
The almighty Shanahac the Magnificent put on his large feathered turban and put the index card to his head.
A Johnny On The Spot, a proctologist’s office, and the NHL League Office.
Name three places where you will find assholes.
Shanahan’s mind reading brought him to the conclusion that Olver wasn’t targeting Tarasenko’s head even though his shoulder just about knocked #91’s head clean off his body.
Hey Shanny, I guess a "sharp, careless forearm" does less damage than a "sharp, careless shoulder".
I’ve read on numerous message boards how Tarasenko would have been fine had he not turned into Olver’s shoulder.
Thank god the internet geeks figured it out. It’s so easy to play armchair quarterback from the comfort of your homes while the guy with less than a second to react on a hit is laying on the ice with his eyes rolling into the back of his head while bleeding out of his mouth.
And if my aunt had been born with a different appendage, she would have been my uncle.
This isn't about a hit being clean or not. It's about ending these unnecessary head shots that are leading to the league's top players being shelved for months on end.
My problem with the NHL is that they constantly move the goal posts when it comes to their supposed rules. Remember the days where a player would accidentally cut an opposing player with their stick and it would draw blood? I do.
I remember watching a Blues-Hawks playoff game back in 1990 where Brett Hull accidentally cut Jocelyn Lemieux with his stick. Lemieux drew blood and Hull got five minute penalty and an automatic ejection.
Now when that situation happens, a player might get a double minor if the opposition is lucky.
What about the hitting from behind issue that the NHL was so gung ho about in the early 90s?
I was at a Blues-Flyers game on Halloween in 1992. I had paid mucho dinero to see Eric Lindros come to town at the old barn. Five minutes into the contest, “the next Gretzky, the next Lemieux, the next Howe, the next Bozon” decides to be a jackass and shoves Nelson Emerson from behind and into Curtis Joseph. Lindros got five minutes and an automatic boot while I paid 40 bucks to sit Arena Circle to watch Vitali Prokhorov score his first and only NHL hat trick.
Money well spent.
Then you have the case two weeks ago of Rob Scuderi. The Los Angeles Kings defenseman sized up Blues captain David Backes and shoved him face first into the glass. Backes was able to stay in the game but Scuderi got only a two minute penalty.
Twenty years ago, that would have been five minutes and a game misconduct.
It’s funny how a little over three weeks ago, some guy who impersonated an NHL official who goes by the name of Ian Walsh called a five minute penalty and a game misconduct on Backes for intent to injure on a hit Backes delivered to the STERNUM of Wings defenseman Kent Huskins.
The Blues ended up losing the game and at least a point due to the bonehead call. Walsh called what he thought he saw instead of actually witnessing it. I seriously think NHL officials have a magic 8 ball in their pants pocket and whip it out anytime they are unsure whether to call a penalty or not.
Are the NHL officials incompetent morons?
All signs point to yes.
I honestly believe the NHL could give two shits less about the well being of their players. If they did, they would start dropping the hammer on the head shots. And this “intent” garbage is just that. Garbage.
Want to send a message? Let’s use the Tarasenko incident as an example. If the Blues lose him for an extended period of time, then Mark Olver is suspended for the same extended period of time as well. If it’s a David Perron type case, then the suspension is a maximum of 50 games. If Olver decides to do it again, then it’s a full season.
That’s how you send a message NHL. It’s kind of hard to market your stars when they are sitting in hyperbaric chambers trying to recover from concussions given to them by wreckless idiots who shouldn’t be playing in a roller hockey rec league at Queeny Park much less an NHL game.