Monday, November 10, 2008

History repeats itself?

History repeats itself…

Watching hockey highlights over the weekend, I came across the Kostopoulos/Van Ryn incident and I couldn’t help but flashback to October 27th of last year. The date is burned into the minds of Bruins fans as day we nearly lost the face of our franchise to a dirty, illegal hit from behind into the boards. The thing that really disturbed me about the play was just the sheer similarity. In both instances, the guilty party had time to pull up and either avoid the hit all together or greatly reduce the impact. Instead, the ‘attacker’ decided to go in full steam and exacerbated the situation with the downward thrust to the shoulders. Had the check been a straight hip check, the injuries would have been far less severe as the body would have absorbed most of the impact with the boards. Instead, the shoulders were pushed downwards focusing the impact force onto the head and leading to serious injury.

Now the question becomes, what punishment will be brought down on Kostopoulos?

Bergeron-Jones incident results:
– Jones 5 Boarding, Jones 10 Misconduct, Kobasew 2 Roughing
Injury – Severe concussion, broke nose
Time Lost – Remainder of season and postseason
Punishment – Two game suspension for Jones

Kostopoulos-Van Ryn incident results:
– Kostopoulos 5 Boarding, Kostopoulos 10 Misconduct, 2 matching Roughing
Injury – Concussion (severity unknown), broken nose, broken hand/finger
Time Lost – Remains to be seen… minimum of one month
Punishment – Remains to be seen…*

Thankfully, Patrice Bergeron has managed a full recovery after being lost for the remainder of the ‘07-‘08 season. Hopefully the same will be true for Mike Van Ryn, preferably with a shorter layoff. I will be very interested to see if Kostopoulos is suspended for the hit... I get the upsetting feeling that he will get off with a slap on the wrist just like Jones did...


On an unrelated note, I came across this link on the Boston Globe’s Bruins Blog and just had to share it… it is amazing to read everything Thomas has had to deal with to even get a chance to play in the NHL. Fortunately for him (and Boston), he has taken the opportunity presented him and run with it straight to the top of the NHL.

*Edit: Kostopoulos was suspended by the NHL for 3 games this afternoon. While I am glad to see there was a suspension issued, it comes with some concerns for me... for one, only three games? Seems pathetically low for such a serious injury, though I thought the same thing about Jones's two game suspension, which, of course, is my other concern. Why the difference in suspensions when the plays were nearly identical? I realize it is only one game but it is still different and its the principle of the matter.


Rian Murray said...

I think they should make Kostopoulos sit out as many games as Van Ryn loses to the injury. I think that's how they NHL should do it for hits as bad as this one.

Tom said...

I find this aspect of the NHL so frustrating... why is it so difficult for the league to simply lay down a clear mandate that NO dirty play will be tolerated and long suspensions will be assessed for dirty hits? Boarding in particular is becoming a serious issue in the league, yet we continue to see 2-3 game suspensions.

I still see no reason why the league can't institute a formal system of graduated penalties for major infractions. A small penalty (1 game) for first-time offenders, followed by rapidly escalating penalties of 3 games, then 5, 10, 20, and so forth. And of course the league retains the right to add additional games at its discretion. This is the way almost all businesses handle disciplinary issues, and I can't see any good reason why the NHL can't follow suit.