Monday, November 3, 2008

Meaning of the NHL...

Perhaps it stands for the ‘National Hypocrites League’? Or maybe the ‘No Headshots but everything else goes League'? (Okay, I admit that last one is a bit long, but I couldn't come up with anything better!)

I am of course, referring to the uproar that has arisen in the wake of Doug Weight’s injurious open-ice hit on Brandon Sutter. There have been complaints that Weight was head-hunting and calls for a lengthy suspension. However, after viewing the footage a handful of times it is very hard for any educated hockey fan to call the play anything but a clean hit. Sutter had his head down and put himself into a vulnerable position while in traffic… how can he not expect to get hit. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with Sutter and never want to see any player injured but the fact remains that this was from a legal hit. With all the publicity this hit has received, you would think Doug Weight was the next Ulf Samuelsson, not a guy who has been suspended a total of 4 games (11/7/03) in 16 seasons (1141 games). Clearly, he is not the dirty player he has been made out to be.

At the same time, there are players like Steve Ott and Sean Avery taking liberties with opposing players and attempting to injure getting off scot-free. I have searched through both ESPN and SI in hopes of finding some ink dedicated to their dangerous and reckless play… all I managed to find was this one small snippet. So Ott goes low on two players (Yelle and Lucic) and leaves his feet to check a third (Stuart) but is never penalized for any of it (despite visual evidence on two of the hits). Of course, Ott refuses to fight after any of these plays and can be seen searching desperately for a ref as if he were looking for his mother to save him from the playground bullies (Thornton and Hnidy). Thankfully, Ference laid him out with a brutal but clean hit (note the elbow is tucked-in to the body) and then accepted Avery's challenge and landed a few blows (before Avery realized he was going to lose and played the coward; pulling out Ference's right leg from under him to prematurely end the fight and save himself a pounding).

So after three dirty plays from Ott and a fourth from Avery (hit from behind on Lucic that started the melee) there is hardly any publicity on either site but an outcry over a legitimate hit. Where is the logic in that?? It make no sense whatsoever. Do players need to be injured for there to be any mention of this style of dangerous play? Or do the players in question have to be stars who deliver clean, hard hits? Lord knows there was no similar uproar after Randy Jones's or Scott Hartnell's illegal hits (nice lead with the elbow to the dome byHartnell). What was the punishment for the illegal hits that ended the season of two Bruins? Two games in each instance. TWO GAMES. So now they want to complain about legal hits while they let illegal hits either get off completely unpunished and unpublicized (a la Steve Ott) or with a slap on the wrist. How does that make any sense? Bunch of f*cking hypocrites...

3 comments:

the-jumbotron.com said...

Jack Edwards made a good point on the replay of the open ice Ference/Ott hit, that if hits to the head were banned, Ference would have been tossed out of that game and discplined by the league for a compltely legal hit.

Rian Murray said...

Doug Weight's hit was perfectly legal. I don't understand what all the fuss is about either. Sutter put himself in a vulnerable position and got wrecked. They teach you not to reach for pucks when you're a mite. Skate to them with your head up. Welcome to the NHL. Lesson learned.

And another thing, if head hits are banned what will tall players like Zdeno Chara do? It's up to the player on the receiving end to not put themselves in that position. And if they do, it's their own fault. Again, I'm talking about shoulder hits, legal hits.

Tom said...

"Do players need to be injured for there to be any mention of this style of dangerous play?"

Yes. That's the only time the highlights make news. Since most fans get their opinions from outlets like Sportscenter, they will only make an uproar in situations like Chris Simon's skate-stomp or Weight's hit. The major outlets ignore dirty plays which don't result in injury.