Thursday, December 27, 2007

Colton Orr Who? Let's Talk Maxim Afinegenov

With Damien Cox loitering the net with repetitive rants about enforcers, the instigator, and, you know, physical hockey, it's pretty easy to miss an actual NHL star involved in yet another cheap play.

Case in point... Maxim Afinegenov slew footing Scottie Upshall and attempting to step on him while he was down. Apparently Maxim didn't get word that stepping on your opponent gets you 30 games in the NHL. If he did, he would have surely been deterred and would not have tried a stunt like this some two weeks later. Right Gary and Collie? - The embedded video was jamming up the blog. So try the link.

Of course, this is nothing new to the Sabres. Last year, then captain, Daniel Briere, speared Alexander Ovechkin in his groin in retalitation for a hit from behind the game before.

Nowadays, not even team captains are held accountable for being tough players. Forget dropping the gloves and acting like a team leader, ala Zdeno Chara taking on Georges Laraque, spearing and slew footing are the way to go when you won't fight.

Which, of course, begs the question, just how dangerous would this league be without fighting?

More for Cox over at Kuklas Korner. I left a nice comment for him there.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crosby Beats Down Ference

Crosby is a natural. He gets the lid off, throws three rights, lands two, and bloodies Ference.

Youtube (Crosby -vs- Ference):

Laraque -vs- Chara:

Thanks to Dillon at Fried Chickens for his hard work in getting these clips up!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Punishment Fits the Crime for Simon

The NHL handed down a swift and severe decision to New York Islander Chris Simon today. The rugged winger will sit for a league record 30 games after stepping on Pittsburg pest, Jarkko Ruutu, with his skate blade last weekend. Simon has also been granted a leave of absence by the Islanders to attend counseling that, according to ESPN, is not related to drugs or alcohol.

This marks the eighth suspension of Simon's career. Simon's most notable suspensions include a stick swing to the face of Ranger's pest, Ryan Hollweg, last year. Simon was also suspended for a racial slur directed to Mike Grier. In the 2000 playoffs, Simon slashed Peter Popovic in the throat with his stick, earning him a one-game suspension. Simon has also been suspended for a variety of other elbow and fighting incidents.

While I think the league's decision to go to longer suspensions was a poor one (one that started with Steve Downie), I am convinced they got this suspension right. At this point, I'm not even that concerned with the length of the suspension. Chris Simon needs help, which I am glad to hear he is seeking. His inability to think before acting has caused him to use the two deadliest pieces of equipment a hockey player uses, a stick and razor sharp ice skates.

I do hope to see Chris Simon playing again on Long Island this year; but this time with a clearer mind. Simon is an offensively-gifted enforcer. And those types of players are few and far between these days. And although this might not be a popular thing to say, the next time a pest gets under your skin Chris Simon, drop your gloves, pick up an instigator, and go to town. Sitting out of a game for 17 minutes is a lot easier to handle then missing 30 games.

Ben Eager for Jim Vandermeer

The Blackhawks and Flyers swapped a rugged pair of players today. Philadelphia sent Ben Eager to Chicago for Jim Vandermeer.

Eager, who led the league last year in fighting majors, hasn't been quite so productive this year. The 23 year-old has 0 point and is a -8. Although I think the trade may have had more to do with his inability to generate offense, Eager's fate may have been sealed when the tough guy was beat up (or down) by 38 year-old Penguin Gary Roberts last week. Eager was able to pick up his first point of the season tonight, an assist, in Chicago's game against Nashville.

Vandermeer returns to Philadelphia where he was originally signed in 2000 and spent a few seasons playing for the Phantoms in the AHL. Hopefully this will light a spark under the once willing defenseman. Vandermeer has seen his fight totals drop each year since he came into the league in 05-06.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tonight's Tickets Distributed is....

When the home team announces "tonight's home attendance is..." why don't they just start saying, "tonight's sold and distributed tickets is..."???

Anyone that follows the NHL knows that, on some nights, there is literally 1/3 of the announced attendance actually sitting in a seat.

Is it not embarrassing to turn on your favorite sport on a Wednesday night only to see countless empty seats? The Capitals and Islanders arenas are glaringly empty these days.

So while Gary keeps projecting record breaking attendance this year, why aren't fans actually showing up to games?

The Board of Governors should ask that very question the next time they talk about the state of the game.

So Now Teams are Going to be Penalized?

Brian Burke will love this one.

A week after calling an all-hands GM telecon to discuss why GMs were left out of the NHL's decision to tweak the rules and hand out bigger suspensions this year, Collie Campbell and Gary Bettman have warned Philadelphia Flyers GM, Paul Holmgren, that his team was "under watch" and there could be possible team ramifications for another on-ice lapse in judgement by a Flyers' player.

I can help but wonder if this is similar to those infamous pre-game phone calls teams get when there is build up to a game?

Does Dennis Miller Equal the NHL?

You can find both hiding on Versus these days.

Some think that the entertainment value of both are declining.

And both are led by guys that talk smart, but are from it.