Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
From the NHLPA website:
So as mentioned by Pierre Lebrun, the NHL believes these new rules DO NOT have to go the Competition Committee. Paul Kelly clearly disagrees if you read his statement above.P. Kelly – “I don’t think there is any appetite on the part of the GMs to eliminate or reduce fighting in the game. Frankly, those sentiments are echoed by the players. We explained to the GMs that the players believe that fighting plays an important and historic role in the game, and that fighting has actually kept down the level of violence in the game by allowing players to self-police themselves. We did say that while we believe that we should have fighting in our game, that we should also continue to look at ways to make it as safe as possible for our players. These are things that obviously should be debated and ultimately decided on by the Competition Committee.”
Remember that the Competition Committee is made up of four GMs and four players. And it has been said that 7 out of 10 would have to approve the new rules to go to the Board of Governors (i.e. the owners) for a final vote.
And being that Kelly said the GMs and players don't have the appetite to curb fighting, don't expect EITHER of these proposed rules to pass.
That is................... unless the NHL wins out by saying that this a rule "tweak".... and not a new rule.
And if that is the case, this is a CLEAR move by the NHL BRASS to curb fighting... and at the disapproval of the NHLPA and GMs no less.
So everyone please FINALLY understand that while the fans, players, and GMs don't want to touch fighting or its respective rules, THE NHL, led by Gary Bettman and his cronies, have their own beliefs about how the league should be run.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
1) Add a 10-minute misconduct to "staged" fights that happen off a faceoff.
Probability - Very likely.
What will happen as a result - Fights off of a faceoff account for 22% of all fights. While the thought is that all of these fights are staged, that couldn't be further from the truth. There's a difference between staged for a reason and staged for no reason. One serves a purpose and one doesn't.
The Georges Laraque/Raitis Ivanans "You wanna go... good luck" audio recorded fight was actually the catalyst to this rule. The yuppie media jumped all over this fight for being nonsensical and unnecesarry. Believie it or not, they were right. The fight has no impact on the game. Even a lot of hockey fight fans will agree with that these days. The days of the two-minute goon are all but done. There's nothing that can be done to change that. Beyond that, spontaneous, emotion-filled fights are more exciting to watch.
The problem with this rule is fights off the draw do serve a purpose sometimes. Guys fight to change the momentum of the game. They fight as payback to a dirty play that occured earlier in the game. Or they fight because they simply don't like the other player. There's nothing wrong with this; and it's in the best interests of the NHL to let them fight so players don't resort to other far worse actions to send a message.
So what will happen. Let Riley Cote answer that for you...
"In certain situations, it might look like a staged fight, but it really isn't'' said Cote. It's more working around the rules they've put into place. I just think they (the NHL) are overreacting on the whole thing."
That's right, guys will still fight... they'll just set it up to skate away for a few seconds and then meet back up. Players aren't dumb. Some of these rules are though.
Impact - The two or three two-minute goons left in the game won't be playing any more.
2) Call more instigator penalties for fights that happen as a result of clean hits.
This is one we have been hearing a lot about recently. You usually hear about from a play-by-play commentator when one of their players knocks an opposing player on his ass and a teammate jumps in to send a message that even hard, clean runs aren't acceptable.
In reality, this rule won't be an actual rule. It will be the league telling the referees to focus more on calling instigator penalties when clean hits are followed immediately by a fight.
Newsflash... they already make these calls!
If anything, the league is sending a message that the "rats" of the NHL are now protected. They can now run around and take big runs at star players and the league will protect them by ensuring an instigator rule is called when they are made to fight for taking that run. Good call NHL... protect the rats... don't protect your stars.
Impact - None. Teammates will still protect teammates. CLEAN HITS CAN BE BRUTAL. The end result for protecting a teammate is putting your team behind a man for two minutes. Teammates have to decide between that and having their team plowed in to the ice night in and night out. End result... players take the two minutes and send a message that even clean, hard hits (that hurt) won't be tolerated.
3) Have the referees jump in when a helmet pops off in a fight.
Probability - Unlikely.
This isn't happening. The damage isn't even close. Hands/knuckles -vs- head injuries. Hands/knuckles wins out every time. There is a good reason that players remove their helmets before fights on occasion (especially when wearing a visor)... punching a helmet hurts; it busts up knuckles; it breaks fingers; and it can break hands and wrists. Players take their helmets off before a fight out of respect for their opponent. Chew on that one for a while and then think if this new rule is really what the players want to protect their safety...
The NHL is looking into new helmet technology. Ted Leonsis, the Washington Capitals owner, gave me this reply when I asked him last month.
So the end result of these proposed rules isn't much. And that is good for hockey. Even Gary Bettman doesn't want fighting out of hockey. The fans love it. The players recognize it as an important component of their game. What else matters?
In all actuality, I only see the ten-minute misconduct rule as actually making it into the NHL's rule book. And that will be worked around by players that truly want to fight.
And with the influx of light and middleweights in the league and the increase in hockey fights this year, the impact on fighting totals will negligible in 2009/10.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
"The whimpification of the sport." Words straight from Mike Milbury's mouth. Words straight to the ears of a national audience. Words that couldn't have been more accurate, more truthful.
This is EMBARRASSING for the NHL. The only major network, besides the outdoor channel, that gives the NHL a national audience just ripped them... just completely mocked the sport. And this from an inside guy... a guy that played the game and was an NHL GM.
The scene. Colton Orr comes out looking for a scrap against Riley Cote as the Rangers are trailing 5-1 and are completely lifeless. Orr wants a momentum swing.
The linesman step in before the whistle and warn Orr. The puck is dropped and Orr squares up to Cote and shoves him the chest. The two whack each other and start to skate away, but wait, a whistle is blown and Orr is promptly handed a two-minute minor and a ten-minute misconduct.
The Rangers fans are baffled. Everyone watching NBC is baffled. What did Orr do to deserve 12 minutes worth of penalties?
"The whimpification of the sport." Even Pierre McGuire agrees.
The NBC panelists continue to tear this game apart. No passion. No life. This is the new NHL. This is YOUR NHL.
Thank God for Mike Milbury. Thank God for Brandon Dubinsky for showing some leadership. It's clear Scott Gomez and Chris Drury want Renney gone. A player's character, or lack thereof, shines through when their team is down.
Wait a second, Mara and Asham drop the gloves in the 3rd and Riley Cote somehow ends up with a ten-minute misconduct all his owns
Two tough guys... two ten-minute misconducts. Get the tough guys out of the game... even if they don't do anything to warrant a penalty. Look for something. Find something.
Find the name and number on his jersey. Forget Dion Phanuef and his flying elbow. His jersey reads "Phaneuf" on the back... no suspension.
Find "Cote." Find "Orr." They mouthed off? See ya in ten minutes.
This is the new NHL. This is Gary's NHL. This is the way he wants his sport played.
Forget what the fans want. Read the polls. This is the exact opposite of what any fan poll says.
Thank you to the Rangers "leaders" for probably just getting their coach fired. Thank you to the refs for calling lame misconducts.
Thank you Gary for this boring 5-2 sleeper. This is your product. And it STINKS.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
That said, I can’t stand this fighting talk nonsense anymore. The yuppie media hasn’t missed a chance to ram the anti-fighting drivel down our throats. Forget what the players have to say. Forget what the fans have to say. The yuppie media wants changes; and by God you are going to hear about it.
Leading the charge as always is TSN. Their most recent (well I haven’t checked in a couple hours) article focuses on the little known “Concussion Summit.” Apparently this Summit wants to completely ban fighting at all levels of hockey. From TSN:
"Fighting should be eliminated from hockey at all levels of the game, according to recommendations released Tuesday from an expert panel dealing with concussions in hockey... Fighting is one of the known causes of concussion, and may result in the related long-term complications," the panel's summary statement says. "Fighting can cause needless death."
I have to ask, how long did it take the" expert panel” to come up with this Earth-shattering conclusion? May, can, might, could, would… let’s get them all in while we’re at it.
And before they concluded their "expert" research, did they ever take a look at crosschecking, tripping, slewfooting, highsticking, boarding, hitting from behind, shooting a puck over 80 mph, skating with razor sharp skates at breakneck speeds?
Because, my expert research concludes that the above actions too “may result in the related long-term complications [of concussions]… and [insert above actions] can cause needless death."
Why not eliminate those actions from all levels of hockey? Why not eliminate ice? May he rest in peace, but Don Sanderson didn’t die from a punch. He died when his head hit the ice.
Let’s not stop with hockey either. Last week, X Games winner, Jeremy Lusk, died while attempting a Freestyle back flip in San Jose. Ban Freestyle Motocross? In September of 2005, a record-setting motorcycle racer died after crashing at 239 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Ban Motorcycle Speed Racing? Dale Earnhardt. Ban turns in NASCAR? Pro wrestlers have died. Ban wrestling at all levels? NFL players have died in training camps. Ban training camp? Ray Chapman in 1920. Ban baseballs? Boxing. Ban boxing?
The list goes on and on. And so do the actions that caused the results. It’s an implied risk that every player is aware of when they play a sport.
And while some of these actions led to modifications of rules or protective gear, they never led to the removal of that action. But TSN would never mention that.
Now on to this "expert panel." Apparently the group is comprised of a couple of former players. From TSN:
“Panellists [misspelled – nice job TSN] on The Concussion Summit included four former players, three of whom were knocked out of the National Hockey League as the result of concussions - Eric Lindros, Jeff Beukeboom and Alyn McCauley - along with Canadian national women's team player Jennifer Botterill, who was sidelined for a protracted period with concussion.”
“Knocked out?” That would almost lead you to believe that their concussions were the result of a fight. NOPE.
Eric Lindros was notorious for skating up and down the ice with his head down. Just ask Scott Stevens and Jason Doig, players that contributed to two of Lindros’ eight concussions… not one of which was sustained from a fight.
Jeff Beukeboom, a player that only cracked the 20 point plateau once in his career, relied on his fists to stay in the NHL, protecting Mark Messier amongst others. Beukeboom sustained one major concussion, a sucker punch from Matt Johnson that cut his career short. Much like the Bertuzzi/Moore incident, this was not a fight… it was a mugging. And if fighting is ever eliminated, expect to see more of those cowardly acts as players frustrations boil over from having their hands tied.
Alyn McCauley sustained three major concussions in his career, one from having his feet kicked out from him, one from a puck to the temple, one from getting his head run into the boards in Toronto.
Jennifer Botterill’s major concussion came from a full-speed collision with her own teammate in practice.
Four players, numerous concussions… yet not one from fighting from this "expert panel" that I am aware of. So why aren’t we banning skating with your head down, tripping, slapshots or running into players in practice? Why fighting all the sudden?
Oh right, it may result in long-term complications or might cause death. Groundbreaking research I tell ya. I guess boxing hasn't taught us anything.
But let the yuppie media present it to us as "expert" information. Yeah right...
I can’t take it anymore. Time for a Starbucks coffee folks.
Wait a second, I better not go. I have to cross the DC streets to get to Starbucks… and that might result in me getting run over, which may result in long-term complications (in addition to the caffeine in the coffee) and could result in death.
Time to call Adrian Fenty about outlawing pedestrians from crossing his DC streets, right?