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Often times during the NHL season you have to wonder

by admin on Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Often times during the NHL season you have to wonder “What the Hell?” “How does that make any sense?”

When one of these situations happens it is after Brendan Shanahan or Colin Campbell before him decide to suspend or not suspend someone.  Now for the sake of knowing who I am and knowing myself fairly well and knowing my faults I will avoid all discussion on Matt Cooke because no way do I stay impartial when it comes to him.

Firstly let me say Taylor Hall should and is rightfully suspended for his action.  Be it against a guy known for let’s say questionable hits.  So Karma came after Clutterbuck and Karma looked an awful lot like a kid who still hasn’t bought his first razor.  So if I have no problem with the suspension to Taylor Hall but I do have a problem with giving one game to Jannik Hansen.

In no way is delivering a forearm to the BACK of someone’s head ever incidental or accidental.  It is deliberate and the argument that he was going for the puck reeks of homerish or a memo from the producer “HE PLAYS FOR A CANADIAN TEAM SO UNDERSTATE WHAT HE DID”

I personally believe that happens in today’s Canadian media of TSN, CBC, the Score and Sportsnet.  That often they will defend or understate what happened if the player in question happens to play for is in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver.

For the full subject of this blog it will be about two points Media propaganda on suspensions and why you need to suspend the action not the result.

The NHL says it is trying to rid itself of intentional head shots where the head is the target.  I’ve been watching hockey since I didn’t like watching Hockey as a child.  Yes it hits everyone at different times for me it was 1987 and a game where I saw my hero Andy Moog playing.  After I realized how great hockey is, I’ve spent way too much time watching and listening and learning from history about the sport… Which is probably why I have trouble keeping a job :D

Taylor Hall was suspended two games because (a) it was a careless hit and (b) Clutterbuck got injured.  Suspending extra because a player gets injured is a dangerous slope, it doesn’t help anyone there is no learning process when you suspend due to an injury.  The week before there was a similar play in the Montreal Toronto massacre.  A knee on knee hit that grazed more than anything but it was much more deliberate then Hall’s knee on knee on Clutterbuck who is a specialist at these hits.

Yet no injury so no suspension.  The act is no different, if you want knee on knee hits gone then suspend them injury or no injury.  All you learn by suspending due to injury is hope the guy doesn’t get hurt if you do something dirty.

Here’s a question when was the last time in a game of hockey you seen two players go up like a jump ball.  Not often me neither until I seen Hansen go up behind Hossa like it was a soccer game and they were competing for a headball.  Hansens forearm hits the BACK of Hossa’s head, I mean come on there’s blindside coming from an angle on the side then there’s blind by doing it from behind.  There is only one sport where I’ve seen what Hansen did happen more than once and that is European Football… Soccer to the North Americans who don’t have my appreciation of the beautiful game.

Not counting the Bertuzzi Moore incident or McSorley’s stick-swinging which were non hockey legal issues.  There was one other time that I was as disgusted as I was when Hansen hits his forearm to the back of Hossa’s head was when Darcy Tucker went after Mike Peca’s knee in one of the most deliberate ‘rule following’ attempts to injure another player.

I saw the Hansen hit and having seen little of him but the little I’ve seen that he is a very quick defensively capable penalty killer.  What I’ve also seen is he is a sneaky player who will spear a guy in the nards (also super dirty) he will dive.  Is he dirty, not even in the top three on his own team.  Yet what he did to Hossa was deliberate, it was INSANELY DIRTY and DANGEROUS.  If you can tell me of another instance where two hockey players went up for a puck up in the air by the bench like two seven footers competing for a rebound I might change my mind but I doubt you know of it.

Because Hossa wasn’t hurt long term, Shanahan only gave Hansen a single game is a joke.  It is, if you are a true fan of the game of hockey and don’t get blinded by loyalty to a team.  I want you to look at the video of what Jannik Hansen called a hockey play click here

Please try and defend it saying he was going for the puck and then look at where the puck actually was.  It was closer to Hossa’s jock then his helmet.  He (Hansen) was going for Hossa’s head not a doubt in my head.  From the moment I seen it I wanted Hansen to get a minimum of five games.  Just as they gave to Duncan Keith when he hit his elbow to Daniel Sedins jaw last year a few minutes after Sedin hit him in the head.  A day after Shane Doan a repeatedly suspended for head hunting got two games.

So where is the consistency on these calls, what are players supposed to be learning from this.  How do they actually know what is suspendable and what is not.  If you give one first time offender more than a repeat offender but don’t give an equal amount to another first time offender.  Duncan Keith top Canadian born Defensemen got more games for injuring Daniel Sedin then Shane Doan who is employed by the NHL owned Coyotes and Jannik Hansen who cowardly hit a guy from behind to the back of the head.  Seriously how does this make sense to anyone, how does the severity of the injury determine the amount of games.  It’s an absolute joke, I’m sorry if you think Shanny is doing a good job but that is a joke.

Why because Jamie Benn is a tough Canadian who said “Hey you went for my head, you tried to injure me now we have to fight”

I’m not calling Sedin soft there because like boxing different boxers have a different button.  For those who are unaware of what that simile means is just because I got knocked out by a punch doesn’t mean you will get knocked out by the same person.

I am however saying you need to suspend the act, you need to suspend more if the player is a repeat offender such as Shane Doan is.  I don’t care what a expert says about his character and how great of a guy he is.  He could be an awesome person off the ice but he’s dirty on it.

Duncan Keith reacted to someone who tried to hurt him and reacted badly but he gets five games… What is that, he was a first time offender.  He is a Canadian superstar who plays for a original six team, he is someone who plays nearly 30 minutes a game.  He is a shutdown defender who every team would love to have on their blue line.  Yes he deserved to be suspended for what he did but to get more then Shane Doan brings me to my next point.

The media is to blame for extra games

Make no mistake about it folks, if the Duncan Keith/Daniel Sedin situation happened in a game between Columbus and Nashville.  If it happened with Jack Johnson hitting Mike fisher then it would have been one game maybe two.  The video would have stated that first time offender, deliberate head shot, two games.  Yet it didn’t happen in a game where it only gets local attention, it happened in a nationally watched game.  Then the crew at TSN kept showing replays of Keith and talking about it
more and more and more.  Then it was on the Radio shows, Doug MacLean and Kyper would talk about it now they wouldn’t give all the attention to Shane Doan but Duncan Keith the way they talked about him was as if he was the Devil.

This is what these shows do when it’s a player on a Canadian team affected.  They do not EVER drop it until they get what they want which is a larger then need be suspension.

If the Duncan Keith getting more then Hansen and Doan combined doesn’t prove my theory of the National Sports shows getting players extra then I have another one for you.

Brad Marchand was rightfully suspended five games for low-bridging Sami Salo.  Yet was he actually suspended for the action, was he suspended for the injury or was it that the Canadian sports cycle would not drop the issue.

Yeah I’m sounding homerish but watch Marchands hit (click here) now watch Ryan Kesler low-bridge Cal Clutterbuck (click here) When you watch just the act, Marchands while still definitely a low-bridge and worthy of a suspension so is Keslers.  The two main differences of the hits is (1) Injury, but I mean that was Sami Salos first ever injury right, Christ the guy gets hurt if he laughs to hard watching a movie.  And (2) the media maelstrom Marchand faced from James Duthie and the like.  For a full week they showed the clip and talked about it and vilified Marchand.  Which granted seeing the edge he plays on is kind of granted at times.  Yet when Kesler tried and failed to hurt Clutterbuck, do you know how often TSN, Sportsnet, Score showed the replay… Not nearly as much in fact it barely made the morning loops.

It wasn’t taking the lion share of the radio shows like PTS or Hockey Central.  It didn’t  have players from other teams talking about how dirty it was.  It didn’t have Steve Simmons crying about taking the dirt out of the game.  It didn’t have Damien Cox taking time away from watching a tennis match to try and fail like he knows anything about hockey and its history.  They continued to blast Marchand and months later ignored Kesler’s similar hit.

That example also fits under suspending due to injury but Sami Salos glass stature should also come into play.  If a player who got hurt is someone known for being injured and you suspend due to injury then should you not look at his injury history.

How do they look in the mirror though knowing that if these hits happened during the Olympics or World Championships they would destroy Ryan Kesler.  They’d bring up every dive, every dirty play every attempt to injure.  They would then talk of how Duncan Keith is one of the best game changing dmen in the game today.  How his anger at Raffi Torres helped him nearly single handily get Chicago back from being down three.  When they talked of Marchand during a time when he had on a Canadian jersey cause he is from Canada they wouldn’t mention his two suspensions.  They would however show how he does not give up on a play.

They would show how he will fight someone bigger than him.  Instead of talking about his two suspensions they would talk of his heroics during the Bruins playoff run.  They would call him a winner not a rat like they do now.

So how is it Canadian to use propaganda to make your case against anyone while ignoring the same incident because a player plays for a team based out of Canada.  That’s a joke that is completely unfair and its actually prejudicial.

That is it for me this time around and I got through the entire blog without talking of Gionta’s lack of suspension for the blindside on Reimer or why Chara not being suspended was the right call.  Plus my personal favorite wrong suspension Joe Thornton concussing David Perron because of a bad pass of Pietrangelo.

You can contact me via twitter @jisheppard

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