Thursday, September 27, 2007

Local Fishwrap Sept. 27

(Tony Caldwell/Sun)

In reality, there's not much more to be said about the Steve Downey hit on old Deano that hasn't already been said. There is total consensus that it was a dangerous hit with a clear intent to injure. But we must be careful not to let some goon like Downey to change the way the game is played just through his sheer stupidity alone.

Wayne Scanlan jumps in with the expected "ban all hits to the head" article. I still think that some contact with the head is acceptable as long as the hit is clean and there is no intent to injure. If you heavily penalize all incidental contact to the head, then players will be way too hesitant to hit anyone for fear of getting a penalty. It would be similar to the Instigator Rule where nobody wants to fight anymore lest they hurt their team. Instead of clean hits, we'll see more knees getting taken out instead.

To me the answer is simple. Don't change the rules on hitting. Just come down hard on the obviously dangerous hits that show no respect. That way you can separate the Scott Stevens from the Steve Downey's and keep the exciting aspect of open ice hitting in the game. In essence, "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater".

So what does Colin Campbell do? Does he go lenient like he always does or does he bring the hammer down and put every skull hunter on notice? My bet is he goes lenient (3-5 games) because that's what history tells us is going to happen.

Remember, this is a league where a player can legitimately beat the snot out of a fan and not get suspended. Remember Tie Domi and that fan who fell into the penalty box? Domi was caught on camera openly feeding some drunk dude fist after fist and the league blamed it on the fan for "falling" into the penalty box. That is the very definition of backwards.

Hugh Adami gives us a revealing history lesson on some of Downey's antics of the past. One thing I never thought of before is Downey's similarity to the ex-GM who drafted him - Bobby Clarke. Both were considered "rats" who stirred up chaos and never backed it up with fists.

Allan Maki does the same in the Globe but gets an interesting perspective from Downey's former coach in junior, Moe Mantha, who ultimately lost his job because of the famed "hotbox" hazing incident that happened under his watch.

Now getting away from the already aggravating Downey story is Bruce Garrioch who lets us know that there are other issues that will have to be taken care of once everyone calms down a little bit. While Garrioch gets a little dramatic when he says that, "Dany Heatley's future with the Senators could be all but decided today", you have to think that the meeting between Sens owner Eugene Melnyk and Dany Heatley's agents will go a long way to seeing if the two sides can come together. Fact is, the Sens will give Heatley whatever he wants. If they have to say goodbye to Wade Redden, they'll do it but we must remember that Martin Gerber and Joe Corvo and their big contracts are suddenly tradeable due to their inspired play. While Corvo will probably stay, they might decide to move him next summer if it means being able to keep Redden.

Around the league:

Vesa Toskala is already getting booed in Hogtown. Seriously, the Leafs look absolutely brutal right now.

Roberto Luongo threatens to retire if the NHL makes the nets bigger. Adam Proteau of the Hockey News sounds so pissed off about Luongo's whining that he hopes it happens just to shove it in Luongo's grill. Now we just need a forward to come out and say they'll retire if Luongo's pads get any bigger. Actually that's impossible. His pads are so big already that he'd disappear with a few more inches in those shoulder pads.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Maybe if you heavily penalize all incidental contact to the head players will become hesitant for fear of getting a penalty, but they will also become hesitant for fear of injuring another player. I'd rather see a knee injury more than a head injury anyday.
Which is better, allowing borderline hits that still injure players--even if they aren't intended to--or bringing down the number of bodychecks every game?
I don't know. But I don't get paid as much as Colin Campbell to answer those questions.