Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Other Side...

We've heard a lot from the Montreal media, from the Montreal owner, from the Montreal fans and Montreal-based corporations. For some much needed balance, here's some good points by Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe:

Of all the remarkable circumstances concerning Zdeno Chara’s hit on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty, the least remarkable was the hit itself.

Vicious? Not in the least. Beyond the pale? See paragraph No. 1. Malicious? Only if you are applying the rules of ringette.

Too many Habs fans, including even team owner Geoff Molson, forgot some of their own recent history. Why, it was only Dec. 26 that Pacioretty himself was tossed from a game on Long Island when he smacked Islanders defenseman Mark Eaton into the rear boards with a running hit across the back.

It was precisely the kind of hit that Chara’s was not, and the type of hit that the league was far too slow in trying to legislate out of the game.

The Habs and their fans also must have erased from the memory bank the hit Guillaume Latendresse delivered to Rob DiMaio in a 2006-07 preseason game, leaving DiMaio addle-brained and never to play again. Where was all the outrage then about playing the game the right way?


Oman said...

I like your blog and usually agree with your points Jeremy, but I think you're on the wrong side of this argument.

The NHL needs to do something about the chronic head trauma issues plaguing the league.

I know you love the physical nature of hockey and the danger, as do I, but allowing plays that involve massive blows to the head to continue is irresponsible, and possibly criminal.

I think the argument around intent is bogus. With the Chara hit for instance, the facts are he hit the player towards the bar and guided his head into it. And no surprise: he was horribly injured. I don't care if he MEANT to break the guy's neck. He is responsible for his actions and the league is responsible for policing these types of hits. If they can't, the the law will.

What other job allows you to nearly kill a competitor in such a way without involving harsh discipline and/or law enforcement. It's the same issue again that we saw with Bertuzzi's hit and McSorley's. And it should have been the case with several others (eg. Suter's cross check to Karia's head). Where the league fails to deal with safety issues, governments and courts will intervene. Even the UFC doesn't allow opponents to drive each other's heads into bars at high speed and they certainly don't allow blows to the head with deadly weapons.

If the league officials don't pull their heads out of their asses, SOMEONE WILL DIE, and then we'll see how things get sorted out. Then you and Don Cherry can pat yourselves on the back for supporting this crap.

I watch hockey because I love the game, DESPITE the ugliness. I certainly don't watch it to see necks broken, or heads crunched. That shit makes me sick.

Jeremy Milks said...

Oman, nobody wants to see anybody hurt, least of all me. All I've ever said is hockey is a physical game, and there are going to be injuries, including concussions. To try and legislate concussions out of the game is a losing battle. How are you going to prevent Crosby's injury? Only by not allowing any contact whatsoever. Those huge hits which cause serious trauma are more rare than you think. The league instituted a new rule which is working well. Other areas such as equipment and the safety of the playing surface should be addressed.

People are over-reacting to injuries that no rule could eliminate, unless that rule is to eliminate hitting all together. I'm all for reducing head injuries, but completely changing the physical nature of the game is not the answer.

Oman said...

I don't know man... I think we're over thinking things here. It's pretty simple really. When you intentionally hit a player in a dangerous way/in a dangerous position or location on the ice and they are seriously injured, and you should have known better, you should face the music. Suspension and/or fine. If it looks like there MAY be malicious intent (eg. Chara's hit), you could up the punishment. Repeat offenders get higher suspensions, fines, banishment etc.

Call me an idealist, or a bleeding heart, but I simply refuse to believe that suspending Chara in a case like this would somehow diminish the physical nature of the game. Look at football, one of the most physical sports on the planet: no one is driving an opponent's head into the uprights, or into rock hard surfaces, or hitting them in the head with sticks. Hell there isn't even fighting. How can they protect their stars without goons punching each other in the face on a regular, premeditated basis?! What a pussy sport!