Hockey Season Has Officially Arrived.

Posted in Hockey, Mob Behavior at 11:52 pm by

We know this because ill-tempered Flyers rookie Steve Downie (above, giving the flying clothesline to Ottawa’s Dean McCammond) is sure to be suspended.

And we know this because the Sens Brian McGrattan has all but channeled Brad May, saying, in effect, “tune in November 24th for the next Bertuzzi/Moore incident!”

He’ll get what’s coming to him. He’ll do it to the wrong guy and somebody will put him out of hockey. You do that at his level a couple of times, guys in junior won’t do it, but guys at this level will. He’ll get what’s coming to him next time we play him, that’s for sure.

Jason Blake and Wade Belak of the Maple Leafs have also spoken out against the hit:

“I’ve got one thought: This (Downie) should not be (allowed) to play in the league again,” Blake told a Toronto radio station.

“One day a player is not going to get up, so something needs to be done about hits of that nature.”

“No respect,” Leafs forward Wade Belak said of Downie’s actions. “I’d never have done something like that in my first year.”

That’s right, you need to be a 10 year-vet to do something like that… so it will be interesting to see if Downie gets more games than Belak did (eight) for his two-handed chop to a guy’s face. (“It was a little severe I think,” Belak said of his suspension then. “I wasn’t expecting to walk away with less than three, but I thought no more than five.”)

Of course you’ll also find plenty of people who believe that any punishment at all is proof that Gary Bettman’s league panders to wussies – and not just in Philadelphia.

And you’ll find all sorts of Jesuit-like musings on the timing of the hit and the legality of aiming for the head, including an otherwise-disgusted Bob McKenzie and the Toronto Star‘s Damien Cox.

I have to agree with Cox that banning hits to the head seems like (sorry!) a no-brainer. Then it becomes like a high-sticking call – intent and incidental contact can’t be argued. Make that unambiguous and all other kinds of hits and legal violence could continue unabated (which I mean to say would be a good thing).

It’s enough to make a hockey fan nostalgic for the summer, when everybody talked about how fresh-scrubbed NHL players seemed compared to Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy and Barry Bonds. Back then Greg Wyshynski nailed it:

Hockey has a bigger image problem than any of the other “big three” in the sense that its headline-grabbing embarrassments happen during the games rather than at a BALCO lab or during the off-season. And unlike David Stern with the Donaghy scandal, Gary Bettman and the NHL have been unable to convince the mainstream media that horrific acts like Bertuzzi’s and [Chris] Simon’s are isolated and not systemic.”

And that’s when Bettman and the NHL can even get “the mainstream media” to take their calls.

5 responses to “Hockey Season Has Officially Arrived.”

  1. matt says:

    if anything hockey should make the refs have fake tits and throw some nu-metal over top of the broadcast and they’ll be in the same ratings catbird seat as the ufc.


  2. Joe says:

    Gary Bettman is an idiot. The only thing he has done for the NHL is ruin it.


  3. hot shit college student says:

    Joe, I don’t know, the Yahoo fantasy experts who drafted both NYI goalies to my squad ruined this season for me. I’m rooting for another poorly handled strike.

  4. Sebastian says:

    The NHL makes the news with hits like this and not with big goals from Crosby and Ovechkin. Until they figure out how to reverse that equation, any image building will be decidedly uphill.

    HSCS, that’s what happens when you don’t do a thorough job ranking players and still rely on autodraft. My leagues are littered with similar netminding tandems.

  5. hot shit college student says:

    doesn’t make it right. I’m happy I didn’t get stuck with the Bulin Wall.

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