***Some technical problems (four days of festivities at the Grey Cup, and misplacing my lap top) caused the delay it getting this posted, but here it is and the stats are all from Thursday, Nov 26 to remain consistent from week-to-week.***
Does the NHL have a double-standard when it comes to suspending players?
Why the hell does anyone even ask this question? Of course it does. So does the NFL, MLB, NBA and every other professional league, not to mention just about every workplace environment.
And the NHL will never change it, nor should they.
Fans want to see the star players; they don’t pay big bucks to see most 3rd and 4th line pluggers, excluding, maybe, the tough guy. The star players will be given the benefit of the doubt more often than not, but how often does it happen?
I am always hearing there is a double-standard, but is it that bad? Is there a long list of star players who have consistently avoided suspensions or been given mostly short-term raps on the knuckles?
The Human Rake, Chris Pronger, has been suspended more times (seven) than any other active player. His longest suspension was four games, and he is one of only three players who have been suspended twice in the same season; Claude Lemieux and Ville Nieminen are the others.
Most of his suspensions have been slashing or high stick infractions, excluding the elbow on Dean McCammond in the playoffs. He plays on the edge, and yes he is dirty, but that is what makes him successful, and I’d bet more fans pay to watch him play than they do a 5th or 6th D-man on his team. But it seems he is one of the few “Stars” who is a repeat offender.
How many other star players are consistently getting away with horrendous infractions?
Do you think Alex Ovechkin is that cheap? I just don’t see lots of star players who are constantly avoiding being suspended.
Here is a list of the longest suspensions in NHL history, courtesy of an article in the Vancouver Province:
- 30 games — Chris Simon, New York Islanders, Dec. 19, 2007, for slamming his skate into the foot of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu.
- 25 games — Jesse Boulerice, Philadelphia, Oct. 12, 2007, for cross-checking Vancouver centre Ryan Kesler across the face in a game on Oct. 10.
- 25 games — Chris Simon, New York Islanders, March 11, 2007, for the rest of the regular season (15 games) and playoffs for his two-handed stick attack to the face of New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg. Since Islanders played only five playoff games, suspension extended to first five games of 2007-08.
- 23 games — Marty McSorley, Boston, Feb. 2000, for knocking out Vancouver’s Donald Brashear with a stick-swinging hit. On Nov. 7, 2000, the suspension was extended by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to Feb. 20, 2001.
- 23 games — Gordie Dwyer, Tampa Bay, Sept. 19, 2000, for abusing officials and coming out of the penalty box to fight in an exhibition game against Washington.
- 21 games — Dale Hunter, Washington, May 1993, for a blindside check of Pierre Turgeon of the N.Y. Islanders after a goal in a playoff game.
- 20 games — Steve Downie, Philadelphia, Sept. 28, 2007, for leaving his feet to deliver a deliberate hit to the head Ottawa forward Dean McAmmond in a pre-season game Sept. 25.
- 20 games — Todd Bertuzzi, Vancouver, March 11, 2004, for his sucker-punch of Colorado forward Steve Moore on March 8. Bertuzzi’s suspension was for 13 regular season games, plus playoffs. Bertuzzi was reinstated 17 months later, after the year-long lockout.
- 20 games — Tom Lysiak, Chicago, Oct. 1983, for intentionally tripping a linesman.
- 20 games — Brad May, Phoenix, Nov. 15, 2000, for hitting Columbus’ Steve Heinze on the nose with his stick in a game on Nov. 11.
- 16 games — Eddie Shore, Boston, 1933, for hitting Toronto’s Ace Bailey over the head with his stick.
- 15 games — (3 regular-season, 12 playoff games) Maurice Richard, Montreal, March 1955, for levelling linesman Cliff Thompson during a scuffle with Boston’s Hal Laycoe.
- 15 games — Wilf Paiement, Colorado, Oct. 1978, for swinging his stick and hitting Detroit’s Dennis Polonich in the face.
- 15 games — Dave Brown, Philadelphia, Nov. 1987, for cross-checking Tomas Sandstrom of the New York Rangers across the face and breaking his jaw.
- 15 games — Tony Granato, Los Angeles, Feb. 1994, for slashing Pittsburgh’s Neil Wilkinson.
- 13 games (30 days) — Ted Green, Boston, Sept. 1969, for his stick-swinging incident with Wayne Maki of St. Louis. Green to serve after he was physically fit to play. Maki also received a 30-day suspension.
- 13 games — Dave Manson, Chicago, Dec. 1989, after coming back onto the ice to rejoin a fight against Toronto. Manson received three games for diving onto linesman Ron Finn and 10 for coming back onto the ice to rejoin a fight.
- 13 games — Andre Roy, Tampa Bay, for leaving the penalty box and physically abusing an official while trying to engage players in the New York Rangers penalty box in April, 2002.
- 12 games — Ron Hextall, Philadelphia, 1989, for attacking Montreal defenceman Chris Chelios in a playoff game.
- 12 games — David Shaw, N.Y. Rangers, Oct. 1988, for slashing Pittsburgh centre Mario Lemieux.
- 12 games — Matt Johnson, Los Angeles, Nov. 1998, for punching New York Rangers defenceman Jeff Beukeboom in the head.
- 12 games — Brantt Myhres, San Jose Sharks, Feb. 1999 for leaving the bench to attack Los Angeles’ Mattias Norstrom.
I’m sure you recall most of those and those that were before your time you’ve probably read or heard about. They were all warranted. I understand why the NHL gives the stars, who don’t have a lengthy track record, more leeway than the grinders and pluggers. And I don’t see any reason why it needs to change.
Player need to wake up
Cheap shots and concussions have become the hot topic amongst fans, media and even the players. It is an issue that needs to be looked at, but I think we need to define what is considered a legitimate cheap shot?
When a guy is forechecking at top speed and the D-man turns his back to him at the last second, is that a cheap shot? I have more sympathy for those types of plays than I do compared to what Michael Handzus did to Ales Hemsky on Wednesday.
Hemsky never turned his back at the last moment, nor was this a split second reaction by Handzus. Hemsky had control of the puck for a few seconds and Handzus, deliberately gave him a shot in the numbers that launched Hemsky into the boards. I’ve seen hits that would be considered cheaper, but this type of hit is preventable.
When Hemsky is in that position he trusts the defender not to hit him in the numbers. A play like that happens 50 times a game, and often the puck carrier doesn’t get hit like that.
We can yell and scream all we want that the league needs to change the rules, or enforce the ones they have, but the players are ultimately responsible.
The NHLPA needs to find a leader, and when they do let’s hope the new guy convinces them that they need police themselves, by showing smarts and respect on the ice.
Ice women of the week
The Hawks are one of the most entertaining teams on the ice, and I wonder if it has anything to do with this crew? I bet most of you would like to see if you could last a few rounds with these boxing beauties!
Why are so many Oiler fans saying this team should tank it and get a lottery pick? Only Anaheim, Toronto, Carolina and Minnesota are worse. The Oilers don’t have to tank it; they are already in the mix for a lottery pick.
Is it just me or has Roberto Luongo been average all season long? The Canucks need him to start playing better if they want make the playoffs. I’ve only watched about ten Canucks games, and I’ve yet to see him steal a game. He hasn’t looked like a guy who many felt would be the starter for Team Canada at the Olympics.
Mike Green has 12 points in his last eight games, and after a slow start he now leads all defensemen in scoring with 25 points. After 31 goals in only 68 games last season, Green only has three this year. Green really wants to make the Olympic team and has tried to be more responsible in his own end, but has he improved enough? I don’t think so, but Green is the best offensive-minded defenseman in the league right now.
James van Riemsdyk has 18 points in 19 games. He is averaging 13:41 of icetime, compared to the 18:42 that John Tavares plays. Tavares only has two more points, and he has played six more games. The 2nd overall pick in 2007 is having a great rookie campaign and it looks like van Riemsdyk made the right decision to play two years in college rather than just one.
Here we sit eight weeks into the season and no coach has been fired yet. Who will be first? Many think Paul Maurice might get the axe if the Hurricanes continue to flounder, but he’s only been behind the bench for 83 games this time around. Would Brian Burke give his American buddy, Ron Wilson, his walking papers? Doubtful.
Pat Quinn isn’t going anywhere. Peter Deboer is in his second season while Todd Richards hasn’t coached 30 games. Randy Carlyle is a hard ass, and some of his players have grown weary of his antics, but his GM, Bob Murray, said players would be moved before Carlyle gets fired. If the Flyers don’t get going soon, John Stevens could be the first coaching casualty. Twenty of the 30 coaches are in their first or second season with their team, so the options are limited, but rarely do we get to Christmas without one coach getting fired.
Leader through the week
Here are the top ten in pts, goals, assists and other stats.
Nineteen: Marian Gaborik (four this week)
Eighteen: Dany Heatley
Seventeen: Alex Ovechkin
Sixteen: Jarome Iginla (four this week)
Fifteen: Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone
Fourteen: Anze Kopitar, Patrick Marleau and Rick Nash
Thirteen: Corey Perry, Dustin Penner, Ilya Kovalchuk, Henrik Sedin and Zach Parise
26: Joe Thornton (six this week)
23: Brad Richards (seven this week)
22: Ryan Getzlaf, Tomas Kaberle and Mike Green
Twenty: Martin St. Louis
Nineteen: Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Plekanec, Nik Antropov and Kopitar
***Antropov scored his first two goals of the season this week to go with 19 assists.
33: Thornton (seven points this week), Gaborik (six this week) and Kopitar (one)
30: Brad Richards (eight points this week)
29: Heatley and Perry
27: Ovechkin, Marleau and Nash
26: Penner, Stamkos and Getzlaf
***Rick Nash is the only player in the top twenty who is a minus player, sitting at -7***
+18: Matt Carle (leads for second straight week)
+13: Chris Pronger and Brent Seabrook
+12: Jonathon Toews, Travis Zajac, Duncan Keith and Ryan O’Reilly
+11: Alex Goligoski, Christian Ehrhoff, Pavel Kubina, Ovechkin and Antropov
*** Rod Brind’Amour still leads for the Green Jacket with an atrocious -18. Rick Nash is -11, and along with Kaberle (-3) and St. Louis (-8) are in the top 30 in scoring with a minus rating.***
Six: Stamkos, Kovalchuk, Milan Hejduk and Scott Hartnell
Five: Ryan Smyth, Raffi Torres, Andrew Brunette, Teemu Selanne, Loui Eriksson, Brooks Laich, Mike Richard, Rich Peverley and Mike Fisher.
***Interesting to note that half of Heatley’s goals have come on the PP, while Ovechkin’s and Iginla only have four PP goals.***
94: Ryan Callahan and Stephane Robidas (Had 28 hits this week. Wow.)
90: Chris Neil
79: Dustin Brown and Matt Greene
78: Scott Nichol
77: Cal Clutterbuck
75: Ryan Malone
74: David Backes, Matt Cooke and Douglas Murray
104: Ovechkin (leads for eigth straight week, with two weeks not playing.)
96: Jeff Carter
95: Henrik Zetterberg (19 shots this week)
92: Sidney Crosby
90: Radim Vrbata and Nash
86: Michael Cammalleri
85: Dustin Brown
***Gaborik scored four goals this week on only eight shots***
If you’ve never been to a Grey Cup, I suggest you partake next year. The attitude amongst CFL fans throughout Grey Cup week is awesome. Every one is friendly and just looking for a good time. And if the Alouettes don’t win on Sunday they will join the ranks of the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Braves as choke artists.