Disagreeing with Greg Wyshynski

But this Ducks/Wings fight shows us the difference between sending a message and “message sending.” This was a nasty but emotionally organic bit of olde tyme hockey; none of the players on the ice were knuckle-dragging goons looking for a target at the end of the blowout….
The NHL’s disciplinary system would become a parody of the joke it is if any of these players are suspended for Game 7.

Greg Wyshynski is the editor of Yahoo’s excellent Puck Daddy blog, and an irreverent and outspoken columnist who has far more good points than bad ones. On this point though, I think he’s letting Perry and Getzlaf’s point totals blind him just a little bit.

It looked to me like Perry and Getzlaf were looking for targets. Here’s a quick glance at three numbers from their two bouts: size, penalty minutes, career fights:

Getzlaf vs. Hossa

Size: 6’4, 221lbs vs. 6’1”, 208lbs. Advantage: Getzlaf
PIM: 121 vs. 63. Advantage: Getzlaf
Fights: 10 in 297GP vs. 4 in 775GP. Advantage: Getzlaf

When you toss in the fact that only one forward in the entire league took more penalties than Ryan Getzlaf, and that Getzlaf instigated the event and threw the first punch, I think the possibility that he was looking for a target to soften up before game seven becomes incredibly likely. Still, let’s move on to event #2.

Perry vs. Rafalski

Size: 6’3”, 209lbs vs. 5’10”, 200lbs. Advantage:Perry
PIM: 109 vs. 20. Advantage: Perry
Fights: 14 in 286GP vs. 2 in 692GP. Advantage: Perry

Corey Perry’s another guy on the frequently-penalized list, tied for fourth among NHL forwards (one back of Ethan Moreau). Meanwhile Brian Rafalski managed to take virtually no penalties all season; an incredible feat for a defenseman. Again, we have a case where Perry clearly instigated the altercation and used it as an excuse to whale on a clearly overmatched opponent.

I didn’t bother mentioning the third fight, although again in all categories Niedermayer is well ahead of Datsyuk (a Lady Byng candidate), since Niedermayer isn’t exactly a fighter himself. But Niedermayer’s elbow to Datsyuk’s face wasn’t exactly a clean move itself either, and works back to the overall point: that the Ducks blatantly provoked this incident.

Suspensions?

Of course, the NHL has a suspension policy for players involved in an altercation in the last minutes of a game – a policy that I’ve never been especially fond of – but if the policy is there it should be enforced, particularly when one team has two big, tough players attacking a pair of smaller, less-willing combatants. The fact that those two players happen to be scoring stars is incidental – they clearly defied NHL policy, and neither of the “fights” was an equal contest: it was a pair of big guys beating up on a pair of smaller guys.

They won’t be suspended, obviously; the NHL has repeatedly shown that it has a two-tiered justice system, one for stars and one for role players. Since Getzlaf and Perry are stars, and it would look too much like the NHL was rigging the series, they will not suspend the offenders.

If the league were just, though, neither Perry or Getzlaf would suit up for Game 7. And it wouldn’t be the travesty that Wyshynski claims – it would be two players who willfully went after smaller, less physical opponents with no time left on the clock getting exactly what they deserved.

  • lj

    @ Chaz:

    I'm with Chaz. Sure there was some punches thrown but in my mind it was more of a scrum that got a little carried away rather then a series of fights. Hell I've seen guys get face washed in a scrum during the regular season way harder then most of the punches thrown last night.

    I hate how the media, minus Wyshynski apperentley, immedietly jump all over the "holy crap there was something that happened at the end of the game everyone should be suspended otherwise someone is going to get killed" bandwagon, rather then using this as a way of getting everyone really amped for game 7.
    Has everyone already forgotten the Leafs/Kings series from 93 or whatever? Clark punched McSorely's eye out at the end of game one and that set the tone for one of the most exciting playoff series I can remember. This is the playoffs people. Everyone out there is going to do everything they can to help their team get even the slightest edge.
    If this same scenario happened with James Wisniewski, Kent Huskins, Dan Cleary, Justin Abdelkader, etc, do you think people would be talking about this? I really doubt it. Let the players sort it out on the ice and lets all just enjoy some exciting hockey shall we?

  • lj

    @ Arch If you got Getzlaf and moved Gagner to Hemsky's spot, they'd be a better team. Simple as that. They're not get him anyway. I just wanted to fire you up 😉

  • lj

    Getzlaf is as close to the top tier (Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Zetterberg, etc.) as anyone else. He is a superstar, and although Perry probably benefits from playing with him, I'd still take his game over Hemsky's (I don't dislike Hemsky, I just don't think he's as good as most people here seem to think). If Hemsky's your best forward, you're in trouble. If he's your 2nd best, you're likely in good shape.

  • lj

    @ Jason Gregor:
    I didnt say I wouldnt take Getzlaf. He seems like the real deal. 2 years of more than a point per game pace and he's a huge Centre. My biggest problem with Ross Creek's statement is that it includes Perry, who i dont think is better than Hemsky.

    The main point of my reply to him though, was that it doesnt matter who is coming because elite players dont produce a massive amount of points on their own. You've pointed this out on your radio show before, there are very few elite point producers who DO NOT have other top 30 producers that play with them.

    So lets say Getzlaf for Hemsky happens (it wont but lets pretend). Now the Oilers have filled the void at Centre and opened a relatively equal sized hole at RW. It doesnt turn this non-playoff team into a contender.

  • lj

    @ Archaeologuy:

    If you don't think Getzlaf is better than Hemsky you are clearly wearing the COPPER and BLUE googles today. Perry is a different player, and straight up I wouldn't say he is better than Hemsky, but Getzlaf is a workhorse who can do it all.

    I'd take him in a heartbeat for Hemsky.

  • lj

    Does anyone actually think this send a real message?

    What message do you think it sends? Do you think Hossa or Datsyuk or Rafalski, will back down one bit in game seven?

    No chance. I like that they stood in there. Datsyuk did fine v. Greybeard.

    So what if Getzlaf takes more penalties in the regular season, he didn't like what Hossa did so he gave him a shot. That is part of hockey. No one got hurt, and there is no way that Detroit will be intimidated come game seven. If anything this will just heighten the intensity for game seven.

    Three game sevens in round two…AWESOME.

  • lj

    RossCreek wrote:

    Anyone here who wouldn’t trade Hemsky straight up for Perry or Getzlaf is sadly mistaken.

    It will never happen, so luckily I will never have to worry about the amazing level of dissapointment that will be felt by the Fans of Oilerville when the next highly touted player comes up short because he's THE ONLY ELITE FORWARD ON THE TEAM. You think Perry would come here and score 30 goals with Horc as his centre, or that Getzlaf would rack up 66 assists feeding the likes of Penner and Kotalik? Please, give up.

    Will Perry come here and magically put up more points than his career high 72 that he potted while playing with Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Niedermayer, and Pronger? No, i doubt it. That team has the benefit of having MULTIPLE quality top line players. No matter who comes here, if the trade includes Hemsky, the returning player will be all by his lonesome.

  • lj

    RossCreek wrote:

    Anyone here who wouldn’t trade Hemsky straight up for Perry or Getzlaf is sadly mistaken.

    I can't figure out what this has to do with what happened.

    Is there any doubt that the fight broke out because Getzlaf was trying to send a message?

    What happened after it all broke loose is a secondary issue.

  • lj

    IMO I'd say there are no suspensions warranted here. I wouldn't even call what happened 'Fights', as opposed to some rough stuff after the whistle. After the league recinded Walker's automatic one game suspension for his hit on Ward, there is no way these guys will face a suspension. And I think that's the right call. Game 7 will be better with all the stars in it.

    I agree there is a two-tiered system, but in this case it benefits the fans as it'll be a better game with the two Anaheim thugs in it. My hope is that Detroit will exact their revenge on the score board as they so often do.

  • lj

    Sorry JW but I think your off the mark on why they will not be suspended.

    First off the rule was made to limit the boogeymen of the league from throwing down in the last 5 minutes. Ala Senators Sabres two years ago. I know Getzlaf and Perry are gritty but not even close to heavies.

    Second, it is not because of star treatment that they will not be suspended but because Colin Campbell has painted himself in the corner.

    Without a doubt, Scott Walker should have been suspended and he is no way a star that recieved preferential treatment. It was in the last minutes of the game, he got a 2, a five, and a game misconduct. Also, he is much easier to paint the goon brush with then your attempt at Getzlaf and Perry. However, Colin Campbell knows this is an entertainment business and the fans love those heated dustups at the end of the game between two players, not goons, but players.

    Getzlaf and Perry will not be suspended, not because they are stars, but because precedant has been set and Colin Campbell would look like a fool suspending those two and not Walker.

  • lj

    Clearly still a lot of Duck haters amongst Oiler fans. What about Hossa grabbing Niedermeyer from behind while he was engaged with Datsyuk? 3rd man in? 10th man in? I saw it a bit different than you Willis. I thought Detroit was trying to show that they wouldn't back down or be pushed around and that they couldn't be scared by the big bad Ducks.
    ~I'm sure everyone would be saying the same thing about Getzlaf & Perry if they were wearing the Oil drop and the exact same thing happened. Right?~

    Anyone here who wouldn't trade Hemsky straight up for Perry or Getzlaf is sadly mistaken.

  • lj

    My thinking exactly Jonathon, nice work.

    It's beyond me how Getzlaf starts the whole thing then escapes with a measely 2 minute roughing penalty (to go with a rediculous 2 minute hooking penalty).

    The Ducks knew exactly what they were doing and although I take little exception to it as a hockey fan, based on the image the new NHL is trying to project it will look silly when they don't discipline the Ducks for their actions.

  • lj

    you know what pissed me off is TSN reporting that Ryan Malone only has 17 million left on his contract when he clearly has over 25 million left on his original 7 year deal.

  • lj

    I was watching that dust up and all I could think was how much salary was being tossed around in the form of elbows, straight arms and flying knuckles. Lots of skill in that there scrum.

  • lj

    I would love to see the Ducks get a handfull of suspensions for this, but I dont think they can do it. They have been consistently inconsistent and to enforce the rules NOW would just not make any sense.

    I would love to see a whole new regime in the NHL from Bettman and Daly to Colin Campbell. Redefine the expectations and be crystal clear as to what constitutes a suspension and make it apply to everyone. I prefer tough hockey with lots of fighting and violent hits. It just doesnt make sense that in this era of hockey the so-called tough guys arent allowed to be tough but the Stars are given carte-blanche.