Though these fine fellows deserve a commendation for their Terrence and Philip costumes, they definitely qualify as a group of odds and sods.
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

This is a guest post by Patrick Johnston.

Odds and Sods is a feature where Patrick Johnston shares some thoughts on a past Canucks game. Here he takes a look at Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

1. Refereeing. Are you guys really telling me that two of the best teams in the NHL, who each averaged 11 and a half PIM per game in the regular season, all of a sudden became undisciplined buffoons? Further, In a playoffs where the referees have noticeably ‘put the whistles away’ (just look at what Weber/Suter got away with vs the Sedins for example) –  calls are all of a sudden happening all over the ice? And what about the front of the net? Everyone’s fair game there, but now apparently you can’t hit anyone behind the net? Canucks needed to be smarter, no doubt, but shouldn’t we expect a little more common sense from the officiating?

2. Jamie McGinn’s post game comments got me thinking. Asked to comment on his major penalty for Boarding, McGinn said ‘I’m a guy who finishes his check. I didn’t want to hurt the guy.’ Which is totally reasonable to accept as an explanation. That is, until you go a bit deeper. Look at the check. McGinn comes at Rome from an angle where I think it’s safe to say that Rome doesn’t know McGinn is there. The point of contact was on the trailing edge of his shoulder, not quite on the back, and not really in the numbers. A check from behind it was not. A boarding call? It definitely was that.

If players of McGinn’s ilk are being taught that such a hit is ‘simply finishing your check’, then we have a serious problem. Boarding is a penalty that is meant to cover any hit near the boards which is callous, it is intended to force some notion of responsibility upon the hitter for his opponent’s safety. We value hits, especially big hits, but somehow it’s been lost what a truly big hit on the boards involves. Finishing your check because you have an opening to throw a legal check is one thing, ‘finishing your check’ because there’s a body available for you to hit is a whole other thing. McGinn did the latter, and now Aaron Rome is out.

Ben Eager pretty much did the same thing last game, and yet only received 2 minutes for it. With conflicting messages like this, it’s no wonder the Jamie McGinns of the world are left to think that finishing your check means just rub the guy out, no matter the context. Have a look-see of Kerry Fraser’s assessment from afar of the Eager hit to get a clearer picture of the specific understanding of the rule. More needs to be said about this; since the emphasis shifted to blindside hits, there has been less and less talk about both hits from behind and dangerous hits near the boards, and that’s to the game’s detriment.

3. Glenn Healy – man, oh man. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but in Glenn’s case, I have to carry on. Like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, I just can’t let it lie.

If you like Glenn Healy, I’d say stop reading here. 

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. I know you like your job, I know you are paid to take positions, but could you please do us all a favour and just go away. I can’t decide if I find you as irritating as Greg Millen (note: neither Millen nor Healy even approach the pompous asshole levels of Ol’ Pierre Mcguire). Why do you persist in babbling about Luongo’s positioning? This was a story from last fall which details the changes he made to his game. Read it, you’ll find it interesting.

Glenn, it’s time to get with the times. This is 2011. You learned to play goal in the 1970s and 80s. Whoever taught you to play goal learned to play goal sometime between 1950 and 1960. Have you spent any time watching video from the 70s or 80s? Because Goaltending in that era was a horror-show.

Glenn, I believe in you, I really do. But seriously, do some preparation, and talk to someone please. Don’t just rant on and on about what you think he should be doing – go out and find out why he’s doing the opposite.

Patrick Johnston lives in Vancouver, bleeds Canucks blue and green (or is it yellow and red..or salmon…or…), and is pretty sure his 14 year old self could’ve done a better job than Rick Ley. You can follow him on twitter at twitter.com/risingaction

  • John Chambers

    Thank you for finally pointing out the whole “finishing the check” thing. Every goon uses that as an excuse to get away with vicious hits on guys that have no chance to defend themselves. Its starting to filter through to the juniors and to my little brother’s hockey league downtown.

    The only real way to get rid of these kinds of hits is to get some consistency out of Colin Campbell. We see these hits almost every week, and you would think that all this info coming out about concussions would force the issue yet sadly Hockey Operations continue to mystify hockey fans everywhere.

  • It’s interesting you raise Colin Campbell as an issue. I think it goes bigger than that. 20 years ago, when the CHA started to take checking from behind seriously, there was little participation from the NHL. Referees in minor hockey were told by the CHA to be mericless in making the call, and they were. As a result, checking from behind was practically eliminated from minor hockey. As momentum developed in youth hockey to eliminate the act, the NHL finally got on board and added checking from behind to the rulebook. When was the last time you heard it called in the NHL, though? Kerry Fraser said he would have made that call on Ben Eager, but other than that, I can’t remember the last time it was even mentioned. Instead the NHL hides behind the catch-all boarding call, a penalty which really is no different from any other and certainly carries no broad deterent. If players are going to be held accountable, a renewed emphasis from the CHA and the CHL AND the NHL is the only way to truly eliminate borderline hits.