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Photo Credit: Hockey Night In Canada/CBC

Matheson/Pettersson Hit Reveals the Futility of Overpaying for Grit

By now, we’ve all seen the play by Mike Matheson on Elias Pettersson. It was definitely ugly, likely  injurious, and arguably suspendable.

One thing it wasn’t? Preventable. At least, not by any of the players on the ice, other than Matheson.

If the league wants to protect it’s star players and prevent plays like this from happening in the future, they may decide to dole out supplemental discipline. Retribution and deterrence are the job of the Player Safety department, not the players themselves. Travis Green was correct in his assessment after the game:

“You gotta keep composure. It’s a 3-2 hockey game, there’s 12 minutes left. You’re talking about a guy that has 1 fight in his career. I don’t think he’s known as a dirty player. You’re in a hockey game, you don’t start chasing people around the rink. It’s not the way it is.”

Still, that may be a bitter pill for fans of this team to swallow given how much emphasis this team has placed on things like grit and toughness, often at the expense of other more important elements of the game.

The rationale behind so many of the decisions made over the past year, from the free agency signings to the Gudbranson extension, was that Elias Pettersson needed to be surrounded by players who could insulate him, protect him, and teach him how to be an NHLer. So far, over his brief career, he’s already proven he has much more to teach most of this roster about being a pro than they have to teach him. For all the talk of needing insulation, he’s been the team’s most consistent player, most dedicated backchecker, and among their best forwards defensively. The only thing he hasn’t been is immune to the type of unfortunate (or malicious, depending on who you ask) play we saw last night; and astonishingly, icing a couple of players who are ostensibly willing to get their hands dirty did nothing to prevent.

Some people are going to take away the wrong lesson from what happened. They’ll say the team is too soft, that it needs to get tougher. The truth is, the team has spent far too much time and money chasing players who could dish out hits and throw hands, all in service of finishing with the league’s worst record over the past three seasons. What the lesson should be is that any attempt to protect your star players from injury outside of increased investment in the sports science department is futile.

The argument in favour of icing an enforcer is an inherently reactionary one. Your designated knuckle-chucker fights an opposing player after a questionable hit so he’ll think twice before doing so next time; but the hit has already occurred, there’s no preventing it. Sometimes your best players are going to get hurt. Sometimes they’ll even get hurt because of a dirty play. There’s no avoiding that reality. What you can do is invest in players who are capable of stepping into an offensive role in the absence of that player. The Canucks have made no such investments.

Instead, they’ve invested in players who were supposed to keep this from happening, or at the very least answer the bell when it did. Those players failed to deliver. That would be fine if the organization had decided it was above those type of extracurricular activities, but their actions have indicated for years now that that isn’t the case.

So that leaves just one question: If the so-called “tough” players on this roster aren’t being paid to prevent this from happening, and aren’t being paid to respond when it does, what are they being paid to do?

  • Yes, exactly right. I’m not interested in revenge. I’m interested in the team having so much talent that trying to punish one of our players is pointless & counter-productive for the opposition.

    This awful sequence last night underscores how backward and utterly confused and confusing is this management team. I have some time for their drafting, but re-signing Guddy the Mimbo was a bad idea at the time, and their only justification for signing such a woefully poor defenseman was preventing or responding to incidents like this. That was a bad reason then, and now it just looks tragically laughable now.

    The only good that could come out of it, and I’d be shocked if it did, is if Jimbo came to see that the Mimbo has no purpose on this team and he becomes the next vet to go.

    • 3-2 with 12 minutes left if you are the Nuk’s you don’t have to be calm because you are not making the playoffs no way no how. Guddy should have taken care of business because he sure can’t play defence.

  • The Canucks best player gets injured and all you and your troll buddies can do is pat yourself on the back. The issue should be with the ref who didn’t call the blatant attempt to injure and with the league that doesn’t protect it’s star players. The outrage should be directed at the player who stuck his stick between Pettersson’s legs to take his feet out before blatantly body slamming him down. You and your troll buddies are a bunch of self-loathing fools who would rather take this oppurtunity to point out you were right than to show any concern for Pettersson or question why the NHL continues to allow this type of garbage to happen on the ice. Pathetic article from a pathetic writer on a pathetic site.

  • JaCKson you’re just so dead wrong about your Star players are just going to get injured sometimes, so there is no point in responding. If we have an immediate response every time Boeser Ep Are targeted this acts as a deterrent with some players. Maybe he gets hit still but without the body slam. Hockey would be to easy if we just kept injuring all the stars in the league with dirty hits, if you Jackson were the top rookie in the league at 170 lbs you would want your team to back you in these situations…..really an embarrassing situation for our organization/ and signing grit and insulating players is a good thing, it sounds like the players took Greens importance of 2 points over doing the right thing for EP

    • No it doesn’t. Rats never care who’s on the ice with them. It never prevents cheap shots. Ever. Your logic is totally flawed. An “immediate response” would have simply been that. One of our guys fighting one of their guys and everyone else being to stupid to care about any of it.

      It’s simple. Hockey players are classless athletes that don’t give a f… about each other. Nothing will change unless you take away their careers and money. That’s it. Nothing else will work. Go ask Paul Kariya, and Cam Neely. Both of whom played in the “response” era (among hundreds of others who took cheap shots) and those responses never kept anyone else safe. The 60’s 70’s 80’s and 90’s when brains were being scrambled and morons like Don Cherry would cheer on the “response” idiots who would just end up scrambling more brains with their fists until the next game when the next idiot did a cheap shot, and then the “response” which didn’t do anything and so on and so on…

      You’re just completely wrong about this and the history of injury and the constant number of players who keep committing these acts is the proof.

      • I don’t always agree with you, but 100% here. The way to eliminate this kind of play is not to send your goon out to bash their goon. The solution is 20+ game suspensions for actions like this. He’s going to get 5 max. “NHL department of player safety” is an oxymoron…

  • What a bunch of drivel! Your words are as soft as this embarrassing team. That fact is they never stuck up for their star. It shows that the players on the ice don’t care about their fellow player, about the future of the team or the fans that actually had something to cheer for. I guess they didn’t enjoy young Elias stealing all the limelight. I hope they lose every game Elias misses. I hope the media has the balls to call out the GM, the coach, and the entire team. Obviously this writer doesn’t. You can guarantee all the other players in the NHL will see this and think, “ what a pathetic bunch of teammates!”

    • This is a delusional post. If you think they didn’t retaliate because they are jealous of Petterson then I don’t think you’ve ever spent any time in a locker room.

        • Sure it exists Bud, but I don’t think anyone is so jealous of Petterson that they would want him concussed and off the team. Without him they’d probably be 1-5 or 0-5. You guys sound demented if you believe that type of vindictive behavior is controlling the actions of the entire team. The hit happened away from the play in a tie game. Matheson wasn’t on the ice much after it. I know lots of the trolls on here watch hockey, but I wonder how many have played it beyond video games.

  • Still, that may be a bitter pill for fans of this team to swallow given how much emphasis this team has placed on things like grit and toughness, often at the expense of other more important elements of the game.<

    Toughness has a number of meanings. There’s “enforcer”, but also the player who throws body checks, doesn’t mind going in the corners or setting up camp in front of the opponents’ net, and gives every shift his utmost. McDonald should define his terms a little better.

    In regards to enforcers, the Canucks have not emphasized this to any appreciable extent. There’s Roussel and before him Dorsett, and … well that’s about it in recent years. But even these two players are/were competent on the ice. You might make the case that Gudbranson should be included, but when the Canucks traded for him, Gudbranson was no longer the firebrand that he was in 2013. He rarely fights anymore.

  • Toughness is not about reactions you are eluding to above. Toughness is about making it hard for other teams to be in front of our net or Make them second guess going into a corner board battle or need to look over their shoulder before dishing to the slot. That is what hockey minds are talking about when they say toughness. To be hard to play against, not to have goons chasing people around that hit our players. It is ridiculous that you are using this sad event to push a point that is not even on base. We need to be tough to play against. We don’t need goons chasing people around.

    • *we have seen Greens Colors the lack of response was the Coaches direction to the team. If he said take care of business the team would have obviously pushed back. This is solely on the Coach and what type of team he wants to have.

      • I firmly disagree. Your response only applies to the rest of the game after the play. Where were the other 4 Canucks THE SECOND the play was whistled down? NOWHERE to be found. Seeing their teammate down on the ice and seriously struggling to get up made absolutely no difference to the 4 of them. That’s what pisses me off. I don’t give a crap what their names were and what type of player they are and how much propensity (or lack thereof) they have for getting their hands dirty….you see your teammate get slammed, you get the that guys face at the VERY least and show some damn emotion. This team has ZERO heart and has no “team spirit” whatsover.

        • Agree. Reminds me of the time Ryan Miller had to step in and stick up for Troy Stecher against Matt Martin because no one else would. The more things change…

          • that is revisionist history at its finest. The play was already up the ice, Martin jumped Stecher, and he was the closest to the play (everyone else was two zones away). Are you suggesting players leave the bench when Pettersson gets hit?

        • It happened away from the play. The team was focused on where the puck was going. Garrett alerted the viewer well after the puck and camera had moved out of the zone. Do you know if any of his teamates saw the play happen? The two turds are Matheson and the ref for missing the obvious roughing/interference call.

  • There was nothing wrong with the initial check by Matheson, it was legal – it was the illegal WWE type throwdown after that crossed the line and that’s where the on ice policing comes in.

    This should’ve been when the TEAM stepped up and sent a message on the ice – you know like Bieksa, Burrows, Kesler, Lappy, Weise and Rome et al used to during the Gillis glory days. It’s not about ‘goons’ these days fellas, it’s about having tough guys who can both play and protect their star players and send a clear message to the rest of the league. The lack of pushback was a DISGRACE. Do I need to remind you that Boston won a cup playing this way.

    On a side note Petterssen needs to man up in the gym after this. He is a boy playing in a man’s league and you all KNEW it. I called this two days ago when the pom pom wavers were crowing about Calders and a hunded point season for EP… wipe that egg off your faces boys, it’s starting to scramble…

      • Another sad-o totally obsessed with my astute hockey mind i see. Last i checked Cody Glass (6 2, 190) was coming off a 102 point season in 64 games and has 17 points in 6 this term being nurtured ny Vegas the Right way… meanwhile Petterssen is getting rag dolled and is out indefinitly because Aquilini wants to sell tickets and keep mugs like you onboard at the kids expense…. WAKE UP!

        • Pqw/Chuck-ey,
          You are so wrong. Yes he’s a slender player, but that doesn’t mean he’s not ready for the NHL. Perhaps Kane, Point and Gaudreau should pack in it because they’re so small? This is SO anticipated thinking.

  • If Mathieson doesn’t get a ten game suspension for his crap move then the Canucks should boycott every game until the league acts. For years people have gone on strike over unsafe working conditions and why should this be any different? This wasn’t a clean hit gone bad it was a wilful act to injure. And if the department of assclowns refuses to protect players from assault then forfeit games and let the league figure out what do about it.

    Justice would be a suspension for the rest of the season for Matheson. Realistic would be ten games. Anything less is a joke.

    The non-response to the garbage from Matheson was likely the faint hope that it would force the league to act. I doubt it will in any capacity.

    If Benning believes he built acteam that is tough to play against or protects his young players, well he has just been proven a liar and more benighted than I imagined.

    • The problem is, this is as much the NHLPA’s fault as it is the league. I’m usually with the players on almost every issue but player safety is one where they have never stuck together and never used their union to pressure the league to implement strong punishments for dirty hits. Players have no respect for each other and they’re all selfishly looking out for themselves.

  • Here`s the lesson Pettersson learned. He`s not allowed to do that anymore. No dekes, no walking around players, no making anybody look silly or foolish because that`s the price he must pay. He will have to rein it in and only use 75% of his talent because he will be physically attacked if he doesn`t.

  • “If the so-called “tough” players on this roster aren’t being paid to prevent this from happening, and aren’t being paid to respond when it does, what are they being paid to do?”

    Let me help you out with this one Jackson. They’re being paid to play a heavier more physical ‘game’ to compliment and create space for the less-heavy more-skilled players who are the vanguard for points. The Canucks record for assembling and deploying these players is debatable in the last several years, especially when factoring-in injuries and different coaches (Torts!, Willie D!, Green!, oh my!) but the three grit signings this summer also arrive with some speed and skill. These players are well-paid (over-paid?) precisely because they are way beyond the simplistic prototypical meathead knuckle-draggers used for retribution. Hmm… Roussel was a nuisance to the Panthers all night (in his first game of the season) and along with some not unexpected penalty minutes, managed to score a pretty sweet penalty shot goal playing a “tough” style of hockey. I think he was doing exactly what he’s being paid to do. Green seemed pleased. Hope that helps clarify things for you!

  • I think there’s a difference between expecting ‘grit’ and ‘toughness’ — Beagle and Schaller are gritty players who are tough to play against; Roussel and Gudbranson are actual fighters. I don’t know if the front office expected ‘enforcer’ protection but whether they or others did, as the post points out, there’s very little evidence that this deterrence nonsense actually works.

    What do people think happens? That Matheson — a reasonably skilled defenseman who has never been a big penalty guy or has any reputation for cheap shots — would in the midst of feeling frustrated and embarrassed stop short and say “oh wait, if I was to vent my frustration on this rookie Gudbrandson will break my face like he did Hamonic’s”? Come on.

    You’ve got two classes of cheap shots in the league. You’ve got the serial offenders like Cooke, Torres, Marchand, Wilson, etc, who finally force the NHL’s hand. And then you’ve got guys who lose their cool and snap. Deterrence doesn’t seem to work with either, at least through ‘the code’ or in-game honor systems. If it did we wouldn’t see this happen each and every season as long as I’ve watched this game. Other things change — the speed of the game, the size of players, the equipment, even some of the other rules. But this doesn’t. And the rats of the game don’t go away because the NHL is too chicken**it to do anything about this. Matheson has a phone hearing with the NHL. 2 game suspension at best.

    • This is the most reasoned comment of the bunch. Events would have been different if it had happened at a different time in the game. How many shifts did Matheson get after the “body slam”? I will re-watch the game, however I think it was two. He did not see the ice after the Horvat goal.

      What shoudl the Canucks have done? They played a really good hockey game against playoff competition. Do you want an elbow to the jaw of Trochek? Is that what fans are advocating?

      If Green said do nothing, then so be it. Players are professionals.

      • I rewatched the third period. On the ice when the hit/body slam occurred were Goldobin and Eriksson, with Pouliot and Stecher on defence. the play was moving up ice, not sure who saw the play behind the net, as the initial hit was not bad, but the throwdown was brutal.

        The Fox Sports feed replays stopped immediately prior to the body slam; the producers knew it was bad.

        Matheson next shift was Horvat’s goal, and I counted two more shifts for Matheson, both against the Horvat line, approx 1:30 of icetime.

      • |That`s exactly what I want; escalation. They take out our best player so we take out their best player and somewhere in there head office says; oh oh we better do something before they really start head hunting, like the Moore cheap shot on Naslund lead to the mugging by Bertuzzi because the head office sat back and hoped it would go away.

          • Unfortunately that’s how deterrence actually works, you immediately escalate any negative action tenfold. And by going ballistic you also force the league to act, because they won’t want to see those highlights on national tv.

          • Liqueur, no that is how deterrence is SUPPOSED to work. It doesn’t in practice. Unless you think Tortorella storming the Flames dressing room or throwing poor Kellan Lain out against their goons somehow led to a safer work environment for the Canucks skill players.

      • DJ_44 you are absolutely correct. I have been on this site for a couple of years and read most posts. There are some good, logical and rational commentators on here. Some who are simply “trolls” – PQW falls into this category.

        All that being said, whenever The Real PB posts a comment it is well written, thought out, logical and simply makes sense. He/she IMO, is the best commentator on this site.

    • the league has never tried deterrence. That’s the point. They never consider giving real suspensions for stuff like this. The few guys who have received career threatening suspensions and fines did clean up their acts fairly well after the largest of them. Rare as it was. So I have to disagree. Those did prove, on a small sample size, that deterrence does work far far better than the “code”.

      The NHL and the PA just need the balls to apply it in a case like this. Mandatory minimum punishments of 10 to 20 games for first time offenses, regardless of intent and injury.

  • This was hockey at its worst!
    I remember in 98 Paul Karyia getting crossed checked in the face and no one on the Ducks doing anything, but they won the game. Karyia spent months in a dark room and missed the Olympics. But at least they got the 2pts.
    Travis says retribution doesn’t matter
    NHL to hold disciplinary hearing. Maybe a couple of games?
    Travis Harmonic was given a standing O in the Flames locker room for being a leader and standing up for a young teammate. The Canucks bench looked like they could careless. In a fast game, where big men carry sticks, someone will get hurt if the only consequence for cheap shots get a couple of days off. “4th line guy. Take out Player X” get 4 days off

    • Do you think what Harmonic did is going to cause any other player who might give Gaudreau a shot (say…like a Marchand) , to rethink that action?

      You and I both know the answer to that. What Hamonic did is totally meaningless and will prevent nothing from happening to any of the flames small stars in the future. Yay…they bonded in the locker room for 20 minutes. Then went home and nobody cares.

      And it’s not “get four days off”. For Matheson it’s “lose 237 805 dollars of your pay”. And in an NHL with real punishment, that hit would generate a minimum 10 game suspension for a first time offense. That’d be 600 grand for him.

      Pretty sure that’s far more effective for making him and his teammates think twice about doing something like that.

      • Obviously I’m not as smart as you so I will make it short. A disciplinary call is less than 5 games. Probably 2. So if EP is out for a long term with a head injury, that is fine with you, because this guy lost some dough. These guys don’t look at money the same way normal people did. You really think a former first round pick is squeezing over 2-4 days pay. Please!!!
        The rookie embarrassed him, he went after him vilolently and not one Canuck even jawed at him. Also, Harmonic gained a hell of a lot more than 20 mins respect.

        I wonder as far as Travis goes. He said Matheson only had one fight in his career, was that what he was thinking when the Franchise player was wobbling off the ice? If it was Marchand things would have been different. You don’t have to chase a guy around the ice all night ala Tuz, but making a point your team won’t stand for that BS is needed or welcome to Brock being next… again!

        • Obviously.

          Yes, it’s a phone hearing but you didn’t know that when you made your first post so you were speculating. And you’re still speculating by concluding it’s only going to be 2 games. Knowing the league and how garbage they are you could be right but that is not the point I was trying to make.

          Then you make a strawman assuming that a 2 game suspension would be “fine with me” when I clearly stated in my post that the only way to make a difference is with heavy fines that cost players a 1/4 of their yearly income. Not sure how you missed that because it was right there. Clearly written. Proving yourself correct on your first sentence I guess. You really think a player wouldn’t be upset at losing 1/4 of their yearly salary for one stupid move like he did?

          Really…who respects Hamonic now? Some Flames players? OK. How does that help Johnny hockey the next game he plays when some Matheson gets beat by him? Funny how you just ignored that part of my argument cause you don’t have a logical response for it. You know that what Hamonic did doesn’t make one little bit of difference to the risk of a Flames player being hit with a cheap shot.

          As to your last point, it’s just more of the same. Speculation with no proof to back it up. No response from the canucks would make any player any where play any differently against Brock or Goldy or any of them. It’s just the most stupid f…king logic with no basis in any reality. Goons and responses have never prevented any cheap shots. Ever.

    • I agree, but he would probably feel good if they had at least shown some discontent or said something on his behalf. I don’t think headhunting is ok, nor do I want to see some obligatory hug fest after the whistle, but the Sedins are gone now, and this team is on track to finding itself again. Standing up and taking care of each other is part of that, but I feel like we fanned on that shot. Its not about killing someone in return, its the gesture of saying “we won’t stand for that” or “we’re not gonna take it!” for those twisted sister fans. Hockey is rough, I actually don’t think the hit was that bad, but he did hit the ice bad. Matheson did cross a line out of frustration and desperation, he isn’t the devil. A good “team” should have at least made a point of calling him out on that in some way or other. I live in the fantasy that the people on the team are like a band of brothers, and you stick up for brothers.

  • Lot of fake news angst here, but no one is even mentioning what kind of injury EP has suffered.

    My take, initial clean hit but vindictive afters that shuld’ve seen Green sending out Guddy and Shaller to level the playing surface. Now the Canucks are without their young star player for who knows and will have targets on their backs for the foreseeable because they are soft. Not good.

  • You’re “blog” (I don’t want to call it an article cause seriously an article is at least twice as long) Jackson is strangely constructed. Your title and last couple paragraphs emphasize a focus on mistakes made by mgmt in purely acquiring “grit and toughness”, but you’re opening actually makes a big (and by no means true at all) assuption that payback/enforcers are what fans want. You assume the fans only wanted payback from an enforcer type player. What you’re not understanding (which is really weird cause its really so basic) is the concept of a ‘united team’. Anybody can assemble a group of guys to go out and play hockey to varying degrees, but a team only grows when the individual players care for one another to the point that they would stick up for one another and skate out of their comfort zone to defend a fallen teammate. For the second time this calendar year, the fans of this hockey team were subjected to seeing a group of hockey players (four of them at the very least) do absolutely nothing the second the play stopped. I believe this is what the fans are most incensed about.
    I don’t think anybody out there feels good about cheering for this team when all they see when the going gets tough are players that want no part of sticking up for one another. Sticking up for one another does not necessarily mean dropping the gloves at the drop of a hat, but can mean everything along the spectrum all the way to simply skating up to Matheson and getting in his face. When the fans see ZERO reaction, its just so very difficult to find the strength to continue supporting the rest of these players. Personally, I felt and still feel very disappointed in the team I have been cheering for since ’86.

    • BTW it was only 3 years ago (or maybe 2?) when a skinny little beanpole named Ryan Miller (a guy with about 1000x more “heart” than these current players) immediately jumped Kadri (I think?) to help his own small dman.

      Benning can go and buy all the “grit and toughness” he wants, but if the players don’t feel anything for their fellow teammates, then no matter how much skill your team possesses, you aren’t going anywhere come playoff time (I know I know…..that’s like 5 years away still), but without a “team first” mentality that is firmly bought into by the players, who really cares about the rest. Giant-Nation’s comments are bang on above.

  • Sigh, Jackson has clearly moved into the JD Burke realm of, ‘I watch games and write about them, I just have no idea how to process the information in front of me.’ As multiple people have pointed out, players like Schller & Beagle weren’t brought in to fight but you’d actually have to be capable of processing the information given to you. JM is clearly incapable.
    That said, this is one of the reasons I don’t like the way the league is run. In the old days, before the instigator rule, if you had the cajones to hit Gretzky or any star like that, the Oilers would have sent MCsorley to beat you. When you got out of the box Semenko woulda beat you, you got out again and Krushelniski woulda been next in line and they woulda kept beating you until you understood never to touch Gretzky again. This was how the players polcied the game. Fear is a wonderful deterrent if you can actually instil it. Today’s game has removed that fear.
    Now the league wants to police the game. Great, and their answer when a player like Petterssen is body slammed to the ice? The ref comes over and asks how you are. He was staring right at the play, no more than 15 feet away and the ref had no inclination to call a penalty. Thanks league, Great work.
    Now it’s 12 minutes left in a 1 goal game, how do you chase a guy to get revenge then. Of course in a couple of months, whenever these 2 teams meet again, a ceremenonial payback fight will occur that won’t matter at all.
    F*%k you NHL, if you want to police the game, then actually police it. To say you want to do it, then have the ref do nothing when these hits occur is what causes unnecessary & escalated retaliation. Stupid.

    • Never worked. Gretzky never got injured simply because that was the kind of player he was. Eyes in the back of his head and a wiry frame when he did get hit.

      What was Semenko’s effect on this hit?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkUSRp2LMcI

      Nothing. Nobody on the leafs cared about Semenko. Their playing the game and make their decisions in split seconds with no regard to who they’ll have to “deal with”.

      • on a hit. One hit. Not cheap shots. Grtetzky had a 20 year career. Of course he got hit and an occassionally cheap shot. Picking 1 or 2 plays out of a 20 year career is pretty mis-leading. Can you find 1 a year? Or 3 total? Seems like they did a pretty good job.

          • Well Wayne Gretzky disagrees with you so I’ll take his word. He liked enforcers so much he demanded McSorley be included in his trade. Now why would Wayne want an enforcer and not Kurri? Hmmm.

          • of course he does. He’s buddies with guys like that and likes them. So of course he’s going to defend them. Gretzky also says stupid sh….. like “Mario was the best goal scorer” when it was clearly him. He’s polite. Humble. Even 99 can buy in the the BS myths too.

            enforcers have never prevented a cheap shot. ever.

          • As someone who played in the 80’s and had more than my fair share of hooks to the balls as the leading scorer on my team, I can tell you from experience you are 100% wrong. 100%. I’m not guessing or conjecturing, I lived it and I know it.
            Gretzky wanted McSorley Why! Why! Why! Cause he knew the value of the protector. Not cause he listened to people, not to be nice but because they let him be him. Again, if you can explain Gretzky’s reasoning for demanding McSorley be in the deal beyond he was to dumb to no better I’ll listen but you can’t

  • Now just imagine you’re young Elias today. Every thing from yesterday is a blur. You have done everything possible to make yourself NHL ready. You eat right, you train right and study the game. You get to the Canucks give 100% and not only do you make the team. You’re arguably the best player on the team. So you keep giving 100%. Exceeding all expectations. Well today you look at the replay and see the dirty hit. Referee didn’t make a call on the dirty payback play. Hmmmm. Then you realize none of your teammates came to your side. None of them we’re there to help you up. None of them even stuck up for you. It kinda hurts because you have been giving 100%, everything you got, to this team. You’ve been helping guys improve their play. You’ve been helping them win games, because let’s face it, the first line is a league worst minus 7. Then the coach doesn’t want anyone to stick up for you because he wants the win. He shows that he doesn’t care about you. So eventually you’re back in the lineup. You look around the changing room and you think to yourself. None of these guys have my back. How do you even look them in the face? The coach doesn’t care about me, just wins. Obviously the referees don’t really care about my safety. So why am I even here? The truth is Elias needs to feel safe to play his best on the ice. He needs to know his teammates and coach have his back. It’s very apparent they don’t.

  • Last one (I promise): Personally speaking, I sincerely hope for the sake of this hockey team and organization that Benning walks into that locker room and absolutely BLASTS the entire room for failing miserably at showing any heart/emotion for what people saw last night. That was a pathetic display from the “team” and I hope none of them slept last night as the feeling of having failed their brother ate away at their individual souls thoughout the night.

  • In my opinion, the league makes rules to supposedly protect players but if it is not enforce then it is just words on paper and at the same time the league had also made it clear that any retaliatory actions will not be tolerated. With this kind of rules the onus should be more so on the league to prevent these kind of event(s) than on the team/player that will probably be punished for retaliating. The league enforcer (referee) failed once but they have a second chance to hopefully make a difference to reflect the mandate of player safety. I for one I am not confident that the league will do what is necessary because the leadership remains the same but hopefully this teaches EP something about playing in the NHL…………

  • Matheson should be suspended until Pettersson is ready to play again.

    If the injury is career ending, the suspension is indefinite. His salary during his suspension should be forfeited and a fund started to help players who lost their career due to injury.

    Impose MEANINGFUL suspensions and fines.

  • Travis Green did the right thing. You can’t just go “Torts” and run around knocking heads. Most guys didn’t see what happened, so to over react without knowing what happened is stupid. Composure was the right response.

    The ref needs to be disciplined.

  • Wasn’t it Miller that basically checked out when his team didn’t stand up for him? I don’t think EP is that type of guy but that’s a key part of the role. You need to protect your guys and deter dirty plays but even more important is having each others back as a team. It’s huge and you don’t want or expect goldobin or eriksson to handle that. Matheson should have many challenges next game until he accepts

    The play was dirty but I don’t think anyone expected that outcome. I think Matheson intended on dishing back a bit of embarrassment by throwing him to the ice. These aren’t judo experts, he probably didn’t think about a head injury like someone going in with an elbow up. We never see players concusseed this way.

    That said, the league should definitely look at this. They have to set a standard. Plays like this can be the equivalent of a viscous slew foot and Matheson full intended on throwing him to the ice in a very dangerous and dirty way (even if he didn’t know how dangerous it was)