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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Alex Biega, Free Agent Defensemen, and the Matheson Incident

It’s amazing what a difference Pettersson has made. He’s factored in on nearly half the goals the team has scored. That’s kept the Canucks from being terrible so far, but I’d hesitate to call any team that’s relied so much on a single player “good”. I’ll admit, they’ve had an easier time scoring goals than I thought they would, but they also boast the league’s second-worst corsi. I still feel confident with my original prediction that they’d finish somewhere between 25th and 29th.

I think there a lot of factors at play that help pad Biega’s underlying numbers. He seldom gets in the lineup, receives favourable matchups, and is often utilized as a forward. It’s tough to know for sure how much effect those factors have; but my instinct is that they probably explain why he looks so good compared to the team’s other defenders. Still, his analytical profile is enough to convince me he probably deserves to be in the Canucks top six on most nights.

For some reason, playing a game for children at a high level is one of the highest-paying jobs in our society. Grown men are handed out contracts that equal the GDP of a small country to chase a rubber disc around a sheet of ice. Analyzing and expediting the process creates thousands of jobs. If you really deconstruct it, professional sports are built upon a foundation of stupidity. That’s why they’re fun. Ever read a book or watch a documentary? Of course not. That stuff is lame and boring. No one has read a book since the early ’90s. Why are you even reading this?

I believe the NHL should adopt the IIHF’s rules regarding checks to the head, which are more specific and go further than the NHL’s:

RULE 124 – CHECKING TO THE HEAD OR NECK
DEFINITION: There is no such thing as a clean check to the head.
A player who directs a hit of any sort, with any part of his body or
equipment, to the head or neck of an opposing player or drives or forces
the head of an opposing player into the protective glass or boards. This
rule supersedes all similar actions regarding hits to the head and neck
except those related to fighting.
i. A player who directs a hit to the head or neck of an opponent will be
assessed a minor and misconduct penalty.
ii. A player who directs a hit to the head or neck of an opponent may
also be assessed either a major and automatic game-misconduct
penalty or a match penalty.
iii. A penalty for checking to the head or neck will be assessed if one of
the following occurs when a player checks an opponent:
1. The player directs a hit with any part of his body or equipment to
the head or neck of an opponent;
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2. The player drives or forces the head of an opponent into the
protective glass or boards by using any part of his upper body;
3. The player extends and directs any part of his upper body to
make contact with the head or neck of an opponent;
4. The player extends his body upward or outward in order to reach
his opponent or uses any part of the upper body to make contact
with an opponent’s head or neck;
5. The player jumps (leaves his skates) to deliver a blow to the head
or neck of an opponent.
iv. If a skater skates with his head up, is in possession of the puck, and
is expecting a bodycheck, an opponent does not have the right to hit
him in the head or neck.
v. If the primary force of a blow is initially to the body area and then
contact slides up to the head or neck area, a penalty for checking to
the head or neck will not be assessed.
vi. A skater who delivers a bodycheck to an opponent who is skating
with the puck with his head down in the direction of the skater,
and does not use an upward motion or drive his body up into the
opponent, will not be penalized for checking to the head or neck.
vii. If a skater maintains his position in the normal course of game action
as an opponent runs into him, the ensuing contact will not be
considered checking to the head or neck unless conditions in Rules
124-iii or 124-iv are violated.

Something that the NHL gets wrong is that intent matters. When it comes to head injuries, I don’t think it does. If a player makes an opponent’s head the primary point of contact, that player should be ejected from the game and face a possible suspension. This should also apply to any interference play that targets the head, like what we saw between Matheson and Pettersson. The stricter rules have worked pretty well in international hockey, I don’t see why they can’t work in the NHL.

I would be open to broadening the definition of a check to the head to include any hit that effects the head, but it would be heavily dependent on the definition of “effecting the head”.

I don’t think Adam Gaudette would have been called up to sit in the press box, so my guess is he’ll draw in tomorrow. I’m sure Leipsic will get another chance soon either way. Travis Green’s already shown he’s willing to scratch veterans if they deserve it.

Hockey’s already fused with boxing so I don’t see why not.

After the team’s next loss. I’d imagine Travis Green will treat the sixth defenseman the way he’s treated the goaltending position and not mess with a winning lineup.

Assuming they all make it to free agency, I could see the Canucks making offers to basically all of the major players that will be on the market next year. I still think Tyler Myers makes the most sense, though. That being said, at thios stage I think it’s more likely they extend Alex Edler or make a trade than make a big play in free agency. Much like Pettersson was this season, Quinn Hughes will be the team’s most significant addition in 2019.

It stems from the fact that there’s no KHL/NHL transfer agreement. Kolstov is listed as a “defected” player, so the Canucks retain his NHL rights.

I’m a lot more concerned about the concussion than I am about anything else. I don’t think players stop trying because they’re scared no one will stick up for them anymore than I think players will stop laying the body because they’re scared someone will stick up for the player they hit. In fact, the problem with the play Matheson made, quite likely, was the absence of thought. If Matheson had been thinking, he probably doesn’t risk a penalty or a suspension just because Pettersson made him look silly.

  • truthseeker

    meh….the Caps had some of the worst corsi in the league last year, and corsi does not correlate to success in an NHL single season so it doesn’t matter. The issue is how bad it will be while he’s gone.

    I’d say hockey is stupid because of it’s inherent structure. Kid’s are taught to be overly competitive and that their opponents are the “enemy” in a way not found in the other major sports. As they grow up and get closer to the NHL the vast majority of those higher level players get a really terrible “education” and are subjected to group think mentality that leads them to not question any of the sport’s mythology. By the time they’ve hit the NHL they are fully indoctrinated into the “system” of the NHL and don’t really care about anything but themselves. They have virtually no respect for each other on the ice.

    That would be a good start, but again…it’s only the punishment that will make a difference and clean the game up. Mandatory set in stone punishments. 1st offense minimum 10 and up to 20 games. 2nd offense, doubles the punishment. 20 to 40 games. Do it 3 times and you lose a season. Only when players start losing large portions of their life’s work. 1/4 or 1/2 of their yearly salary, (which is a huge chunk of their lifetime salary given mean averages of NHL careers) will they start to clean themselves up.

    • DJ_44

      By the time they’ve hit the NHL they are fully indoctrinated into the “system” of the NHL and don’t really care about anything but themselves. They have virtually no respect for each other on the ice.

      This is and ignorant statement, plain and simple. Players have huge amounts of respect for other players on and off the ice. In fact, at most levels and most sport, amateur and professional, players respect each other. There are idiots in society, but to paint the picture so skewed in just absent of any reality.

      • truthseeker

        no they don’t. NHL players are the most classless athletes of any of the pro sports. When’s the last time you ever saw an NHL player help an opponent up off the ice? How many of the panther players went over to check on Pettersson? MLB NBA NFL, it would have been normal to show concern and help your opponent up.

        Show me another sport that has so much after the whistle little cheap shot garbage that drags the f…king game on longer than it needs to be because they’re all so agro at each other they never learned in the first place to show respect and skate away when the whistle blows.

        Listen to the NHL mic’d ups and the way the players talk to one another. It’s disgusting. It wouldn’t happen in any other profession and it goes far beyond the “trash talk” of other sports, to straight out contempt and hatred for their opponents.

        And lastly just look at the NHLPA. A group that does absolutely nothing to pressure the league to levy heavy fines for hurting players or changing rules to protect players.

        This is the reality.

        NHL fans and announcers get all misty eyed when Lu and the Twins share a moment when they played against each other as if it’s some big deal that an opponent would do that. That sh…. happens every game in other sports, that it’s barely even mentioned because it’s just known that’s the way it should be. In hockey the handshake line at the end of the playoff game is the only time people around the NHL get to say “hey look how classy our athletes are! they’re shaking hands!” lol. It’s a joke.

        You’re just completely wrong. All you need to do is open your eyes to see hockey has a serious problem with sportsmanship. Watching the twins for 20 years should have opened your eyes to that, but apparently you weren’t paying attention to the way they were treated. They were quite possible the two players in the entire history of the NHL with the most class and look what that got them. Disrespect their entire careers.

        I look forward to you backing up your claims that hockey players have respect for each other by showing me some real on ice examples that outweigh the examples I’ve provided to prove my point. I wonder if you could even find me one single example of an NHL player helping an opponent? lol. Just one. Not that that would prove anything. Because I can find you thousands of examples when they don’t.

        • DJ_44

          Look, your statements are completely beyond the bounds of reality. They are TV- based. Watch a game live, and closely. Pay attention to the players. They talk to each other, to the officials. They apologize on the ice to one another for errant sticks or bad hits. It happens all the time. They compliment players for plays, for good saves.

          You must be confused because it is a contact sport. They do not help other player up? When would that occur? When injuries occur, the other team shows genuine concern. When a player gets hit with a puck near the head, you will see all players that saw the play raise their arms to bring the player to the refs attention.

          Perhaps you misunderstand how that respect is demonstrated. You do not appreciate that it is communicated in a stoic and subtle in nature. When the glove goes up to the mouth, they are talking to the other teams players.

          Finally, do not confuse trash talking and chirping as disrespect. Some players do it, and are really good at it. Most players on the ice, provided they even care, are often amused by it.

          The Sedin’s were two of the most respected players around the league. They were subject to hits, and rougher treatment because they were two of the best players in the league. The best players get more attention. It is not disrespectful.

          • truthseeker

            Give me a break. You think saying “good save” shows respect?

            Actions speak louder than BS. How they treat each other physically is far more important than the fact they occasionally say sorry for the odd errant stick.

            Look…the proof is in the fact that they think they need a code, because none of them trust the system of the NHL enough to be satisfied that accountability will held by the rules. Like every other sport does.

            You’re just living in a canadian mythical dream world spoon fed to you your entire life about how hockey players are these great sportsmen with class. It’s nonsense. No sport with any class would allow what hockey allows. Far more garbage goes on than the stuff you mentioned. Most of which are just meaningless words. You wouldn’t need to say “sorry” on the ice if you just took responsibility for your actions in the first place.

          • DJ_44

            The “code”, as you put it, is an agreed standard of conduct for the sport established by the players themselves. Or, by definition, it is what is considered sportsmanship. You defeat your entire argument in a single sentence.

            No sport with any class would allow what hockey allows.

            If the thought of contact sports offends you, and hockey in particular (and I believe this is a valid opinion), then so be it, do not watch the sport.

            But to claim there is not sportsmanship shown because you do not understand its is disingenuous to say the least.

          • liqueur des fenetres

            re: the code as an agreed standard of conduct
            Where is the code actually documented? It’s not. It gets passed along in a totally decentralized fashion by guys that interpret it as they go. It’s used to justify about as much stupidity as the Bible, but at least someone can read the Bible for themselves.

          • TD

            I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. First, no one helps anyone up off the ice, even their own teammates because it wouldn’t work and would make getting up off the ice harder. At the same time, truthseeker has a point about all the crap after the whistles. Being good shouldn’t mean getting a face wash or crosscheck after the whistle. You don’t see that in any other sport with much frequency. At the same time, there are lots of positive chatter and comments to each other, it’s only at heated moments when tempers flare. I liked that Gudbranson apologized to Dube for the late hit. He messed up his timing, but finished the hit as he would have otherwise been out of position and given up a scoring chance, but he apologized to Dube for it. Again, somewhere in the middle. As for the trash talk, maybe baseball doesn’t trash talk, but basketball and football are full of taunting and trash talk. Michael Jordan was one of the best trash talkers of all time.

      • Bud Poile

        Yeah,DJ.
        Run a 19 year old kids head from behind into the glass and then dump him on his head-all because you’ve been schooled by talent and Matheson is so f’n entitled he takes Petey out-targettng his head and brain- twice.
        Huge respect there,eh?
        Hockey’s ‘respect’ is based upon fear and Benning and Green are accountable for not protecting a teenager and the future of their club.
        His team mates should also be fully ashamed of themselves.
        I’d like to be in on the call where Jim and Travis explain to Mr. and Mrs. Pettersson why their son suffered a brain injury in the absence of adequate on ice protection.
        The team,coach and mgmt. can shove their two points.
        Epic ignorance.Epic failure.

        • DJ_44

          This comment boarders on moronic.

          It is professional hockey. Respect is not based on fear. This is dilusional.

          You grossly mischaracterize Matheson’s hit. The initial hit was fine; he did not run him. his head was not driven into the glass…it wasn’t late, the puck was there. He crossed the line when he drove him to the ice.

          Grow up. Realize how the sport is played at a professional level. his teammates have no reason to be ashamed. As for your claim of ignorance, you demonstrate it on a regular basis.

        • KCasey

          Kind of amazing how you guys are on a hockey board trashing the credability of class and sportsman ship while standing up for the other major sports.

          MLB: Bryce Harper (Bonafide Superstar) fights his own teamate in their dugout.
          Cant remember the pitchers name without a search, but he was the starting pitcher, arrived high on acid, and through a near no hitter, classes, maybe. Hilarious, absolutely.
          Pitchers throw 100mph pitches at players heads, the players code of conduct in their leauge dictates that you than go ahead and throw one at their players face….sounds familiar but I digress.
          Players get into a slump and they break bats over there knees or get back to the dug out and go ape sh*t on a cooler of gatorade.
          I could go on endless but theres other sports to cover.

          NBA: Gilbert Arenas (superstar at the time) brings a pistal into the locker with zero need or reason other than to be hard and cool in front of his boys.
          There are multiple bench clearing brawls annually despite there sport being next to zero hard contact, when hard contact does occur, whether accidentally or on purpose, players start swinging or throwing a top tier tantrums.
          Players publically throw there teamates and GM/team under the bus and demand trades. This happens in hockey as well but to a lesser extent. Still wrong but hardly unique to the sport.

          NFL: Antonio Brown (Elite reciever) is currently in a lawsuite for throwing his furniture as well as other objects out of his top floor appartment nearly striking a child playing pool side at the pool below.
          Players get in full on team fights over all sorts of misunderstandings sometimes as innocent as someone making a great player and ‘chirping’ the opposing player, player takes offense and swings….chaos insues.
          NFL is facing a class action lawsuite from players association for issues related to head injuries and they continually and historically brush it under the rug. A little familiar no? Does it make NHL excusable, no. Dont treat them like the big bad bully though cause they have an issues shared by all phyical high collision sports.

          I could get into soccor as well but I think the point is pretty clear. Proffessional athletes are still human and humans can make horrible mistakes and doing cringe worthy and/or embarrasing things. I do however find it rather ironic that some of you folks would broach the subject of class while you have spent endless days bombarding this board while being completely devoid of it.

          • truthseeker

            Harper was choked by Papelbon and Papelbon got a four game suspension for it.
            Pitchers are suspended for throwing at the heads of opponents. 5 games is common for it and that’s when they completely miss the player.
            Breaking a bat over your knee or hitting a cooler, while classless in it’s own right, is not taking it out on an opponent. They know when to draw the line.
            The analogy you’re looking for that fits with the EP situation is if a batter was struck out by a pitcher on an embarrassing breaking ball way out of the strike zone and then said batter were to attack the pitcher. Ever seen that happen in the history of baseball? yep…me neither.

            Arenas was suspended for the entire season after that incident. Pretty strong punishment if you ask me. That’s what a real league does. Plus he was tried and convicted criminally.
            And actually they don’t. First off, you’re obviously not a basketball fan if you don’t think there is physical contact, and second, with the number of elbows those guys take it’s a wonder there isn’t a fight on every single possession of the ball. Violence in Bball is very very rare.

            The NFL?
            Look at the punishment dished out to the Saints for just TALKING about intent to injure. It was crazy. They were heavily fined, they lost draft picks, their D coach was suspended for an entire season, their head coach was suspended for half a season, the main player involved lost a year of his salary and was suspended for the entire year, other players were given 8 game and 4 game suspensions. Calculate a 4 game suspension as a percentage of overall games in a year and compare that to the NHL. And that wasn’t even for any injury that was proven on an opponent! That was just TALKING about hurting other players. lol.

            Soccer is awful that’s for sure but that’s mostly the flopping and acting rather than targeting other players for injury or cheap shots.

            Sorry dude…but you haven’t proven anything. In fact…all those incidents you raised showed exactly how those sports deal with them in strong effective ways, which keeps the incidents to a minimum.

          • truthseeker

            Actually I like my baseball analogy to the EP situation so…

            Say in the NBA a player went up for a dunk over another player making them “look bad”. So the player on the receiving end of the dunk waits for the guy to release from the rim and then gives him a shove so he comes down on the court on his back. Ever see any type of play like that in the NBA? A player specifically put another player into an injury prone position that wasn’t an accident? I can’t recall a single incident like that.

            How about in football if a DB were to be beaten on a nifty deek move, but then they followed the receiver into the end zone and speared them while their back was turned? How many times does that happen in an NFL season?

            Yet in hockey there are actually people debating that what Matheson did was “just a hockey play”. lol. People blaming it on EP being to slight. Or people just accepting it as a regular part of everyday hockey. Doesn’t that tell you something? That what happened to him is basically seen throughout the league as normal? Or just “a little bit” bad?

            Interesting too how most of your examples were off play related things, and stuff that’s not related to the targeting of an opponent. Probably because examples of that are extremely rare in other sports. Not that they never happen, but that in hockey an EP incident just “goes with the territory”.

          • KCasey

            Sorry Truthseeker, I should have clarified that I was specifically speaking on the general class of players….or more reletively classness of some players around the leauge in response to the stigma seamingly being attached to only NHL players. I would agree that the NHL has dropped the ball many times on dishing out fines and suspensions but thats not what my post was about. If anything you actually provided my point with more material. The Saints injury bonus plot is a prime one. Did the league handle it well of course. Does that change the fact that the players and even worse, managment had cultivated an enviroment of systemic intent to injury. Other leauges handle issues better….they havent rid themselves of the issues non the less though. They hand out insanely stiff penalties and the players and in rare cases teams continue to do it. Almost flys in the face of the arguement that the NHL being harder on guys for this type of behavior would fix the problem but according to your own points presented….has not.

    • Rather than have mandatory punishments, a real deterrent would be to suspend for both regular season and playoff games. No player would dare violate the rules if they knew they’d hurt a team’s playoff chances or miss playoff games. Moreover, if the playoff games are transferrable over seasons since not all teams make the playoffs, no player would want to hurt their resigning or trade value by carrying that liability.

      • truthseeker

        For sure. I did mean that if they get to that “third strike” level and miss a season, or remainder of, then it would cost them the playoffs too.

        In a way what happened to Burt, should basically be the norm for anyone who’s a repeat offender. Burt’s suspension was actually pretty good punishment by the league. Still a bit weak though. It obviously cost Burt. It cost the team because that team was seriously on the verge of winning the cup that season. His act and loss on the ice punished the team for sure because no playoffs with him meant no shot at the cup.

        The only thing where I think they could have gone farther was letting Burt back into the league and having him give a portion of his salary for the rest of his career to Steve Moore. He lost his career. I don’t agree with the people who say Burt should have never been allowed back into the NHL. That doesn’t help Steve Moore. Nothing will change what happened so in my opinion the only compensation that really matters is money. Let Burt play and give half his salary each year to Moore. That would have been fair. Would have been a lot of money for Moore, and avoided that law suit afterwards.

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        This is a pretty decent idea, I think. Even to introduce it into the rule book as part of the arsenal would create a significant threat that players couldn’t ignore. “Player X will miss his next 2 playoff games, no matter when they occur” would be a huge and lasting black mark that both team and player would lament considerably more than missing a couple of games in October.

    • You keep making the same mistakes over and over and over. I’m not sure you understand what correlation means.

      Because something does not map perfectly 1:1 does not mean it doesn’t correlate. Team corsi is *highly* correlated with success – it’s more predictive of future success than shots or goal differential. Because a couple of teams each year make the playoffs with a negative corsi differential, and a couple of teams with strong possession numbers miss the playoffs, doesn’t mean it doesn’t correlate, or it’s not important.

      Go back and look at the possession numbers of teams that have won the Stanley Cup since these numbers started being tracked – heck, look at every team that’s appeared in the Stanley Cup finals. Most of them were top-5 puck possession teams. All but two – this year’s Caps and the 2008 Pens – were positive puck possession teams. You can succeed with poor even-strength play, but you need elite goaltending and dominant special teams to do it.

      This has been explained to you over and over by numerous different people and you continue to assert these things that are just flat *false*.

      That aside, I completely agree with you about changing the mentality of the game and enforcing much stronger minimum penalties. Your opponents are people, and they should be treated with respect. Play them hard, but don’t play them dirty, and if you do play them dirty, get suspended for a significant chunk of the season.

      • truthseeker

        I understand what correlation means. Where did I say a correlation has to be perfect?

        And no..you’re just plain wrong about that….plenty of bad corsi teams to extremely well in the playoffs and have for many years. As well as the regular season. There is no correlation linking success to possession.

        But by all means support your claims. Because you didn’t here. Map it out. Post the rankings of corsi by team and then compare that to the standings. Let’s see what number you come up with. Provide links to actual numbers and don’t just cherry pick the cup winners. Map out regular season standings and how they correlate to puck possession and all the teams in the playoffs and how they correlate to puck possession.

        What you did below doesn’t prove anything.

    • Some stats for you:
      2008 – Red Wings – 1st in corsi
      2009 – Penguins – 19th in corsi (Red Wings, their opponents, were first again)
      2010 – Chicago – 1st in corsi
      2011 – Boston – 14th in corsi (still over 50%, and Tim Thomas basically won them that cup)
      2012 – Los Angeles – 2nd in corsi (1st by a wide margin after they made some line-up changes mid-season)
      2013 – Chicago – 4nd in corsi
      2014 – Los Angeles – 1st in corsi
      2015 – Chicago – 1st in corsi
      2016 – Pittsburgh – 2nd in corsi
      2017 – Pittsburgh – 16th in corsi (still in the positive, though)
      2018 – Washington – 24th in corsi

      You can’t just take the single example since 2009 of a team winning with negative numbers and go SEE! SEE! CORSI DOESN’T MATTER! Being a dominant possession team is simply the best measure of future success we have. Again, the couple of blips – the Pens, the Caps, and the Bruins – are teams that won with average or slightly-below-average puck possession because of dominant goaltending and special teams. That’s 4 / 11 (and again, two of those four were above the water on possession. Only two were negative). The other 7 cup winners over the past 11 seasons were all *dominant* possession teams.

        • Canuck4Life20

          Are you for real? You can’t be. You have to be pulling off some kind of years-long parody of the arrogance of the writers for this site. Not once have I seen the idea of probability being brought into the discussion of the statistics on this site. Not once when it comes to corsi, fenwick, PGPS, zone entries, or any other statistic that we see paraded out as gospel on here.

          I defy you to educate all the ‘ignorant and unintelligent’ on here about how to calculate the probability of predicting a Stanley Cup winner based on corsi. It’s been 15 years since I took my one and only stats class so I’m not going to pretend to know how, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that it’s not 7/11=63%.

    • Hockey Fan

      Wtf is your deal? All you do is whine, insult and look down on others and the sport of hockey itself.. on a hockey blog. We get it, you hate hockey so why bother with it, move on. Please just move on and do something else.

      Where are the mods on here?

      • truthseeker

        Nope. If you don’t like my comments don’t read them.

        Don’t blame me if your illogical mind thinks that being critical of something means you hate it.

        Just because I’m not a blinded cheer-leading fanboy does’t mean I don’t love the game. The fact that you illogically equate criticism with hate just shows what type of person you must be. Just like those ignorant Americans who say “this is ‘merica! You don’t like it, you can get out!”.

        The fact you think a moderator should kick someone off the site for voicing opinions about the negative aspects of the NHL is, in my opinion, just about one of the most disgusting examples of straight out fascist thinking I’ve ever seen.

        So wtf is your deal?

  • Kanuckhotep

    For over 100 years the cultural behaviour of hockey has always been that of bellicosity, confrontation and brutality. HOF greats like Howe, Shore, Messier, Potvin, Stevens, Chelios, et al are not in the Hall and don’t have all those Stanley Cups because they were Mother Theresas out there. Let’s not be hypocritical here. When some baboon picked on a Canuck in the past how loudly did YOU cheer when Snepsts, Curt Fraser, Brashear, Gino or Daryl Stanley stepped in to pound these creeps’ heads in? I cheered very loudly. You can’t want Matheson’s head on a pike and then cry about how rough an inherently nasty game like hockey has always been. You can’t have it both ways. The pre-hominid behaviour is likely to never ever go away. It is unfortunately what it is.

    • Tedchinook

      Wow, Daryl Stanley! I’ve been following the Canucks since their Western Hockey League days and you completely got me with Daryl Stanley. Had to google him to see he played with the Canucks for a couple of years in the mid 80’s. But you missed the toughest Canuck of them all – Dave Richter

    • Settlebower

      But it doesn’t have to be. I cheered as much as you did, but the game has evolved in every other aspect. I’m not sure what you think, but I believe the game is much more exciting when speed and skills are at the forefront. In order for the game to grow and get better, the NHL needs to get tough and eliminate the stupid stuff. That includes suspending our guys if they do something stupid.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Player safety should be the predominant concern of any professional sport. The NHL, and ALL hockey associations from atom leagues on up, should adopt the IIHF’s rules immediately. And the hypocritical NHLPA should endorse these rules. If this happened, we would never be talking about incidents like the Pettersson hit ever again. 99% of hockey fans watch the game for the skill, not the violence. Anyone opposed is welcome to stop watching. Plenty of MMA on tv to satisfy their blood lust.

    • If we’re starting with kids, can we get rid of terrible hockey parents? I was stuck doing scoreboard for my nephews’ game once and the parent that was doing it with me actually screamed “YOU’RE USELESS!” when his kid flubbed a one-timer. He then went on to tell me about how he came from a hockey family, blah blah blah, and kept razzing his own kid from the scorebox. And these were 7-9 year olds. WTF? More common sense decency go hand-in-hand with stuff like player safety and good sportsmanship.

      • Hockey Fan

        While I agree that sometake it too far there is a lot at stake for hockey parents who dream of the riches and kudos of their kid growing up to play in the NHL.

        Hockey is a way of life in Canada and it is what it is – personally love the sport and always will. Plenty of other options in life for those that don’t.

    • Spiel

      Hockey Canada already has a head contact penalty that is very similar to the IIHF rule. The rule (as written) penalizes all head contact, even inadvertent or when contact to the head comes after other contact.

  • TheRealPB

    If we were really trying to deter these kinds of actions then the punishment has to be more than games or a beat-down. Those don’t really affect a player. If you look at the Panthers blogs most of the fans are talking about how terrible Matheson has been and that he needs to be sat anyway. $50k is not a lot for him to lose — but how about half a million? Or a million? To lose a quarter of his salary would surely be a far greater deterrent than anything else? That I think is the case with Wilson, as much as it’s the 20 games (or less), it’s the quarter of his newly signed $5 million salary that is at risk and THAT more than anything could/should change behavior.

    Truthseeker, I think you are being too harsh on hockey and not harsh enough on other sports where there is all kinds of trash talk and cheap shots — in every sport. There’s a bigger problem of a lack of respect by some players for others — who take serious chances with other peoples’ careers — and then a dumb code that does nothing to actually penalize those who engage in these kinds of actions. That code is dumb in all sports – baseball is arguably far stupider than hockey, and basketball too has its bad actors, football certainly. Are we really surprised by what happened to Pettersson or the lack of reaction to it? I don’t really hold the players on the ice responsible as it was unclear what happened (the dirty takedown); the responsibility should be on the ref who was right there (though maybe it was too fast to really see) and certainly on the league and NHLPA who do nothing to prevent this. The number of skill guys who have had their careers cut short because of this nonsense goes back decades. All the goons in the world don’t prevent it when players don’t respect one another.

    • The problem with the NHL is that they took away a player’s ability to even up and failed to follow-up with proper discipline. All of the goons can’t do anything because they’ll get an instigator penalty, get tossed from the game, and get a suspension if they try to engage. You can’t have a third man in either. If you throw the dirty hit, you *may* get suspended and usually for less time than the injured player is out. What are you deterring and encouraging?
      That’s not to say I want goon-exclusive fighting or stupid Bob Hartley line brawls (BTW he did it again this year in the KHL) but if you know you’ll get a beatdown for a dirty play, dirty players will learn “respect” quickly.

    • Big D, little d

      The primary motivator for people is affirmation or rejection by their peer group (you know, other than sex or food). If a player’s team mates pat him on the back and say, “Way to take one for the team,” suspensions and monetary losses will not be much of a disincentive. It’s important that the players themselves shake their heads and say, “Dude, that crossed the line.” That’s why Green’s comments are so important. To say, “Yeah I’m mad, but we don’t do that stuff anymore,” has far more effect on the future behaviour of players than anything else.

      Incidentally, that’s why DOPS has to be staffed by ex-players, preferably ones who were known to play with an edge. It reinforces that consequences are being implemented from within the peer group and not being externally imposed. Externally imposed punishment can be seen as a badge of honor and can paradoxically encourge the bad behaviour you are seeking to eliminate.

      • No no no, totally wrong. We need more non-hockey people in the NHL head office, not guys like Colin Campbell. For example, he was quoted as saying “I’m sorry to Boston, but someone should teach that young man something about keeping his head up.” when Cooke ended Marc Savard’s career with a headshot. How about when Mike Van Ryn was checked into the boards from behind and suffered a concussion, broken nose and hand but it was Van Ryn’s fault for being “soft”. Or how about calling anyone that criticized NHL “Player Safety” as “tree huggers” and “Greenpeace pukes”. Keeping ex-players in the control only perpetuates the old-school mentality. Self-regulation never works, never.

        • LiborPolasek

          In my opinion, how this and previous incidents had been handled is a reflection of the leadership in charge were they have a version of player safety… smh. The league wanted to regulate the game and punish any team/player(s) for retaliating but in my opinion they failed to once again to send a message that dirty plays will not be tolerated but I understand that the union also probably had an influence in these decisions. Frustrating and selfishly I was expecting another lost season in terms of standing but I was looking forward to watching the young kids play. The game is obviously reflecting the vision of the people currently in charge (both in the league & probably to a certain extent the union) and I am starting to watch less of it. Just my two cents….

  • Spiel

    At the grassroots (Hockey Canada and USA Hockey administered minor hockey) the penalty for head contact does exist and is enforced. The coming generations of players are learning the game with any contact to the head being a penalty. I agree that the NHL could have a similar rule where all head contact is a penalty. The current generation of players would need to adjust, but the next wave of players would already be familiar with it.

    • Spiel

      Further to the point about all head contact being penalized, the NHL already penalizes inadvertent/accidental high sticks with the reasoning that a player is responsible for his stick. Seems reasonable that players can be responsible for their the arm and hands and keeping them below the head height of their opponents.