Photo Credit: Tim and Sid/ Sportsnet

Fired up Nick Kypreos weighs in on Pettersson incident

Nick Kypreos is fired up.

After Panthers’ blueliner Mike Matheson injured young Vancouver phenom Elias Pettersson by throwing him to the ice Saturday evening in Florida, many people had an opinion on the play.

Matheson was ultimately handed a two-game suspension and Pettersson will miss at least 7-10 days with a suspected concussion.

The much smaller Pettersson was simply no match for the 6’2″, 193 lbs Matheson.

Pettersson’s weight on NHL.com is officially listed at 176 lbs, but that could be a tad on the high side.

A fired up Kypreos joined the Tim and Sid show to note that smaller and skilled players are becoming more common in today’s NHL. He feels the league needs to decide if they’re still trying to sell that hockey is a tough sport or if are there too many smaller players now in the NHL and that needs to be recognized.

“We need to decide if we’re leaning towards protecting these guys… or at some point we say, if you wanna play with the big boys, sometimes you’re gonna get hurt. I don’t know which one it is.”

It’s an interesting question raised by Kypreos, who also noted in the segment that top prospect Jack Hughes may not play in the NHL next season due to his size and this ongoing issue. He states there’s an internal debate going on right now and Hughes’ parents shouldn’t want their kid coming in at a low weight and getting thrown around.

Kypreos ultimately believes that the NHL can have both the physicality and the skill, but the league will need to continue making those tough decisions to keep things regulated — such as the one to suspend Matheson for two games.

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With the direction the NHL is heading in, we likely haven’t heard the end of this debate.

  • I don’t believe in having “tough guys” and “enforcers” policing the ice. It simply doesn’t protect players – we saw for decades the prevalence of headshots, concussions, and dirty play that has only started to decline when the NHL started enforcing rules against these things.

    But c’mon, NHL – if you want to put an end to vigilantism on the ice get that mentality out of the sport, you need to start enforcing *real* penalties for this garbage. Matheson’s hit was retaliation for being out-classed by a superior player, and it was clearly intended to hurt Pettersson. Two games is an insult. You want to send a message and protect your skilled forwards? Give him ten, or twenty, and tell him if he does it again he’ll be out half a season or more.

    Crosby stopped getting head-hunted not when the Pens loaded up on tough guys to police the ice, but when the NHL made it clear that the next player to head-shot him’s career would be over. They need to send the same message for all their skilled players – a clean hit is kosher, but attempting to remove players from the game with dirty play and dangerous hits should always be met with stiff penalties.

    • wojohowitz

      Matheson did not “clearly intended to hurt Pettersson”. It was frustration at his own inability to do his job which was to contain and neutralize Pettersson. I`

      • Killer Marmot

        If you do something intentional, like a full-on body slam, and any reasonable person would know that there’s a good chance of injury, that qualities as an intentional attempt to injury.

        • Giant-Nation

          I see Kyper’s point. This is a full contact sport that has been getting faster and lighter players with tons of skill are entering. This makes for some dangerous on ice situations. The comparison of the stud peewee player who wants to jump to full contact Bantam is a good one. The hit was dirty at the end but like mentioned when the post season comes around it becomes really hard to protect smaller players from the onslaught of even clean hits. I think the league will need to become less physically aggressive by referee policing, much like the WHL is a softer league than it was 6-8 years ago now these smaller skilled players are graduating to the pro level. People talk about Patrick Kane being able at 176 lbs is fine so should EP. I don’t agree at all. EP is lighter and 4 inches taller than Kane….he is really slight and doesn’t have the same low center of gravity. I have been so impressed w his ability to spin off hits, it’s quite impressive. But eventually he was going to be hit with a clean hard hit and some dirty ones to. The refs and NHL office will ultimately determine how players like Elias and Jack/Quin Hughes orca kid like Cole Caufield will fair in this league. If the league wants that skill I’m not sure it can be the same heavy game…really tough discussion.

          • Dwj

            Not a tough decision at all. Protect the skilled guys. I want to see jack Hughes and EP. That’s what the majority of hockey fans want. I’m pretty sure back in kyprios’ day a whole lot more fans went to the rink to see Gretzky and Lemieux not Kyprios and… Hmm some other meat head no one remembers.

      • LTFan

        wojo – IMO you need to have your eyes checked. Everyone who has seen this play, probably many times, in slow motion, etc. can clearly see that Matheson threw EP down as hard as he could. When a player’s head meets the ice with the force that EP’s head did, there is only one outcome – concussion. That is “intent” to injure.

      • Bud Poile

        ” and Matheson,throws him down,right in front of the referee” John Garrett
        In cases like this where supplementary intervention rules against the call on the ice I’d like to see the referees receive a citation and be held accountable to the NHL player safety and the NHLPA.
        They should be questioned and held to answer to both bodies and an independent governing body put in place to determine their capabilities to remain employed.

  • Kootenaydude

    Just to think if puny little Hughes would have played this year. That guy better be eating his protein shakes. It’s a big boy league. There going to be scraping him off the boards when he gets checked by a 225 pound fore checking forward!!

  • Captain Video

    Kypreos has hit on the real problem for Vancouver.

    By refusing to stand up for EP and make Matheson pay the price, the team and its coach have waived the white flag to the rest of the league. From now on until Travis Green is replaced as coach or the team grows a collective spine, it will be open season on the Canucks’ skilled players. Break Boeser’s back? Crush Pettersson’s skull? Maim Quinn Hughes? Don’t worry. The Canucks will just turn the other cheek. (And we all saw how well that ended when the team allowed a Sedin to be speed bagged by Marchand in ’11.)

    So, if the I’m the Hughes family, I’ll probably explore keeping Quinn in college for four years and exploit the NCAA loophole to become a UFA in order to sign with a team that protects it’s smaller players. And the Canucks are certainly not that team.

    Way to kiss the rebuild goodbye, Travis! Benning needs to fire his coach immediately.

  • TD

    I don’t get what good old goon Nick’s point is. I don’t think anyone is saying the original hit was dirty. That was a body check as allowing in the rules. The issue was the follow-up body slam. Is Nick trying to say body slams are allowed. If body slams are allowed in Nick’s NHL, are they allowed long after the puck has gone? I have no problem with the original hit just after the puck was moved, just the follow-up body slam.

  • Burnabybob

    Matheson’s punishment is far too light. It was a dirty play that resulted in injury to a rising young star. Those are the kind of players the NHL needs to protect. Instead, they risk shortening his career.

    It’s time for the NHL to move decisively away from goon hockey. There’s nothing wrong with clean hits, but late hits, hits to the head, boarding, and similar dangerous plays need to be dealt with severely. And get rid of fighting once and for all. It clearly doesn’t do what people like Don Cherry says it does.

  • MoeLemay

    Wake up people!
    What Green says in the confidence of his dressing room and what he says to the public are two different things….
    Remember Todd B and Steve M…..

  • Qualicum Wayne

    Push back and showing a little spine doesn’t mean one has to start throwing punches. One can push a player around and get in their face without throwing punches. There were 4 players on the ice when Elias went down. All 4 should have been in Matherson’s face. It’s embarrasing they weren’t. If I was the coach, GM, or owner, all 4 would be benched for tonight’s game. If the culture of this team doesn’t change, it will go nowhere and they are not worth cheering for. As another wrote, Quin should be looking to exploit the NCAA loophole. I’ll take it another step and suggest Brock and Elias consider playing in Europe until traded to a team willing to do what it takes to protect it’s stars. I had hoped that what happened to Brock last year was a one-off, boy am I upset to see the classless non reaction repeated. Absolutely disgusted. Long past time to bench players that don’t stick up for their teammates.

  • Dwj

    Not a tough decision at all. Protect the skilled guys. I want to see jack Hughes and EP. That’s what the majority of hockey fans want. I’m pretty sure back in kyprios’ day a whole lot more fans went to the rink to see Gretzky and Lemieux not Kyprios and… Hmm some other meat head no one remembers.

  • jaybird43

    I’m with Killer Marmot on this one. A body slam is intent to injure, or can be reasonably inferred to be so.
    The NHL needs to lift its’ head out of its’ b*tt and get rid of these dangerous “plays”. Five games would have been a reasonable place to start and tell players: the world is changing boys. It’s a joke that Matheson’s suspension will be shorter than Pettersson’s injury, especially egregious given the obvious intent. What a joke NHL!

  • steviewire

    I vote for skill. I much prefer watching fast skilled hockey plays over a bunch of hitting. Unless there’s a freak accident, a clean hit shouldn’t injure. If it does, you’re doing it wrong and need to be punished as a learning exercise

  • Kanuckhotep

    To be contentious I’d say let this whole Petey-Matheson incident be put to rest. I don’t like a 2 game suspension either but the league has addressed it such as it is. The whole idea of great young players going to play in Europe until teams accrue a number of goons to protect them is a hasty one without merit. Until the owners’ trained chimp Bettman shows concern to protect the star players little or nothing is going to change. I want speed and finesse too but it’s a contact sport, plain and simple.

    • Bud Poile

      You want to put it to rest but EP has a brain injury.
      It’s about deterring violence and the NHL is 20 years in the past,dragging their feet.
      So,you employ men that can skate with Petey that will help trogladytes such as Matheson consider and reevaluate execution of intent BEFORE it happens.
      Not hard to figure out,really.
      Too bad Green didn’t understand that.

  • bushdog

    nobody saw the play. nobody! couldn’t get a replay until after the game! why don’t some of you dolts learn to read? if all the stupid and uninformed fools were deleted there could be a decent discussion between a few knowledgeable and informed people. hardly anyone addressed kypreos’s comment. read it again, you fools! let the small guys get mugged or protect them – it’s a simple statement. i wonder how stupid so many that are commenting really are! there should be a way of deleting many of them from a discussion. we won but that only matters at the draft…

    • Whackanuck

      Agreed. Funny how coaches have a tablet to see if an offside player’s skate is a mm off the blue line on a challenge but nobody “saw” how Petterson was injured. A team wins or loses as a group and ignoring the plight of any member of that group is inevitably morale eroding and counterproductive to winning.

  • Yawannago

    Well, the Canucks had better get their head out of the sand and get a guy like Simmonds or Ferland up front and some toughness on he back end like Gudas in Philly or Dumba in Minnesota that make other teams have their heads on a swivel instead of being able to focus on go after Petterson, Boeser, Hughes and other Canuck skill guys. Like it or not, you still need grit and toughess, though it looks different today and the Nucks better be paying attention. Look at tonights Rangers game as exhibit one. The Rangers aren’t even tough, yet they had no respect for the Canucks and neither do many other teams.