Tuesday, 26 January 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Milan Lucic says it wasn't his fault.

He tried his best to defend himself.  He didn't do anything wrong, it was just a mean wefewee picking on poor wittle Miwan.

But the League didn't buy it, suspending him for a whopping one games.  Take that, you out-of-control menace.

Not to make excuses for him, heaven forfend, but these kind of incidents result from the pervasive, continual slashing that happens in the NHL.  Everyone's always slashing everyone else, it's meant to replace defence and positioning.  If you're not slashing your guy, you're not covering him.

Playing along the boards, guys don't necessarily try to play the puck, or steal it away from someone else, they just slash and slash and hack at the other guy, the other guy's stick.  You have to make a 'strong play', not stickhandle.

In the scramble in front of the net, there are crosschecks, slashes, a thicket of hockey sticks being used against one another.

So Kevin Connauton, in the process of doing his thing, conducting his business, matriculating the puck away from his goalie, hacked at the King standing there, and got him in a sensitive spot, probably his bony wrist, where the lightweight gloves they wear nowadays offer no protection.

Ape Milan goes apespit, but was the Kevin Connauton slash especially grave, or even noteworthy?

Not according to Daddy Campbell's rules (emphasis mine):
Rule 61 – Slashing

61.1 Slashing - Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an
opponent, whether contact is made or not. Non-aggressive stick
contact to the pant or front of the shin pads, should not be penalized
as slashing. Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an
opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s
hands that, in the judgment of the Referee, is not an attempt to play
the puck, shall be penalized as slashing.

61.2 Minor Penalty - A minor penalty, at the discretion of the Referee
based on the severity of the contact, shall be imposed on a player
who slashes an opponent.

61.3 Major Penalty - A major penalty, at the discretion of the Referee
based on the severity of the contact, shall be imposed on a player
who slashes an opponent. When injury occurs, a major penalty must
be assessed under this rule (see 61.5).

61.4 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match
penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately
injured his opponent by slashing.

How are referees supposed to interpret this, control it, when Don Cherry blowhards that they should "let them play"?  That they shouldn't 'inject themselves in the game'?

On the one hand, it wasn't particularly aggressive swinging of the stick.  Certainly didn't seem exceptional, taken in context with all the other slashing.  Was he trying to non-aggressively make contact with Milan's pants or shin pads and miss?

He did swing his stick at an opponent and make contact, but it certainly wasn't a forceful or powerful chop.  Nazem Kadri wouldn't have bothered diving if he'd been slashed that softly, even he would think that wouldn't sell.

The Coyote defender tried to slash the stick of the Bruin so he couldn't control the puck.  That's par for the course in hockey.  We used to do that all the time when I was growing up, you just had to make sure it wasn't too hard, or else it would make too loud a sound and then the ref would penalize the decibels.  Nowadays, guys stare at you murderously if you do that in garage league play, because there's a good chance you could have snapped their $200 stick.  But in the NHL?  Play ball!

No, the only thing that made this play anything but routine is that it gave Milan an ouchy, and he don't like ouchies.  They smart.

Of course, Milan, in his worldview, is allowed to spear opponents in the crotch, willy-nilly, and then rely on the fact that they wear a cup to sleep good at night.  It doesn't hurt since they wear pro'.  But you caught me where my pro' didn't pro'tect me, so here's a right cross to the kisser from behind.  Justice shan't be denied.

Did Milan get a penalty for attempt to injure though?  Because that's definitely in the books.  And that never gets applied.

The NHL is too busy getting 4K cameras mounted on the boards to ensure a player isn't a millimetre offside at the blue line.  That's the big emergency that's plaguing the league.  Ensuring a streaking talented player doesn't get a chance to score too easy.  We have to give those defensive five man teams 'standing up at the blue line' a fair shake.

Gary Bettman is too busy trying to get John Scott out of the All-Star Game as a favour to his Coyote buddies, then backpedaling and covering his tracks and convincing us that there was never an issue, John Scott was an All-Star all along.  He's not mad he and his garbage league got punk'd by the fans, not at all.  And if you'd stop interrupting him and letting him finish, he'd evade and smarmily lecture the subject to something else, please and thank you.

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