Saturday, November 8, 2008

You're Away From The Blog For One Day ...

... and all sorts of drama breaks out.

Greg Wyshynski, aka Puck Daddy, has taken exception to the actions of the Rangers.

Wyshy wrote a post today that the Rangers are coming off as "trifling and petty" after Tom Renney floated that idea that an opposing player should be investigated for intentionally attempting to injure another player. For those who didn't see, Mike Smith went at it with Aaron Voros during the third period Thursday, and nearly took out Voros' ACL with a vicious slash.

You can see it here (at the one minute mark) and it is clear that Smith was not just attempting to get Voros away from his crease but to take the Ranger's knee out. For Wyshynski to compare it to the contact that Voros and Sean Avery make with the netminder is absurd. One player plants his rear end at the top of the crease so the goaltender can't play the top of the paint, while the other is chopping wood.

When Brandon Sutter got his clock cleaned, Wyshynski said that "you have to draw the distinction between protection of players and what are, intrinsically, hockey plays." Now a slash like Smith's was a hockey play ... 20, 30 years ago.

It is not one today.

Today there is no instigator rule. Today cross checking is called on the player who finally fights back after three opposing players take turns hitting him (including a punch to the head). Today boarding or charging is called on at least half of the big hits on the boards. The NHL that Ron Hextall and Billy Smith played in was a distinctly different one than the one that Mike Smith plays in. In his NHL, penalties are called tightly (and inconsistently) and intent to injure is a major infraction, not something the coach tells Bobby Clarke to do.

There is nothing trifling or petty for a coach to come to the defense of one of his players and ask for the league's rules to be enforced.

You know, the legal drinking age was 18 years ago decades ago. It's illegal now. So if a high school party gets raided and no one gets hurt, maybe no one gets busted - depends on the cops mood. If one kid gets alcohol poisoning though, the hosts go to jail and the parent of the sick kid have the right to sue and they would win.

Had Voros been crippled by Smith's ax action, would the Rangers be allowed to complain then? Or would they just be trifling and petty?


Mark Bonatucci said...

"...and nearly took out Voros' ACL" - get real I watched the video repeatedly and that wasn't going to happen. The penalties issued were appropriate except that I wouldn't have given Voros the 5 minutes for fighting without giving Smith another two for insitgating since he was just defending himself when Smith dropped his blocker and catching mitt.

Wyshynski said...

"Had Voros been crippled by Smith's ax action, would the Rangers be allowed to complain then? Or would they just be trifling and petty?"

Do you really want to deal with hypotheticals here, or do you want to talk about your coach calling for a suspension on a play that Voros skated away from?

I just want to make this clear again: Voros's screening is going to get a reaction from the goalie, if that goalie isn't getting any help from his defense. A shove, a punch, what have you; Smith crossed the line with the slash, and was penalized for it. Heck, if they wanted to give him a gamer or an instigator (that would have been a suspension anyway), fine by me. He cheated.

My problem is with Renney attempting to turn Smith's actions in something the League should suspend him for. That's petty. It's a slash. It happens, and Smith and his team were penalized for it. Voros wasn't hurt.

Aren't you sick of the over-litigation of the NHL?

Scotty Hockey said...

USCF - Smith chopped him where there isn't much padding so it is possible but I do agree with you that there should have been an instigator.

Puck Daddy - Just because he skated away doesn't mean that there wasn't intent to injure. And just as you see it as ok for Smith to defend himself, the coach is just defending his player.

And yes, I absolutely abhor the over-litigation of the NHL but the simple reality is that Gary Bettman killed old time hockey and we have to deal with what is left ...

nyrmike21 said...

Saying Smith crossed the line is underestimating it. That play is equivalent to a player doing a two-hand chop to the back of a players' leg, and guess what that gets them, five minutes for attempt to injure and almost guaranteed suspension. How about you shut up about the Rangers and worry about your own boring team that nobody wants to watch. Kansas City Devils has a nice ring.

Pete said...

I might be able to see the grey area that Wyshy is sitting in if I didn't watch the whole game and also watch Smith CONSISTENTLY slash people in front of the net, usually Voros, since that is his job on the ice. It wasn't just that one instance. I'm sure it's not possible now, but if you go back to the footage of the game, Smith was chopping at legs all game. As a goalie, he should know that the back of the leg is a vulnerable spot. He's a rookie and he was frustrated, and he wanted Voros to feel the pain, and that's all there is to it. There was certainly intent to hurt.

I do you one better. If Melrose was worth his paycheck, he would sit Smith for a game or two, because his young goaltender showed a lack of poise and incredibly bad judgment in a situation where he was frustrated about things not going his way. The slashes, the punches, the instigation on the fight, and the fight (punk didn't even take his mask off, but he did drop his gloves), can't happen later in the season if this team somehow makes it to a tough cup run. I think Olie the Goalie deserves a chance at the #1 spot for a couple games. If you don't correct Smith now, you'll wind up with another Ray Emery in the league.