Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thoughts about last night

You are going to get sick of me saying this, but "shut the f**k up, TSN!"
Once again, James Duthie brought up the concussion issue last night, after Willie Mitchell knocked out Johann Franzen with a shoulder check to the head. He wants something done about it as did Bob McKenzie, who echoed his sentements that players are intending to injure, and should ease up to avoid head injuries. Not you too, McKenzie! Damn.
It doesn't matter if Mitchell would have taken 4 strides or 2 strides, Franzen would have been knocked out regardless. It's a f**king hard plastic shoulder pad!
"Players shouldn't be hitting their opponent so high." Whatever. It was a clean hit. Mitchell didn't jump. It was the unfortunate circumstance of Willie's height to Franzen's height. His shoulder happened to be the main contact area to Franzen's head. Do we want the hitter to bend down a bit when he hits so he doesn't have any chance of contact with the opponent's head?
"Intent to injure." Well, YEAH! Do you think Willie didn't want to hurt him? Of course he did! Did he want to send him to the hospital? I doubt it. Hurting someone is a part of the game, even if players won't admit it. But they aren't out there to annihilate the guy and end his career.
"It is going to take a headshot on someone like Sidney Crosby before the NHL does something about it." Now THAT I can agree with. And hopefully when they do something about it, it will be the elimination of the plastic shoulder pads, and that's it.
I like the race going on for the final playoff spot in the West. In order, it's Edmonton in 7th, with 25 points, Vancouver in 8th with 23 points, Calgary in 9th with 22 points, and Colorado in 10th with 22 points. Calgary is the best team in the past few weeks with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10. They look to move up quick.
Minnesota, who is tied with Edmonton in points, are only first in the Northwest because of goals for. The Wild are on a massive slide (3-6-1 in their last 10) after starting the season so well. They have key injuries to Marion Gaborik groin) and now Pavol Demitra (head).
This division could be a dog fight right until the end of the season. Love it. The same can be said about the playoff race in the Western Conference.
Ken Hitchcock, the newest Blue Jackets' head coach, had this to say today:
"We can't hang our heads and roll our shoulders, we've got to strut, and we're going to start doing it tomorrow."
They had better strut, or else Hitch will start yelling at them and go on one of infamous tirades.


At November 23, 2006 at 9:59 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shoulder pad/cement elbow pad combo has to go. Players respect for each other also has to increase somewhat. You can knock a guy flat on his ass without aiming for his head. Too often players are taking advantage of opponants skating with their heads down. The old rant of having to keep your head up doesn't always apply. A player occasionally must look at the puck for a second. This shouldn't be taken as a chance to K.O. him when he does it.

Every instance is different. Sometimes a player looks down just before he gets whacked. Sometimes he needs to look away just as the hit is being lined up. Sometimes a player positions himself dangerously without seeing a hit coming - (e.g. Naslund). The one constant in every hit is the player throwing the shoulder or the elbow. They rarely if ever hold back. Once their gaze is set, they usually let the opponant have it, regardless of consequences.

There is little respect.

Everyone loves a good clean hit. It seems at times the subtle difference is lost.

At November 23, 2006 at 10:37 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I guess I don't care about consequences of a hitter hurting someone. Well, the issue of letting up because wearing plastic shoulder pads is dangerous is cool with me. But if they do get rid of them, then why not have shoulder hits to the head? That's my hope.

Brendan Morrison is another guy who is going to get smoked one day. I have seen a couple instances of him blowing through the trolley tracks this season, and nearly getting his head taken off.

At November 24, 2006 at 6:26 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hard shoulder pads is one aspect of it but Mitchell CLEARLY goes after Franzen's head and that is the greater issue.

This was not like Torres' hit where the contact with the head was made as part of a hit to the centre of a player's chest. This was like Armstrong's hit on Letowski. It was a direct headshot. Mitchell should be suspended and the league needs to review dirty hits like that one.

At November 24, 2006 at 11:13 a.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I need to watch the Mitchell hit a few more times to get a better idea. The one time I saw it, it looked like he wasn't headhunting.
So, anonymous, in the future, are you willing to see suspensions for head shots?

At November 24, 2006 at 11:14 a.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I know elbow shots to the head are considered illegal. But shoulder hits to the head?
That means that a tall guy is going to have a hell of a time hitting a shorter guy.

At November 25, 2006 at 9:04 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be up for suspensions for headshots. I think that the point you bring up about players' relative height is a good one and is one that will prevent referees making those calls during the run of play.

However, there should be some sort of mechanism for a video review of those hits. Especially on hits like Mitchell's and Armstrong's you can see when the replay is slowed down that they aimed their hit at the players head and in Mitchell's case, made a movement with their shoulder towards their targets head to increase the impact.

What bothers me is that everyone in the NHL took the 'oh you will legislate hitting out of the game' cop out when it is clear that those hits are more than just run of the mill hits.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.