Obsession with Suspensions

Now I could recap last night’s game and comment on the fact that the Wings ran out of gas in the third, Howard lost his first game since Operation Desert Storm, and Mickey considered the taste difference between hockey sticks of today and yesteryear.  But the game sucked and there isn’t much to say that either isn’t obvious (as On The Wings points out) or doesn’t revolve around a shark bending over “Tronwall” and having his way with him, forever scarring our Swedish friend (as shown by our friends at The Triple Deke).

Instead, I’d rather talk about the media’s new-found obsession with suspensions.  This has been something that’s been bugging me for the last year or so.

I love a good hit.  A forward who has his head down and gets Kronwalled is sometimes the best part of a regular season game.

And yet, I’m not an idiot.  I understand why people are worried about concussions.  I understand there are hits we have to get out of the game.

But for God’s sake, do we have to ask the question on every big hit? Can’t we accept the fact that there are some big hits that are completely legal and sit back and just enjoy the destruction?

Kronwall legally destroys Selanne. Randy and Selanne cry about it.  We immediately have to defend the hit rather than praise his talent at picking his spots. (Also see Havlet last year.)

Perennial softy Joe Thornton crushes a player with his head down (and turned backwards in neutral zone, isn’t this the exact type of hit where the “responsibility” is on the player to keep his head up for once.  If it isn’t what is?) and the league for some reason abandons “lateral or blind side” requirement and gives him two games.  We should be talking about how he actually stepped up for once in his life and used his size.  But of course, again we (and the NHL) didn’t.

The cheap bastard Jordan Tootoo smokes a Pred behind the net.  Immediate headline: Tootoo Blindside Hit? (Ok, Tootoo deserves everything he gets.)

The media loves this. This gives them a chance to create “controversy” just about every night.  Larry “I know what you want better than you do” Brooks penned an article today which calls all of us stupid:

The fault clearly lies with all of the rest of us who are continually, a) surprised, b) disappointed, c) outraged by the NHL’s leniency in dealing with hits to the head and hits from behind…

We’re the ones who see Daniel Carcillo leave his feet to clock a stumbling Ruslan Fedotenko in the head when the NHL instructs us there was really nothing to see there, that hit to the head we kind of swore we saw actually was nothing, please move along and leave the policing and propaganda to us.

We did?  I saw a play that was a bit of a clusterf#!k, noone leave his feet in a hit and certainly not intentionally targeting the head. I saw the NHL look at the hit and realize that as well in not penalizing a usually dirty Carcillo.

It couldn’t be more clear the NHL always will look for reasons to acquit rather than convict, couldn’t be more clear the league’s first instinct is to find that hundredths-of-a-second breakdown on video that will allow it to keep people like Carcillo and Matt Cooke on the ice.

Really Brooks?  He seems to have conveniently forgotten the fairly strong suspensions given to Doan, Thornton, Hjalmersson and Briere for exactly the types of hits Brooks complains about. I think for once the NHL has done a pretty decent job at policing this issue this year.

It isn’t just the mainstream media that does this.  Two of my favorite blogs are guilty of this sin as well.  Puck Daddy basically makes a living of analyzing big hits the day after they occur.  And the emperor himself, Paul at the great Kuklaskorner (the source of 90% of my hockey knowledge) is often guilty of putting sensationalist headlines up for big hits. I understand they did attract attention, I know I click them.  You probably do too.  But I’d like to think that I would as well if it was just a highlight rather than a controversy.

Just last night T.J. Oshie absolutely killed David Krejci of the Bruins.  It was an incredible hit, both regarding the intensity of the collision and the fact that Oshie was the one with the puck when Krejci tried to line him up.


But the headline was typical:  “Another unexpected big hit. Oshie on Krejci.”  Rather than enjoy that great hit, it made me immediantly want to defend it as legal check.  And I’m sick of this.

Let’s return to enjoying the game rather than micromanging every play looking for something to complain about. I know I do it at times.  I’m going to try to stop.  Can the rest of the media and fans?

Hey Brooksy…does that sound alright to you?

Shiny Happy People Holding Hands.