Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Playoff Vacations

The QMJHL handed out their suspensions yesterday to the participants involved in the Chicoutimi-Quebec brawl. In case you may have missed it, you can read all about it here. Jonathan Roy deservedly got the longest suspension for his actions in the melee while his father and coach, Patrick Roy, received the longest suspension for a non-player. Chicoutimi also received punishment, most notably Sebastien Rioux, the second player that Roy fought. Both teams were fined, and Jonathan Roy also received a fine for his inappropriate gestures towards the Chicoutimi crowd. Did the "Q" do right? I'll examine that below.

On the Quebec Remparts side of the coin, the suspensions and fines were as follows:

- "Quebec Remparts goaltender Jonathan Roy is suspended seven games and receives a $500 fine for his assault on the opposing goaltender, Bobby Nadeau, as well as for the inappropriate gestures which he aimed at the crowd at the Georges-Vézina Centre during last Saturday’s game".

- "Remparts defenseman Maxime Lacroix is suspended for three games after hitting an opposing player while he was still down".

- Remparts forward Marc-Oliver Vallerand received a two-game suspension for his role in the melee.

- Remparts head coach "Patrick Roy is suspended for five games for his prejudicial conduct.

- "[T]he Remparts organization is fined $4,000".

The Chicoutimi Saguenéens received the following disciplinary action:

- "Chicoutimi Saguenéens winger Antoine Roussel receives an automatic one-game suspension for being the instigator in a fight".

- Saguenéens forward "Charles-Antoine Messier is suspended two games for an assaulting penalty".

- Saguenéens defenceman "Sébastien Rioux will miss his team’s next six games after he left the penalty box (automatic five-game suspension plus an additional game) to enter the melee".

- Saguenéens head coach "Richard Martel receives an automatic two-game suspension as stipulated in League rules after his player, Sébastien Rioux, left the bench to participate in the on-ice melee".

- The Saguenéens organization is fined $4,000 ($3,000 + $1,000 automatic for the player leaving the bench).

The Commissioner of the QMJHL, Gilles Courteau, also advised both teams that the league found "the events which took place over the course of last week-end’s games deplorable and unacceptable. We are deeply troubled by the incidents. In closing, I’d like to warn organizations that these types of incidents will not be tolerated and that should any more occur, steep fines will be handed out."


So where do I begin? I had suggested in the Playoff Brawl article I wrote that I thought both Patrick and Jonathan Roy should be suspended for the entire first-round playoff series. Well, Mr. Courteau essentially did that. Jonathan Roy will not appear again in this series, and Patrick Roy may not be back as well, depending on how Quebec fares in their remaining games against Chicoutimi. I think the suspensions fit the crime very well.

I think the fines, while seemingly low, will also encourage the teams to tell their players that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. Jonathan Roy's $500 fine isn't overly large either, but that's $500 less that a junior player receives out of his stipend. Yes, I'm aware Patrick Roy is his dad and can probably afford this, but it's $500 out of someone's pocket at the Roy household, and no one will be happy about that.

I was not aware that Sébastien Rioux left the penalty box when he and Jonathan Roy began their fight. In regards to this, I believe his suspension is also warranted. While I feel for Mr. Martel as he had no opportunity to restrain his player from going onto the ice, it should be understood that this type of action is also completely unacceptable, and that the coach is responsible for his players regardless of where they are.

I had said in the previous article, "Your players are a reflection of you" when speaking of Patrick Roy's actions, but the same goes for Mr. Martel. His players have to know that leaving the box to join a brawl will only result in the harshest of penalties. Mr. Martel's two-game suspension, and the fine associated with having a player leave the bench to join the fight, are justified in this case.

As for the other players, the video never noticed them, but I think Mr. Courteau handled the incident well in regards to those suspensions. In the end, Mr. Courteau sent a very clear message while being fair about the vacation time he handed out. Like he said in his statement, the actions of both teams were "deplorable and unacceptable".

The NHL should be looking for Mr. Courteau to replace Colin Campbell if Mr. Campbell steps down. The suspensions took into account the actions of the players, not the players themselves. I would like to see what suspension Mr. Courteau would have given to Chris Pronger in regards to the "Stomp Hear 'Round The World", but that's another debate for another time.

Mr. Courteau did the right thing. It may not be popular with Quebec fans or Chicoutimi fans, but sometimes doing the right thing is not always the popular thing. Thumbs-up from this writer, Mr. Courteau.

For full details on all the suspensions, please click here for players and here for coaches and teams.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Marie said...

As a non-player I say that what Sébastien Rioux did was unacceptable and he deserves the punishment. However, if I was on that team I probably would have done the exact same thing if one of my players, especially the goalie, had no desire to fight but got pummelled by a bat-shit insane player.

Teebz, good coverage of the whole deal.