Hockey Headlines

Monday, 18 April 2011

Time To Buckle Down

Much like the NHL stretch drive, there are those who will sink and those who will swim as we approach the end of the term here at school. I, happily, am swimming quite nicely with my marks in the range that they should be, and I'm entering my playoff run - aka exam week - next week on April 26. I have four exams back-to-back-to-back-to-back on the four days starting on April 26, so I'm pretty much going to be cramming my brain full of information as much as possible. If you happen to notice a void on this site, chalk it up to exams because I want to finish the term with awesome marks. After Tuesday, it's all said and done with the school year, and we're into the exams. I'll try to post on here, but things may change depending on my comfort with the various subjects I am learning.

While I wrap my head around these subjects, I found it hard to fathom why Raffi Torres wasn't punished for aiming for the head of Brent Seabrook one night earlier. If you haven't seen the video being replayed millions of times on TV, here it is:


Wow. It's incredible that Seabrook was able to get up after having his bell rung like that.

Let's check the evidence here:
  • Blindside? Check. Seabrook never sees him coming.
  • Targeting the head? One can make the claim that Torres tried to avoid it, but let's be realistic here. This was Torres at his worst once again.
  • Player in a vulnerable position? Absolutely.
  • Did Torres let up? No. He actually accelerated to make this hit.
  • Seabrook has the puck? Not even close. The puck is on the way to being received, but Seabrook never makes contact. The interference call is correct, but....
So why on Earth was he not suspended? While I get that vicious elbows like those delivered by Matt Cooke are completely heinous acts that have every intent to injure, are hits like this not the same? Had he caught Seabrook two seconds later with a hard check to the chest after Seabrook received the puck and had his head up, I say it's a "no harm, no foul" situation. Seabrook has to know this is playoff hockey, and that there are predators on the ice.

Where I find fault with the NHL's ruling is that this type of hit goes against everything they have been preaching about "protecting players in vulnerable positions". Seabrook is attempting to receive a pass, causing his head to be down. The pass is being wrapped around the boards, causing his head to be turned away from the area that Torres is patrolling. From everything I have seen, Seabrook is making a hockey play while Torres is simply looking to hand out pain.

I normally agree with the NHL when they hand out suspensions despite the fact that the suspension time is shorter than I usually would like see. On this one, I don't care if Torres is making "a hockey play". He committed a serious foul that the NHL has outlined that it would take action against if committed. Yet they do nothing.

In tonight's Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay game, Ben Lovejoy was walloped by Steve Downie on a check that was clearly shoulder to chest. Lovejoy even said as much in the post-game interview that Downie's check was clean despite Downie leaving his feet to deliver it. Word has it that Downie will have a phone call with Colin Campbell tomorrow to discuss his hit. Check it out below:
Downie clearly left his feet, but the check was shoulder to the upper chest. Lovejoy had the puck, and was aware that it was coming because his head was up.

So I have to ask: why was Torres spared?

If the NHL wanted to teach Matt Cooke a lesson for his elbows, they could have done the same with Torres' head-hunting checks. He was sat down for four games for his check to the head of Edmonton Oiler Jordan Eberle, and he seriously injured then-Red Wing Jason Williams earlier in his career with another check to the head. This pattern of checks to the head must stop in the same fashion that Matt Cooke's fetish for delivering elbows to people's head is being curbed.

Sorry, NHL, but you dropped the ball on this one.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

James said...

Teebz - more damning evidence against Torres:

- the hit fits into the East/West category.
- he's a repeat offender.

I have no idea why no suspension was handed out. This adds to the confusion for everyone involved. What is legal? What isn't? I certainly have no idea.

Also, I'm sick of hearing comments from people suggesting that if you don't like seeing stuff like this, watch bowling instead. Violent hits are part of the game. Etc, etc. Things need to change. Players need to be more aware of what they are doing. You don't need to destroy a guy to do your job.