Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Complete Stupidity

I love going to AHL games to watch the next wave of stars battle to make an NHL roster. There are always some players who shine a little brighter than others, and there are always the grizzled veterans who are the bonafide leaders on their respective teams. There are some phenomenal rivalries, and that's what makes the league even better. However, the rivalry between the Manitoba Moose and the Toronto Marlies just got a little more heated, thanks in large part to André Deveaux. The 6'4" centerman officially has committed the first stupid act of the 2008-09 hockey season by trying to injure Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner.

While I haven't been able to secure any video of the incident, I have seen it on television, and it literally makes Chris Pronger's stomp look like child's play. During the third period of Saturday's 4-2 Moose victory, Marlies forward André Deveaux drilled Baumgartner into the boards in front of the Moose bench with a legal, solid check.

The problem was what Deveaux did next. Deveaux pinned Baumgartner's head to the ice with his knee, kicked him in the side of the head with his skate, and then kneed him in the face again before the other Moose players intervened. However, with Baumgartner in a somewhat prone position, Deveaux continued to lean on Baumgartner's head with his knee while the scrum around the two players carried on.

Thankfully, Baumgartner only ended up with a few cuts on his face despite his close proximity to all the skate blades, but André Deveaux's actions were disgusting. Referee Kyle Rehman charged Deveaux two minutes for roughing which drew a chorus of boos from the Manitoba crowd. However, referee supervisor Dan McCourt was in the MTS Centre on Saturday, and spoke to AHL disciplinarian Jim Mill regarding this incident before the league decided on how to handle Deveaux's actions.

"To me, that wasn't a hockey play," said head coach Scott Arniel to the media scrum after the game. "That was just a guy ... whatever, stupidity. A guy trying to hurt another guy, with Baumer being in a very vulnerable spot. I hope the league looks at it and they agree with that, and whatever happens, happens. I don't like to see that stuff.

"That was just a guy on top of another guy driving his head into the ice."

Manitoba submitted a tape for the league's review, and the league handed out a four-game suspension today to the Marlies' forward under the provisions of AHL Rule 29.1. Deveaux will miss Wednesday's game at Rochester, Friday's game at Binghampton, Saturday at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and next Wednesday's game against Rochester in Toronto.

Honestly, it was a sickening incident that looked like something out of the UFC. I'm not sure what Deveaux was thinking when he decided to plant his knee in Baumgartner's kisser, but it's this sort of thing that makes hockey look like Thugs-On-Ice. Personally, Deveaux's punishment is probably long enough, but I would have liked to have seen the AHL come out harsh and punish Deveaux for his utter stupidity.

In any case, the struggles for the Marlies continue, and they'll be forced to head into action in the next four games down a man. Stupid is as stupid does, Deveaux. Next time, try using your head. That's that lump that sits three feet above your ass.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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