Players almost killing players.
In turn – players almost killing players with retaliation.
Which – in turn, causes more retaliation.
Hockey has always been played by these rules. Sometimes, the retaliation happened the following shift. Other times – twenty minutes later and often; the next time the two teams played one another. It is and was – the nature of the beast.
In the first round of the 2012 playoffs, what we are witnessing is an alarming trend of disrespect. An arm for a head. There is no respect for opponents, for star players and most importantly – no respect for the officiating.
Much like the Montreal Canadiens‘ treatment of Randy Cunneyworth, the NHL’s disciplinary committee has placed their referees in a no-win situation. It is not Brendan Shanahan‘s fault. It is the fault of the greedy owners that are running the ‘show’ and in contrast – ruining the great game of hockey. In effect – the current situation; the head-shots, the elbows, the blindsided hits – can all be placed directly into the lap of Colin Campbell.
Campbell ( and his advisors; aka the owners ), had the opportunity in 2010-11 to put an end to the madness. Mr. ( and I use the term loosely ) Campbell as the head of discipline in that season – had a gift placed under his Christmas tree. A present he not only overlooked – a beautifully – wrapped occasion to alter hockey as we know it.
Zdeno Chara committed so many fouls on Max Pacioretty; leaving the Canadiens’ forward unconscious and death – like on the ice was the least of Campbell and the league’s problem. Chara, in one 6’9 ” play – committed interference , roughing, boarding and hitting-from-behind. A fierce ‘ hockey play ‘ that stunned the viewing audience from ‘coast to coast’. For ten minutes or more, Max Pacioretty lay motionless on the ice and to many children, parents and grandparents – ‘Patches’ had passed on to the great rink in the sky.
An event that shook hockey. More than most of the infamous scandals of the past twenty – years inside the rink. Even Bertuzzi’s destruction of Steve Moore‘s career ( and neck ) was able to be categorized. Retribution between two teams; an age-old tradition reaching back to the days of the Rocket, Milt Schmidt and Conn Smythe. Bertuzzi’s act was not proper. The consequences as improper as anyone has seen on the rink. Yet it was something that has happened in the game of hockey too many times to count.The difference? Moore’s state of health since …
Chara, in strong contrast, potentially placed Pacioretty into a coffin because the Hab forward passed him by. Add that to a little shove Pacioretty had given Chara the year before – it was a type of retribution yet Chara crossed the line. In a very BIG way …
Campbell et al should have suspended the Bruin player twenty games for pushing Pacioretty’s head into the stanchion. Evidence of the defence man’s hand clearly doing the nasty deed – all over Youtube, the papers and the internet in many forms. So obvious was Chara’s irrational behaviour – a monkey watching hockey for the first time would cringe and reach for his Mom’s hand.
It was an opportunity for the NHL to curb the enthusiasm of the new generation of hockey players. Face it. These new guys have been raised on violent video games, violent movies and UFC fighting. They are a new breed of hockey warriors that have grown from milk bottles to Red Bull. They live in an era where ‘ no responsibility ‘ is required or awarded. On top of that – they are dressed like characters from the film; Mad Max.
Colin Campbell’s negligence only re-enforced those ideas. His negligence allowing the players, the coaches and the suits upstairs to see how far they can go.
In the old days, the Rocket and all the players that went to war on the ice surface – arrived home to a different world. The Simpsons were not telling Eddie Shore‘s kids that it was cool to be rebellious. Rap music was not insulting Red Kelly’s offspring because they did not have ‘ bling’. In the old days – another Campbell , as in Clarence – stood his ground and suspended Maurice Richard for striking an official.
A decision that affected the way the players behaved toward officials to this day. Since that decision;
Players do not kill officials!
- Pacioretty revisits nightmare hit (canada.com)
- Canadiens make Max Pacioretty their Masterton nominee (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- Cox: NHL’s justice system needs total overhaul (thestar.com)
- Chara ‘disappointed’ Canadiens fans cheered injury (sports.nationalpost.com)
- Colin Campbell feels Brendan Shanahan’s pain (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- After the hit: A year later, Pacioretty, NHL changed by Chara incident (aol.sportingnews.com)