There was a lot going on in this game. And it may take more than one post to say what I think. But here we go.
When I was in Lake Placid earlier in the year, the television at the Lake Placid Brewing Company was showing a ‘Top Ten’ show about the biggest hitters in the late 90s / early ’00s. I don’t remember the era, but I remember three things: It wasn’t that long ago, I cringed a lot, and the hits were high. It was a ‘what-would-be-illegal’ in today’s NHL 101.
They were brutal hits, and most of them were the type of check that was celebrated when they were issued by Scott Stevens. Shoulders to heads, things that saner people would say were too much, too aggressive, too dangerous.
Take a look at the cover of this past week’s issue of MacLean’s, which is like the Newsweek of Canada:
This is a problem, and for it to happen on the biggest stage of the game, isn’t something the league should be happy with.
No one cares what a North – South hit is. No one cares what the criteria is for a ‘legal check to the head.’ No one cares if it was a half second late, or a whole second late (NHL Network says 29 frames, and it’s 30 frames in a second, as though it matters). They care that a player was carted off the ice on a stretcher.
People will say that you have to keep your head up. That you can’t ‘admire’ your pass. That Horton was just as at fault for the hit as Rome. That his head hit the ice, and that’s what really was the issue.
But they are wrong.
When I go to work tomorrow, people are going to ask me about the hit. They are going to ask how it’s OK for a player to leave on a stretcher. They are going to ask why a guy would target the head like that. They will ask me what is wrong with these guys. They are going to ask me about it because they aren’t hockey fans. I’ve been in this position before, and I don’t have any good answers. They aren’t hockey fans, and they don’t know that hockey fans don’t find this acceptable.
This can’t be acceptable any longer. As much as people want to see another Paul Kariya in 2003, it isn’t a risk worth taking. You can not allow for these kinds of hits to be explained away. You can’t have people leaving the ice on stretchers, with their heads immobilized, wondering about not only them, but their families, from the aftermath of open ice hits. Accidents happen, but this was no accident. This may not have been an intent to injure, but no one intends to do anything destructive after they have a moment to think about it. Like it or not, a player has to be responsible for their actions on the ice.
And when you are talking about the world’s biggest stage for hockey, you can’t sit back and wait for the other shoe to drop. It just did.
I’ll have more about head hits later in the month, probably after the finals. For now, here’s the rest of my notes:
– Look at the Marchand goal. There was Roberto Luongo on his belly again. How much video do you think Luongo has seen of himself lying on his stomach while the goal horn sounds?
– OK, Lapierre was funny when he shoved his fingers towards the mouth of Bergeron. The point was made the other way by Recchi doing the same. After that, the message was sent. Lucic didn’t need to do the same thing. Message sending is like acting, more is not always better.
– Luongo should have been pulled after the fifth or sixth goal. I say that from a completely outside point of view. Maybe there is an agreement between him and Alain Vigneault. Maybe he was left in for a reason.
– Until he was sent off the ice, Shawn Thornton played a much more controlled game than anyone expected him to after the Horton hit. You know, until he was ejected.
Afterward, Thomas jabbed a Canucks player in the crotch with his stick after the whistle. With the play over, and the Canuck not wanting to leave the crease, I have no problem with this. Then again, TJ Galliardi may have an issue with it.
– The only real problem I have with the Bruins in tonight’s game was that they played Huey Lewis and the News’s “Power of Love” in the 3rd period. Really?
I watched this game at a bar, and Neil showed up in the third period. He saw me writing some notes, and he wanted me to put some things in this post. So this is a feature I’m calling…. “Neil says….”
Neil says… the Canucks should score a goal, just to make it a game, and not to make this a complete blowout. (he kind of got his wish)
Neil says… this kind of score is not good for Boston going into game 4. It’s hard to argue that.
Neil says…there should be a slaughter rule enacted at this point (this was when it was 7-1). I say you stay in the game and take your lumps like a man.
Neil says… he doesn’t know $#!+ about hockey. And you know what? I agree.
Coach AV said the hit seemed a little late. And that is what a coach is going to say. There wasn’t much more than he really could say. He also doesn’t think that’s the kind of hit the league wants to take out of the game. I bet the league doesn’t want him speaking for them right now.
Tonight was Can Neely’s 46th birthday. Happy Birthday, Cam.
Sammi Salo says they have to focus on game 4. Did he even play tonight? I mean, they were skaing 5 defencemen for a while, and I don’t think I heard his name mentioned once. (22:58 of ice time)
When you don’t know what to write, you don’t really feel like writing. But starting to write is the best way to figure out what you should be writing about. And tomorrow, in the SCFblog bonus content, I’ll show you what I mean.
Here is what I mean. Sometimes, you don’t know what you will write, until you get your fingers moving. So move those fingers.