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Vulgar Opinions: Dustin Brown – Jason Pominville…We’ve Seen This Before

04/24/13
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Dustin Brown was suspended for this hit on Wild Forward Jason Pominville.  Let’s all watch it:

That was fun.  Brown got just two games for blatantly throwing an elbow directly into someone’s face because he’s avoided NHL discipline thusfar despite one of the most impressive highlight reels of dirty hits.  Michal Rozsival…when someone wants to play Race to Injury-forced Retirement with you, you make damn sure they win.

But my overriding thought was ‘hmm, this looks familiar.’

That was in the 2011 playoffs when NHL discipline and most hockey fans decided that it’s okay to elbow someone in the face if that someone is Patrick Kaleta.  If I could find the Puck Daddy article from two years ago, I’m sure it would agree.

I’d like to think that Brown’s suspension is indicative of the NHL slowly but surely evolving on its players’ constant attempts to brain one another, and while a part of it probably is, I more think that it’s still mostly just a scrambling for literally any excuse to allow the game to retain something it doesn’t need.  There are two ways to approach this, the NHL’s way, which is to crawl forward on player discipline while leaving every possible door and window open for these kind of hits under the guise of not wanting to ‘neuter the game’…

or

…to actually put some stock into that best athletes in the world crap we hear and admit that the best athletes in the world can learn to (for the most part) not hit the head (regardless of circumstances) because they are the best athletes in the world.

But this is a physical game, and potentially fining or suspending for hits that are only questionable will kill it and its fans.  We need that in the game because it’s what makes hockey, hockey.

Oh really?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink*
    04/25/13 10:51 AM

    I don’t disagree in principal with the fact that the NHL is incredibly inconsistent. I think a big factor to come into play is that Kaleta was very, very clearly going to lay a body check whereas Pominville was clearly going for the puck. Taking a look at their body positions, Kaleta had his arms up and was ready to drill Richards, and Richards threw the ‘bow up into his face. Worthy of a 5 minute major easily (screw those announcers).

    Pominville, meanwhile, is leaning forward, his back arched and his stick forward, and his face is in prime position for Brown to clobber with his arm. Thinking reputation-wise on the ice, no player worth their situational awareness salt is going to think that Jason Pominville is actually going to try to hit them.

    So the big divide between them for me is that while you and I and Richards all know he purposefully threw the elbow, the argument can be made that he was bracing for the hit. Whereas Brown saw the opportunity to take out Pominville. Suspension in one case, 5 minutes in the other.

    • 04/25/13 11:34 AM

      The other way to look at it being that both Pominville and Kaleta were doing something entirely legal and that Mike Richards is a giant pussy who can’t handle getting hit and resorts to bludgeoning someone in the head if he can.

      • Dan permalink*
        04/25/13 1:17 PM

        The other other way to look at it is for Don Cherry to get an elbow pad and bang it on the table and say back in the day ya wouldn’t throw an elbow cuz you’d break it on a face cuz we didn’t wear pads.

  2. 04/25/13 11:32 AM

    Here’s the puck daddy piece from ’11… http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/flyers-coach-mike-richards-elbow-didn-t-see-044058638.html

    Yeah, they said it wasn’t suspendable. Richards was acting in “self-defense” for perceived “I’m about to get run by Kaleta” … ok.

  3. 04/25/13 2:19 PM

    I think that distinction is fair Dan, but seeing as how an elbow is 1). incredibly dangerous and 2). easy to not do, I’m not sure I want those plays judged differently especially since you have a hard time making those rulings without bias rather than based on mob opinion of the players involved.

    Zdeno Chara and Todd Bertuzzi certainly aren’t of even a Kaleta level of dirty but they cause catastrophic injuries because they did something unnecessary and reckless.

    Personally I’d rather occasionally suspend for a few questionable or even benign hits than let a few reckless ones go.

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