It’s a little silly to shed tears over a move that is intended to make the organization better, but (and it probably goes without saying), Thomas Vanek is my favorite player and was a big part of why I liked the Sabres. It wasn’t always that way…I bounced around Pominville and Afinogenov for a while when I started watching the Sabres in 2005, but then we got our gorgeous new uniforms for the 2010-2011 season and I knew I just had to have one. Who to get was a tough decision, especially with a Pominville practice jersey and a blank butter knives sitting on my closet.
Regale yourself with memories of this:
But especially this!
Finally getting to this one after the John Scott story blew up. It’s been covered extensively so this is going to be less about that and more about the terrible hockey team that is the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres decided to respond to miraculously only being down 3-2 heading into the third by getting outshot 13-2 and eventually losing 5-2.
If you want to know the problem with fairness in the NHL’s doling out of supplementary discipline, it’s not between what various players get in terms of suspensions, it’s between the hits that are suspended and the hits that aren’t. Take Zdeno Chara’s performance last night:
Early in the first Chara hits San Jose forward Tommy Wingels in the head late in the corner in a hit that was not as bad looking, but arguably similarly dangerous as Wingels did not return. Later in the game, Chara performed this piece of work on Tomas Hertl, post whistle in fact:
It is also worth noting that neither garnered a penalty call even though the latter happened directly in front of a referee. Of course few in the media are making note of this because Chara is NOT THAT TYPE OF PLAYER largely because the media has arbitrarily decided he is NOT THAT TYPE OF PLAYER. Even though he kind of is. Right Max?
If the NHL is serious about players not nailing each other in the head, it has to start punishing players for nailing each other in the head regardless of the following things:
- The consequences of said nailing in the head, injurious or non-
- The nailer
- The nailee
- How bad said head nailing looked
- The situation
Because the message that players get is “if I nail this guy in the head in this situation, the NHL won’t do anything about it so I might as well keep doing it” as Zdeno Chara has so wonderfully illustrated time and time again. Those two Chara hits are far more dangerous than the Scott hit because 1). they perpetuate the head-nailing culture, and 2). they come from a player that spends 6-10 times as much time on the ice.