Vulgar Opinions: NHL Discipline Continued
Brendan Shanahan saw fit to exceed my wildest expectations and not even give Mike Brown a phone call for boarding Patrick Kaleta last night. And can’t you just picture Shanahan stewing in his lair, muttering to himself “I used to hate it when those f****** did that when I played.” According to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski, this “makes sense” because “Kaleta turned late [and] Brown’s hit wasn’t nasty.”
Which was the same thing Wyshynski said about this hit, doled out by Kaleta a few years ago.
Oh no wait, he called it dangerous, a label he has yet to give to the Brown hit. Wyshynski’s apparent hypocrisy aside, the person that wrote the article for the hit on Ross, Sean Leahy, basically said the same thing about Kaleta’s hit that Wyshynski said about Brown’s.
Which brings me to the question: why do we use these things as excuses when talking about dirty hits? It’s not like either hit would have been 100% clean if Ross or Kaleta hadn’t turned slightly. And what does it matter if a guy really clobbers someone, or doesn’t exactly clobber someone? (And in a world of CTE where it’s becoming increasingly probable that even minor hits can do significant damage to the head, Wyshynski’s position becomes even more ludicrous.) I mean Todd Bertuzzi didn’t exactly paralyze Steve Moore, but that was the result of his incredibly reckless actions, actions he had every chance not to take. Likewise, Brown had every chance not to lay a questionable hit on Kaleta.
Obviously, great hockey minds don’t want these hits punished because they “take the manliness out of the game,” and because “then offensive players will purposely turn their backs to oncoming hitters.” Which when you think about it, is 1). already happening, and 2). not all that dire of a consequence. I can’t remember a single hit into the boards that I couldn’t live without, or that was memorable beyond nearly crippling the hitee. Every great hit happens in open ice, and being more stringent on calling boarding and doling out fines and suspensions for it takes absolutely nothing away from the game. Except, you know, man-games missed.