With regards to the Raffi Torres hit on Marion Hossa, I think the hit was a bit late, and due to Torres’ diminutive stature and the fact that just about all players are forced to leave their feet when delivering an open ice body check, Torres slightly miscalculated and caught Hossa on the chin.
Honestly, I suspect Hossa is ok and just had the wind knocked out of him – I would be surprised if he was concussed.
Torres is a tough nut, and this will probably be another case of the crime not fitting the punishment – simply because a stretcher was involved.
Leaving your feet to deliver a body check is something I would like clarified, the league knows and recognizes that momentum and a player having to elevate his posture to deliver the force of a body check inevitably causes “lift” – we know this. Fans, on the other hand, have been trained to look at ‘leaving your feet’ as an automatic basis for suspension – it’s not. The league should clarify this and make it known.
You can’t run a league with case-by-case justice. We all should’ve stood up and said something when it became the way the league was to operate – you can’t base player suspensions and fines on whether or not the victim was or wasn’t severely injured or if the aggressor is or isn’t a star player. You can’t do that. You either have rules, or you don’t. You don’t get to apply them in a willy-nilly fashion where prejudice and malice take a backseat to how many points the victim has or how much of a serial offender the aggressor is.
For me, this is the same malevolence the league has shown to diving – and I have always disagreed with the way diving is handled. Generally, 9 times out of 10, when there’s a penalty for diving, you’ll also see a corresponding penalty for whatever the offense was – tripping, hooking, slashing – you name it. Completely and utterly counter productive. Either it was a slash, or it wasn’t – either it was a dive, or it wasn’t – you can’t have it both ways.
The NHL has, for too long, wanted to have it’s cake and eat it too.
The NHL has varying rules that depend on the salability of the game and it’s players, this creates a market where you might as well go out and go for it and hopefully the other guy doesn’t get hurt too badly. That’s how you keep your job, that’s how Raffi Torres has kept his job. It’s not his fault, he’s just doing what the league has allowed and essentially justified. Torres sometimes falls over that line, sometimes he doesn’t.
The problem with case-by-case justice is essentially this, now think about this, and think hard – if Marion Hossa absorbs that check and quickly rises to his feet, are we even having this discussion?
See? We’re all in the same headspace now where we calculate misdeeds based on how hurt the victim is. That’s not how you apply rules. Raffi Torres, if he’s to suspended at all, should be suspended regardless of whether or not Hossa requires a stretcher.
If I break into your house, but I don’t damage or steal anything – should I be punished? The NHL doesn’t think so.
Leave your feet beyond reasonable lift and momentum needed to deliver force for a body check – 5 games. And if that check connects with an opposing players head? 10 games. Full stop. No question about how hurt the other player is, no question about how much star power the victim or aggressor has – just simply apply the rules regardless of all other factors and this problem is solved. Implement a three strikes and you’re out policy. Three suspensions in one season? Sorry, you’re done for the year. No appeals. No questions. You’re done.
That won’t happen though, because when you get a group of billionaires together (the owners) negotiating with millionaires (the players) – all that’s really worried about is protecting wealth. And that will continue.
This is why I talk a lot about being behind the trends in the game, and if you’ve recognized them – you’re already behind them. While a lot of the league thought the game was moving towards, smaller, shifty, talented, skillful players who feast on powerplays and flourish in a non-obstruction based game – the Bruins showed up and reminded everyone what it actually takes to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Heart, determination, toughness, grit, skill, talent. The rest of the league has now reacted, some quicker (L.A., Rangers, Ottawa) than others (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver).
That mental headspace of how you have to play to win (Bruins in 2011), combined with the NHL’s need to hand out case-by-case justice has created this perfect storm.
Here’s point number two from Jonas Siegel’s article on TSN that deals with the Leafs cleaning out their lockers;
So – you didn’t have a concussion earlier this year? There was nothing wrong with you for the last 5 games either? Thanks for that.
Watching Brian Burke’s season ending presser was depressing. You’re never going to be able to change the man, he’s intelligent and quick witted but what was on display was simply sad. A loser, a beaten man. The rest of the game’s GM’s are laughing at him behind his back and he knows it. He has been well and truly humbled.
Here’s where I take issue. I wrote about it earlier in my “Blood in the water…” piece. Ron Wilson is being sold down the river, as if to suggest that the style the team was playing and it’s personelle components were 100% Ron’s fault, and doing.
The puzzle pieces simply don’t line up.
If this was all Ron’s doing, why did you trade for Matthew Lombardi and take on that contract along with twinkle-toed nice guy Cody Franson? Because you wanted a ‘big team’? Why sign Tim Connolly? Is it because you wanted to get ‘tougher’ up front? Why did Clarke MacArthur get a new 2 year deal? Was it because of his big time ‘nasty streak’? Why is Tyler Bozak still here? Is it because he’s an ‘imposing force’ who ‘dictates’ games? Did you trade for David Steckel because he’s a rough-and-tumble forward who powers into corners and makes defensemen think twice?
Sorry Brian, you’re not making sense. You designed this team. You signed these players. You traded for these players. You gave the go ahead to build this shifty-fast-no-grit B.S. hockey club. And, you drafted players that fit that mould too (Nazem Kadri). It was an organization wide ethos, and to say any different is quite simply, lying.
For the first time, you could’ve taken some of the blame – but you didn’t. You didn’t say; “you know what guys, I made some mistakes. We were wrong to go in this direction.” Instead, you blamed it all on your new favourite scapegoat – Ron Wilson.
Folks, put your hope away and put on your thinking caps – not much of anything is going to change this summer.
The Leafs have four massive albatross contracts;
1. Colby Armstrong
2. Matthew Lombardi
3. Mike Komisarek
4. Tim Connolly
All four of these players were supposed to be our “veteran presence”, all four failed and failed miserably for if there one thing this team was sorely lacking, it was a dependable veteran presence.
I know Burke has made deals in the past to move people who us fans thought were unmovable (Jason Blake) but this seems like a bit too much to ask. The hope will be that Armstrong realizes its time to get serious about the rest of his career, or join the broadcast booth. Lombardi and Komisarek are useless and no longer belong in the NHL. Armstrong is right behind them, but at the very least, we still have hope for him. Like we did for Komisarek last year. Connolly is overpaid and seems determined to continue on his path to absolute obscurity.
Kulemin is an RFA, which means he’ll probably be resigned to a two-year deal for the same amount of money he’s making now. Kulemin is someone who helped drag this team down this year, yet still has some sort of residual value from his 2010 campaign – will he get moved? Tough to tell. It’s not often you see RFA’s get resigned and then shipped out. Kulemin is expendable, but is an RFA. MacArthur has a contract and Grabo is locked up. So, there’s your second line.
With the emergence of Matt Frattin and knowing that Kulemin is expendable, but given Kulemin’s RFA status – I just don’t know how they get a deal for him done, unless its worked out for another RFA that we get the rights to.
See what’s happening so far? Nothing is changing.
Let’s keep going.
Tim Connolly is signed to another 2 years – when signed I’m sure Tim was given assurances that he would be a top line centre. Instead, he became a third line centre, penalty killer and occasional winger. Where does Tim Connolly fit? The Leafs don’t know either. Is there a team out there that’s willing to take on Tim’s 4.7 million dollar contract? Not likely. So Connolly stays.
Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel are locks on the top line, but will either be able to replicate the success of 2011? Since this is the Leafs we’re talking about, probably not. They’re still performers, but I have my doubts, specifically about Lupul.
Tyler Bozak has managed to play top line minutes for just about his whole career, undeservedly I might add. Bozak is soft, weak in his own end and doesn’t have much in the way of creativity or offensive flare. Bozak is most definitely expendable. The problem being, there’s no UFA out there to replace him.
That’s the top two lines, of those top two lines – you’ve got Bozak and Kulemin who are movable pieces. Will they get moved? I doubt it.
Now we’re at our third line, where we find the 4.7 million dollar man – Tim Connolly, flanked by whom? Big, nasty, Nazem Kadri? The ever exuberant, yet small and ineffective Joey Crabb? The deceptively slow, injury prone Colby Armstrong? Are these also the same players we’re supposed to count on to kill penalties? Or will that duty fall to the Capitals and Devils cast-off David Steckel?
Again, not much change is there?
Mike Brown and David Steckel will anchor the fourth line, with Rosehill probably still in and out of the lineup as necessary.
They filled up the hope balloon again today folks, there’s not much to look forward to from this team.
But what about those Marlies?
Nazem Kadri? I suspect it’s just about time to call and spade a spade and recognize that Kadri is a flop. As is Joe Colbourne. Big, nice hands, too slow, too soft, and just can’t translate any of that into offense. Carter Ashton, if anything, will attempt to compliment Brown and Steckel on the fourth line – but I have my doubts, and even so – it’s not as if we can count on him as a dependable presence.
After that, there’s no help on the farm – not from any forwards, that’s for certain.
Dion Phaneuf is slow. Very slow. He’s a fine defenseman, but until his leadership quality matches the speed and verbosity of his mouth – he’s not going to amount to much as a Captain of the Leafs. Yes Dion, that means dropping the gloves more than two or three times a year. You’re not as important on the penalty kill as you think you are.
Luke Schenn is slow. Very slow. If Luke mature’s into a nasty, snarling defenseman – he will be useful. He won’t, and he won’t. The Leafs overpaid for Schenn, and it will be too late halfway into next season to realize his full value in a trade. I really hope I’m wrong on this one and Luke can turn it around, but I have my doubts. When it comes to the Leafs, I’ve learned to err on the side of failure – as that’s what usually happens.
Carl Gunnarsson is ridiculously over-rated, in my humble opinion. I think he’s soft, his first pass is weak, he doesn’t offer anything on the offensive side of the game and, to me, is a prime target to be moved.
JM Liles is another fine defenseman, if he can keep it together for a full season – he’s an asset. If he continues to play like he did post-concussion, he’s a liability.
Mike Komisarek is useless. Milan Lucic has single handedly destroyed Mike’s career. For my money, Lucic is the most dominate player in hockey today – when his head is in the game. The biggest issue with Lucic is that he doesn’t seem to realize just how feared and imposing he actually is. When he does, watch out.
Cody Franson is soft, slow, possess marginal offensive upside and hasn’t the slightest inkling of a nasty streak. 100% dead weight that should be shipped out for assets. Let Holzer or Blacker play as the 7th man instead.
Jake Gardiner has been a revelation. But, let’s see if it continues in year two – or if he plays more like he did in January and February, when he was a liability every time he was on the ice. It happened to Luke Schenn when we were all singing his praises, let’s see if Jake can shake off the sophomore slump. Again, I have my doubts.
So tell me folks, where are the big changes happening?
Colbourne, Kadri, Kulemin, Franson, Gunnarsson, Bozak? That’s what we have to offer other teams for players in return that will have an impact? Yikes. We’re stuck with Komisarek, Lombardi, Connolly and Armstrong. Armstrong we’ll hold out hope for, not much, but we’ll give him one more shot. Connolly is now a third-line penalty killer.
There really isn’t much hope for the 2012/13 season, not unless Burke can pull another rabbit out of his hat – but even so, somehow, someway, even if he does – it’ll backfire.
Just for kicks,
Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak and a first round pick for Rick Nash, Derek Dorsett and a fourth round pick.
I’d do it in a heartbeat.read more
James Reimer has a mystery illness and can’t play last night. I suspect he came down with a bad case of “My-Agent-Doesn’t-Want-My-Value-to-Erode-Any-Further-itis”
I wonder what the total statistical count of goals scored high-glove-side on the Leafs is this season. I would suspect the number is shocking.
When I watch games these days, generally, all I do is look at the Leaf scoring chances and say to myself – “if that was on us, that’s a goal…”
Brian Burke was moronic to think the game had shifted to a small, fast, shifty, no-toughness paradigm. Absolutely moronic. The Toronto Maple Leafs, whenever they have had even a smidgen of success, it’s always been down to heart, determination, grit and a willingness to sacrifice. Not speed and finesse. It took us fans a good three years to get that through to Mats Sundin, and when he finally got it, he excelled.
This season’s Toronto Maple Leafs are what happens when management thinks they’re smarter and more clever than the game itself. When superstar GM’s think they can define their own trends, and be ahead of the curve. This is what you get.
It took the soft spoken Dale Tallon one summer to put the Florida Panthers in the playoffs. Just one.
Here’s a quote from Carl Gunnarsson, a player I think it’s horribly over-rated, but that’s just my opinion, from last night:
“We can’t ask for anyone else to come in and be Jesus here,” said Leafs defenceman Carl Gunnarsson. “It’s up to us. I don’t think we need a saviour, we can do it on our own. It’s just a matter of turning it around and getting our minds into it and I think if everyone believes it we can do it.”
As a professional hockey player, you have to watch what you say to the media – so occasionally, you have to try to decipher what they’re getting at and what’s on their mind.
Kind of odd thing to say from Carl, isn’t it? And remember, he’s mad, pissed off while giving this quote. Also consider that he and Gustavsson are quite close friends. Why would Jesus be on his mind – is it perhaps because James “Goofy-God-Boy” Reimer decided he didn’t want to play last night?
I’m telling you, I’ve been saying it for months – James Reimer has to go. You can not bring a Christian Fundamentalist into a hockey players dressing room and not have it create issues – this team is divided, they either despise Reimer, or Gustavsson – and they have confidence in neither.
Read my article on Tim Thomas right after the White House snub, I said then this would be cancer for the Bruins – and it most certainly has, they’ve gone from being untouchable, to being within reach of the Senators.
The same thing has happened to the Leafs, but because it’s down to religion and a touchy subject – no one will go there but bloggers like me.
Now, what’s a shame, is that Reimer’s agent fleeced Burke last summer and Burke agreed to a three year contract for a goaltender who had a decent 20-game stretch a year ago. Gustavsson on the other hand is out of a contract and completely done for.
So what we’ll get is a trade or a free agent signing for a re-tread goaltender who “platoons” with Reimer, and the issue will still exist.
I have no hope for next season, this team looks to be in another death spiral with no hope on the horizon.
Nazem Kadri, Joe Colbourne, Carter Ashton, Korbinian Holzer….? These players aren’t hope for the future – they’re nobodies. 5th or 6th d-men and 3rd liners, if that. There is no premium talent coming.
There is no hope for this team.
For a man I had a massive amount of faith in, what’s become more and more obvious is that Brian Burke is simply a fame-whore and not much else. He surrounds himself with other talent that takes care of the “hockey business” while he focuses on his next media appearance.
Dave Nonis is the man behind the man, the one truly responsible for the “hockey deals” and that will become apparent next season when we say goodbye to Brian Burke.
And another thing, Brian, either take the fucking tie off or put it on – douche-bag.read more