Friday, March 11, 2011

Chara Watch

This is a bit old... Written on 3/9/11.

I’m writing this from the back of a 2001 Dodge Durango in the middle of Nevada (great place to live if you have, say, a gambling addiction), so needless to say, I will not be providing you with links. I do however have my cell phone. I was alerted via Twitter that Zdeno Chara will not be receiving supplementary discipline. At the same time, Max Pacioretty has some broken vertebrae and a severe concussion, though I have read reports that say he is very much alret and moving. This angered me (not the Pacioretty part, the Chara part), but I can’t say it took me by surprise. (Side note: Passing the University Nevada, just threw up in my mouth a little bit).
Aside from the obvious reason that Colin Campbell’s son is on the Bruins and without Chara, they, as my Bostonian friend level headedly put it, “wouldn’t have a chance in the playoffs,” I can come up with a few more reasons why Campbell did not suspend the big man. He may not have intended to injure, and as there is no actual way to determine this without being Zdeno Chara we’ll just have to assume the best, I guess. Also, he has a good track record. However, none of these justifications seem consistent with Campbells past decisions. Take Joe Thornton’s suspension at the beginning of the season for a headshot on David Perron. Thornton has a clean track record and reputation. The last time I remember him having any sort of run in with the law prior to this incident was his homecoming to Boston when he shoved Hal Gill from behind into the boards and got a game misconduct. Yet, Joe Thornton was handed a 2 game suspension for his hit on Perron. Granted, the hit clearly fell under the new head shot rule, but that hasn’t really been enforced to a T this year. As a Sharks fan I was angry about the decision because Thornton clearly did not intend target the head. It was just a case of a bigger player hitting a slightly less big player. I can, however, understand that regardless of intent, it was a punishable hit.
One of the most baffling aspects of the whole Chara situation is the recent history between Pacioretty and Chara. After watching Chara go after Pacioretty on numerous occasions this season (slashing him with deliberate intent, picking him out in a crowd to wail on him while engaged with another player) I find it hard to believe that it was just a coincidence that Pacioretty was on the receiving end. I honestly don’t think that Chara would have followed through like he did on any other player in the league. I’m not saying it is undeniably the truth, I just don’t see how it couldn’t be. All I ask is for some consistency. Viktor Hedman and David Steckel combined to knock out the most exciting and important player in the NHL earlier this year. Both looked unintentional. Neither was suspended. Yet, Crosby has not played for nearly two months. Thornton commits a similar crime and gets two games. If you’re going to punish one, punish all. Or don’t punish any, but that is a slippery slope. It just doesn’t make sense.
This is really a moot point in the end though. Intent should not matter when a dangerous or reckless play by one player results in another injured player, especially in the severity of Pacioretty’s injury. Unfortunately Campbell has crossed and crossed again himself on numerous cases and despite stated attempts to establish some sort of consistency, he has handled every case per diem. I began my post yesterday claiming to not be a Campbell hater. However, my distaste with his handling of NHL discipline has been increasing since the beginning of the season. It seems like a giant flip-flop, but after hearing that Chara would be facing zero supplemental discipline, I think it’s time for him to go. It sounds like a broken record, but I’m beginning to agree with the majority of the non-NHL affiliated hockey media: the discipline system is broken. Some people blame the players; they call it a lack of respect for the game. I hate to break it to these people, but the game has never been about respect.
Take for example the Broad Street Bullies or the Boston Bruins under Don Cherry. Those teams were dirty, plain and simple. They had no respect for the players they were playing. Just watch any clip of a line brawl from either of those teams. This mentality is not dead. Bylsma has the Penguins mirroring his playing days. The Flyers are still “gritty” which in this case is a synonym for dirty. Players still throw knees, stomp on legs (see Chris Pronger) and hold grudges. The players that “respect” the game are the ones that are labeled as soft. Respect has never been a part of hockey and it probably never will be with old-schoolers like Bylsma and Cherry still around the sport. This is what makes the NHL so great and such a joke at the same time. These players still have passion for the game and want to win at all cost. You wont find that in most NFL, NBA or MLB games. That makes it great. At the same time, society pretends to no longer enjoy barbaric acts in sport. Hockey has the most of these in game barbaric acts and it reflects badly on the league when they go un or lightly punished. It’s time for Campbell to go. What the NHL needs is a no bull-shit guy with a true doctrine. They thought they were getting this in Campbell, but there are too many variables there for him to be effective.

And now, for the fan favorite: it’s FINAL BURRRRRNNNSSS!!! OH YEAH!!!!
- Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on in the world since my last post as I have spent nearly all of that time in a car, but I’ll just make some stuff up.
- On a completely non hockey related note, I do know that Mitsubishi is trying to discontinue the Evo line. Completely off topic, but this, to me is, ridiculous. This car is the only thing that is keeping Mitsubishi even remotely cool. If they axe it, I will not be happy. What would make me happy? DeTomaso Pantera remake. It’s in the works, people. Get excited.
- I read that Ian White has OT points for 3 teams this year. That’s pretty cool.
- The Kings are going to be good, just not quite yet. Drew Doughty is really, really good at playing Defenseman in the National Hockey League. I mean really good. The man could be a mix between Rob Blake in his prime and Ray Bourque. Pretty scary. Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier? Take your pick. They’re both franchise goalie material. Pour a little Anze Koptar sugar on top and mmm… you’ve got a tasty treat the likes of which the NHL may not have seen since the Oil of the late ‘80s early ‘90s. Too early for comparisons? Probably not.
- Germans talk funny. I have some random sharks videos loaded on my computer. One involves a “Day in the Life” of former Sharks, Christian Errhoff and Marcel Goc. All I can really focus on is how they sound funny. Oh, and Erhoff commented that the biggest culture shock for a German coming to America is that we don’t put foam on the top of our beer.
- Newfies sound like Robin William’s impression of a Scot. Ryane Clowe’s father is very hard to understand. On a side note, Tim Jackman, please don’t mess with Ryane Clowe any more, it’s for your own good.

Thanks for reading,
- RM

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Zdeno Chara, Nostradamus and Jacob Es

Note: I received complaints about the profanity in this post. I edited it. Happy? sissies…

Let's see... on the agenda: Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty, Trevor Gilles, the Devils, and THIS. So lets get to it.

Let me first say that I am by no means a Colin Campbell hater (edit: given the events of 3/9/11 this is no longer true. I lied to you. How will I ever regain your trust). I think that he's gotten more right than he has wrong. Sure, he messed up with Matt Cooke, and he probably should have handed Gillies a year (It's clear that guy's a side show... see:hockeydb... Really? 16 goals since 1996? Really?). But in all honesty, he's right most of the time. Joe Thornton blind sided David Perron, that deserved two games. He got Alex Ovechkin's hit on Brian Campbell right. Two games, it looked a lot worse than it was. Now he's got a new task: what to do about Zdeno Chara, the 6'9" behemoth from Slovakia.

Since I heard Jack Edwards "jizz in his pants" (thank you Andy Samberg... JT you my boy) over Chara ramming Max Pacioretty's head into the turnbuckle at Montreal's Belle Center (it's spelled e-r, Canada. Get it right...) I have been wondering how Campbell will react. So, instead of simply sitting here and wondering, I'll tell you my completely irrelevant stance.

I'm just gonna come out and say it: that was the most reckless, dangerous play I have seen this year. Chara is a professional, he knows where he is on the ice at all times. Those of you who don't believe that are living in a place that starts with la-la and ends with land. He knew there was a turnbuckle right there, even if he didn't see it (which I think he did). Whether or not he knew there was a piece of glass to slam Pacioretty's head into is irrelevant. On top of that, this was a vengeful act. We just saw Idiot Exhibit A get 10 games on the tail of 9 for revenge. The only difference here is that Chara-Pacioretty is personal. Pacioretty scored an OT game winner against the B's earlier this year. As he was coasting to the boards to celly with his teammates (the man just wanted to celly) he tapped Chara and said something to him. I'm going to add a little note here. My friend who attended high school (Taft for you New Englanders) with Pacioretty has said on numerous occasions that he is an immature douche. This little move backs that up 100%. But what Chara did next was even more childish and has led me to believe that he is nothing but a big baby. The game was over and Chara had just gotten beaten. So he took his sandy you know what and went after Pacioretty in a group of teammates. Ballsy, but he is 6'9". In the next meeting between the two teams this happened (I was going to link it, but if you search "Zdeno Chara Slash Max Pacioretty" all that comes up isthis).

So Chara is a little girl and can't get over a little trash talk. That is evident. Again, he is an aware professional. He knew exactly who he was going against and where her was putting him. Did Chara mean to put him out for the season (as it looks initially)? Probably not. But at the same time, there was intent there. And honestly, the "intent" part of intent-to-injure should only matter if the "injure" part doesn't happen. Chara committed a reckless and dangerous penalty. He and the Bruins should be punished. My thoughts? 10 games (although I would not be opposed to indefinite suspensions, but that's for another time). Clutterbuck is fine. Pacioretty will not be for a little while. Chara rode him and then tossed him, with hands high, into a turnbuckle. Do I think Colin will go 10? Probably not, but something has to be done. However, that's enough about that. How about them Sharks.

But first, the Devils. Back in early January, when I watched the Devils start their improbable run with at 6-3 win over the Lightning I commented that they look like a team that could still make the playoffs. 20 wins and a streaking Ilya Kovalchuk later, I stand by this comment. Did I realize at the time that they would have to get points in basically all of their games to qualify for the playoffs? No, but hey. Right now I look like Nostra-effing-damus. 2012? I think not. Anyway about a month or two later (who really gives a… well, you know), Hugh Jessiman was recalled to the NHL, the Sharks beat the Red Wings 3-1. What do these two seemingly unconnected events have to do with each other? I predicted both of them. That's what. HUGH F-ING JESSIMAN. Who the calls stuff like that? Nostradamus 2.0. That's who. So, are the Devils going to make the playoffs? I'm 2 for 2 at this point... you tell me.

Final BURRRNSSSS (F-you Jim Rome... nah you cool)

- When I heard THIS, I thought it must be a joke. This is Jake Helman aka former teammate of Rob Morgus aka Jacob Es spitting on his first track. I clicked on the link with no expectations, but props hombre (yeah I speak spanish) not bad... (although Spatzy may disagree)

- Patrick Marleau scored his third OT game winner... of the year... that's ridiculous. The man is unstoppable.

- I will now randomly list my favorite pandora radio stations: Collie Man Radio (chill as… yup), Little Lion Man Radio (gotta love me some banjo), Mumford and Sons Radio, Vitamin String Quartet Radio (a sleeper)

- Last week I seriously injured Corey Perry. Why then, you ask, have you not heard about this? Well that's simple. It was in a video game. I had him lined up with Dougie Murray (16th smartest professional athlete) in the neutral zone, and my modified NHL 2010 Dougie does not miss opportunities like that. Moral of the story? Hurting Corey Perry, even in a video game, makes the world a better place. It's a lesson for us all. Think about it.

Corey says: Owwie, my va-jay hurts...

You've been good, I've been great.

Thanks for reading.