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


  1. Murphy handled the diciplanary hearing for chara. Campbell is not allowed to be part of it because of his son. He has already been caught doing that before.

  2. So should Umberger get the book? His hit on Doughty was just as bad. Funny how LAPD aren't involved though.