A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

You want animosity? You got it!

The other day, one of the guys at the brilliant Covered in Oil was lamenting the fact that there's not enough hate in this series. He jokingly tried to stir up some hate by saying a really nasty thing about Ron Francis. He didn't mean it. He just wanted us to stop being such an agreeable bunch.

Well, I think the Oilers did their part to stir up some animosity on Wednesday night. Heck, they made their own fans hate them.

I don't know whether these were coaches' orders or what, but with about 2 minutes gone in the third period, and Carolina clinging to a four goal lead, the Oilers changed abandoned their game plan. Their new goal was to commit stupid penalties and attempt to injure their opponents. It all started with a play by Ethan Moreau at 2:47 of the third. Things went steadily downhill from there. Moreau came from North Durham to suckerpunch Glen Wesley at center ice. The puck was in Wesley's skates headed into the Carolina zone, and Moreau came high and hard at his face with a closed hand. That play served absolutely no purpose, and if referee McCreary could do it all again, he would seize control of the game right then. However, he had no way of knowing that the game would spiral out of control from there.
Carolina scored on the ensuing power play, taking a 5-0 lead. At that point, the Oil gave up, and it was clear.

Just a few minutes later, Ryan Smyth high-sticked Aaron Ward. It looked really bad at first, but there was no injury, and in my mind it was completely unintentional. However, it was still a product of overly aggressive play.

At 11:14, Laraque was called for tripping Nic Wallin. I guess there wasn't much else the referee could have called, but it looked suspiciously like he was intentionally leading with the knee. Wallin avoided most of the contact, but ended up being tripped. After spending two minutes in the box, he decided that he wasn't through.

At 16:44, "GG" Laraque committed a textbook example version of a boarding major. Andrew Ladd was facing the glass, trying to play the puck. He wasn't skating fast, didn't make any sudden moves. Laraque came at him very hard and intentionally used his elbows and forearms to shove Ladd's head into the board. The fact that he never tried to plead his case, and that Craig MacT looked very calm as his player was being ejected speaks volumes. That was no "mistake". It's almost as if MacT decided the game was a lost cause, and sent GG (who has a history of goonish play in these playoffs) out there to do his worst.

Am I mad? You bet! Am I overreacting? Maybe. Am I trying too hard to demonize MacT and his players? Probably. Point is, you got what you want. Now we hate the Oilers.

I doubt very much that we'll see such garbage in game three. In fact, I think it'll be a very clean game with a much better performance by the Oilers.


Andy Grabia said...

Cmon. The Smyth play was a result of him falling after a hit. Totally unintentional. The tripping call was a phantom call, given because the refs don't know how to deal with Georges size and strength. And Ladd turned and took that hit from behind. Every player does it, on every team, but don't blame Le GG because Ladd was stupid enough to risk his life for a penalty. The Canes couldn't have been too worried. I didn't see a single player do anything about any of the "thuggery."

d-lee said...

Andy... We agree about the Smyth high stick. It was absolutely unintentional. I didn't mean to suggest that it was an act of thuggery. Only that it marked the beginning of a sharp drop in the Oiler's level of discipline.

We kind of agree on Laraque's tripping penalty. I reviewed the play several times, as I'm sure you did. Although it wasn't much of a trip, the referees wanted to find him guilty of something. I think they missed it, and they should have called him for kneeing. That is, of course, my opinion with which I'm sure you disagree.

On the boarding thing, I just don't see how anyone can say Ladd turned into the boards. Regardless, Le GG knew what he was doing, and it was clearly intentional. He followed with the forearms and elbows.

Whether you agree with the call or not, Le GG will be suspended for game 3. Under rule 48(b), any player who incurs two game misconducts for boarding (during the course of the regular season or during the course of the playoffs) will be suspended automatically for the next game.

I doubt very much that there will be any further suspension or fine. I also think that there won't be any more of that in these finals.

d-lee said...

errrr.. sorry. 48b refers to checking from behind. I meant 44c, which refers to boarding

Desdemona said...

Although it wasn't much of a trip, the referees wanted to find him guilty of something. I think they missed it, and they should have called him for kneeing. That is, of course, my opinion with which I'm sure you disagree.

The problem with this entire statement is that it reads (and I thought it as it happened live) that the refs think that Laraque did something against the rules, but they weren't quite sure, so they made something up. They shouldn't have called him for anything. Not even kneeing. If a ref isn't sure of what the call is, or should be, he shouldn't have raised his hand.

On the boarding thing, I just don't see how anyone can say Ladd turned into the boards.

This is done all of the time, especially to draw penalties in the corner. Remember Weight on Pominville? He said that he saw him coming and turned to draw a penalty...??? Ladd's biggest mistake was to turn so far out from the boards. He could've seriously got hurt.

Chris said...

Laraque was head hunting. I noticed it immediately live and watching the recording only confirmed it for me. I don't know if Ladd turned into it or not, but Laraque followed through high and the refs did the right thing in getting him off the ice. The "intent to injure" was the important factor in the decision.

Desdemona said...

Isn't head hunting when you have one man in mind, and chase him around until you thrash him? Or whatever the case may be?

Laraque was hitting everything red and black before Ladd, I don't really think that he was a specific target.

I can't be sure, but I think that Laraque had a two minute penalty and "talked" his way into 5 and a game misconduct. None of this is excusable, but it certainly isn't as big as you're all making it to be.

Let me just refresh your memory:

Anyway, the penalty call irked Weight, who felt Pominville has become expert at turning his back and drawing that sort of boarding call.
"I'm taking responsibility," Weight said. "It was a bad penalty, it sucks, I felt like crap and it's a bad feeling.
"Do I agree with it? No. He sees me, he's turning into me. I'm coming hard to finish my check and he spins with the puck. I can try to miss him and break my neck.
"I guess, unfortunately, over the last eight years, that's turned into a pretty good play in this game."

"To have that called against you in overtime is disappointing," Hedican said. "And then Williams has the puck at the blue line and gets hauled down with no call. It's obviously a disappointing way to lose."
Said Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward of the officials: "I'd be running for the Zamboni doors too. It's unbelievable."

"The hardest job in the league is to try to tell if a guy's throwing himself into the glass," Weight said after the 2-1 loss. "I see him turning, he knows I'm coming, and right when I'm getting there full speed - I got my body committed - he spins the other way. It's a disappointing call to me in overtime, but it's worse being in the box when the puck goes in the net and it's my fault.
"I should know that that kid does that. I don't even know his first name for God's sakes."

I haven't heard any Carolina players complaining about Laraque yet, just you guys. I hope they don't fall back into their pattern demonstrated above.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

dlee- agreed on Moreau and to an extent on the LeGG boarding but the Smyth hit, as Andy said, was completely accidental, if a bit careless. He spun around and lost the handle on his stick.

Not a lack of discipline - he was finishing his check on Ward just as LeGG had a couple of good clean hits before the Ladd play.

If the Oilers get back in the series and they have to win the next two games to make that happen the hope is that the Canes D will be a little more tired and maybe a little more shy in games 5, 6 etc.

Have to keep hitting. I hate the dirty stuff as well but you have to play it physical right through to the final whistle.

d-lee said...

From the camera angle that we had, it didn't look like Laraque was doing any talking. I couldn't tell from in the arena either. Maybe you saw something different with a slightly different camera angle from the CBC. I dunno.

What exactly was your point in all those links regarding the boarding call against Doug Weight? That we're not perfect? Of course we're not.
There's a difference, though, in getting a two minute call in a tie game, and getting a five minute major and game misconduct when your team is down 5-0 late in the game. And how many boarding calls has Weight been called for in his career? That one is hardly a "pattern". Laraque has one other boarding major (with game misconduct) and two other major penalties in this playoff season alone.

And from a guy whos greatest asset is, in his own words, "fighing"? The pattern is with Laraque's play.

Maybe the reason you haven't heard the players complaining is that they have other things to worry about. We fans don't.

Desdemona said...

Sorry, I must have gotten your blog mixed up with another that thought it ridiculous that Ladd turned and implied that Carolina are angels. I don't remember which blog that was now, but my response with all of the quotes was meant for him.

My bad.

mudcrutch79 said...

And how many boarding calls has Weight been called for in his career? That one is hardly a "pattern". Laraque has one other boarding major (with game misconduct) and two other major penalties in this playoff season alone.

I'd venture a guess that Doug Weight has as many career playoff boarding majors as LeGG. Saying that he had two other major penalties is more than a little disingenous-Fedoruk wanted to go and Fedoruk got what he wanted. Twice.

The other boarding call on Laraque was questionable-this one wasn't but Ladd still turned into the hit.

d-lee said...

Prior to this season, Le GG had played in 21 playoff games and recieved no major penalties.

Prior to this season, Dougie played in 69 playoff games, and recieved two major penalties. I'm not yet to the point where I know what those penalties were for, but I'm working on it.

d-lee said...

Okay.. I dug it up,

In 1999, in the Oilers series with Dallas, Dougie indeed took a boarding major.

In 2001, in the Oilers series with Dallas, Dougie took a "checking from behind" major.

These are essentially the same type of foul, so we'll lump them together and say that Dougie has two of those in his playoff career prior to this season. Laraque has recieved zero in the playoffs prior to this season.

Your guess would be right, then concerning post-season play.

mudcrutch79 said...

Wasn't much of a guess really David as I remember watching the games (although the 1999 one was forgotten; I clearly remember the 2001 hit because Mike Comrie scored the OT winner and we all thought he'd cemented his place in Edmonton), although it's a false comparison mostly because of the ice time issues. That said, it's rare that a player like Weight gets one of those types of penalty, let alone two. The dirty bastard!

ain't nothin STAAL'n us now.. StanleyCup'06 said...

the oilers have had some cheap shots at the end but i dont think canes fans are at a point of hate towards oilers. maybe frustration but far from hate.

lets go canes!!

best of luck to roloson


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