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

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This has got to stop

On Saturday, hockey took another black eye. In Nashville, another senseless turn of violent events culminated in a player being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. The rest of the world looks on this and says "See, that's why I don't like hockey". We hockey fans can only say things like "This is what happens when we have the instigator rule in action and a clownshoe for a league disciplinarian."

I had a very long day at work, so I didn't see any hockey highlights, but the Acid Queen im'd me about this:

This is completely inexcusable.

Nashville's Jordin Tootoo, the latest in the "talentless goon" series decided to test the disciplinary waters when he laid out Dallas' Stephane Robidas with what can only be construed as a sucker punch.

Tootoo's hit on Mike Modano, which precipitated the incident, was a little high, but legal. Robidas was skating towards Tootoo, and before he could engage Tootoo, he was met with a huge haymaker. The announcer in this clip says "I don't wanna say what this reminds me of". Others will speculate that he means some other hockey incident, but the first thing I thought of was Kermit Washington laying out Rudy Tomjonavich in an NBA game 30 years ago. It's almost exactly the same.

There are those who will say that Robidas was intending to fight, so he should have expected the punch. Not like that, though. The key thing is that just as Kermit Washington and Rudy T weren't engaged, Tootoo and Robidas were not.

As repulsive as the punch was, there's also no excuse for what Mike Modano did next. The slash to Tootoo's back was quite ugly, and should warrant a multi-game suspension.

In this very ugly turn of events, the referees dropped the ball when they sorted everything out.
  1. Instead of being issued a gross misconduct penalty and an instigator, and an ejection, Tootoo was given a double minor for roughing. At the end of the day, it doesn't make much of a difference because the double minor lasted for the remainder of the game, but they still need to make the right call.
  2. Stephane Robidas was given a two minute charging penalty on the play. Huh? He never even made contact with Tootoo. His feet never left the ice, except after he was knocked out. Where's the charging?
  3. Mike Modano was not penalized for slashing the bejeezus out of Tootoo's back. It wasn't a whole lot different than the Chris Simon thing. That's completely disgusting.

Like with the Cam Janssen/Tomas Kaberle incident (more on Janssen later), there are a few kudos to be handed out.
  • Preds players JP Dumont, Paul Kariya and Kimmo Timonen were class acts. They immediately realized the seriousness of the situation, helped the Stars' medical staff get situated on the ice, and showed concern for the injured player.
  • the organist kept quiet during the delay. It was really tacky when the Devils organist kept going while Tomas Kaberle was being tended to.

I expect the League to look at the tape and hand out some suspensions. Modano should get at least two games for his stickwork. Tootoo should get at least five for his punch.

I will say again. The League is going to have to get serious about penalizing players for doing stupid shit. This is the latest in what is becoming a long list of "stupid shit".


Chris said...

I don't know. Robidas is leading with his arms (elbows) to hit Tootoo and, for a split second, Tootoo had his back to him. I think what Modano did (the stickwork) is more troublesome than what Tootoo did - it's just that Robidas opened himself up and got decked, much like what happened to Jesse Boulerice vs. Aaron Downey a couple of years back.

It's unfortunate and I'm sure he didn't intend for the guy to leave on a stretcher, but if fighting is an accepted part of the game, this sort of thing will happen. He didn't ambush him ala Bertuzzi.

d-lee said...

Nope. This isn't the same. I specifically pointed to the fact that Robidas and Tootoo weren't engaged to differentiate it from an ass-whooping in a fight. Boulerice and Downey were fully engaged, gloves dropped, squared off.
We have no idea, and we'll never know what Robidas' specific intention was because Tootoo crossed the line in his "self-defence". My simpleminded opinion, though, is that he was going to give him a shove, maybe a facewash, then engage him in fisticuffs just like most fights are started.

Chris said...

It looked to me that he was trying to hit him with a check from behind (hence the charging call on the ice). Just my interpretation.

That's not to say that Tootoo was right in what he did, but it was an understandable reaction.


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