CASE STUDY: One of the things wrong with the NHL

Talk about Deja Vu. I saw this story on TSN.ca and it immediately struck me as something that was very wrong with the NHL that could be easily fixed. I picked out some quotes from both parties and will offer my opinion at the end.———————————————

“The hit that sent Canucks captain Markus Naslund to hospital was a cheap shot by a marginal player, Vancouver GM Brian Burke charged Tuesday. “I thought it was a cheap shot.”

On the play, Naslund was stretching for a loose puck and Moore swerved into him at high speed, striking him with his shoulder and arm. Some television replays indicated Moore might have hit Naslund with his elbow.

“That was a cheap shot by a young kid on a captain, the leading scorer in the league, and we get no call,” Crawford fumed in a post-game interview. “That is ridiculous. How does that happen? Why is there no respect from those referees for the leading scorer in the league? I do not understand that for the life of me.”

“He hit him with his shoulder,” Granato told the Rocky Mountain News. “It’s very unfortunate when someone gets hurt and leaves the game, especially a player like (Naslund), but it’s hockey.”

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My take – Keep your head up Markus. I agree with Tony Granato that it was a clean hit.

Crawfords mindset, however, screams of what is wrong with the NHL. Why the hell should a young guy trying to stay with an NHL club have to pull up on a hit – especially when it is a chance to nail the other teams captain. This is about as pathetic and whiny a statement as I have ever heard…. waaahhhh Crawford….Wahhh…keep crying.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember Sather crying and carrying on about the Doig hit on Lindros. He may have said a few things, but after reading this I wanted to contribute money to the “Have Marc Crawfords Balls Reattached Fund.”

In the 80’s players rarely took runs at the other teams stars….WHY you ask? Because if someone took a run at Gretzky then 3 or 4 different Oilers were going to hit him with a bag of knuckles. This goes back directly to the instigator rule and why it needs to be taken out of the game.

If the NHL can’t protect it’s superstars then maybe it is time for the individual teams to take that charge back. The NHL says people don’t like fighting – I say bullcrap.

What difference should it make that it was the league’s leading scorer or a team’s captain – EASY ANSWER – it shouldn’t make any difference. Players have no fear of running Naslund, Lindros, or anyone else because they are not accountable anymore. (At least Lindros tried to fight Doig after the hit.) The old rivalries are gone along with the game’s great enforcers. There was a time when you watched a hockey game and knew that at some point Domi and Probert were going to drop the mitts – and you sat there and waited for it. It was an integral part of the game and it is sorely needed.

Although, I don’t think you can ever totally resurrect the enforcer role. Players have since become million dollar babies and just don’t play the game with the passion and emotion that players once did. That is part of the Reason I like players like Roenick who go out there and bust their ass and put it on the line regardless of the money and thier new-found celebrity. Those are the guys I want on my team.

Nowadays there are punks like Bobby Holik who throw marginal cheap shot after cheap shot and never back it up with fists….to me that is cowardly (regardless of whether he visits people in the hospital) Players should protect their teammates and be accountable on the ice for their actions. Like Granato says….in the end…”It’s still hockey.”

I really want to hear from Canucks fans about this as well as everyone else. Am I off-track, or do you think that teams need to police their own house.


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