CASE STUDY: One of the things wrong with the NHL

Talk about Deja Vu. I saw this story on 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.”


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.

40 Responses to CASE STUDY: One of the things wrong with the NHL

  1. Dober says:

    Man, that’s a good article u wrote. I would have to agree with pretty much everything u wrote it in.

    I hope they do take out the instigating rule. It’s crap especially if officials are not gonna call those cheap and dirty hits. Saying that, i do think the hit on Naslund was border line dirty. But even still why should these officials give leading scorers special respect. If its a dirty hit, its a dirty hit regardless of who the player is. I didn’t like how Crawford came out said it the way he did.

    No i’m not a Canucks Basher , i am a leafs fan who roots for all Canadian teams. I’m just giving my opinion.

  2. Habfanforever says:

    Whether a hit is clean is always up to NHL front office. The receiving end will say he’s guilty (Crawford, Burke) while the other party will definately say otherwise. As far as the rules being enforced, it has always been a consistency problem on the part of the referees. Teams do need enforcers because there will always be “cheap shots” and you can not always rely on the NHL for reprimanding those who are guilty. Anyways, doesn’t it hurt more getting your face pummeled for a knee on knee hit rather than getting a 2 games suspension?

  3. shotnthdark says:

    I understand Burke’s and Crawford’s comments, they represent their team, and they felt they had to say something. I also agree with the original poster in saying that Crawford’s statement comes off as too whiny. Yes, Naslund was felled and sent to the hospital. As a hockey fan, I don’t like seeing players get hurt in that manner. My umbrance with Crawford’s statement is that it makes it seem that the higher a player’s skill level and stats, the more leeway they should receive in making calls. I didn’t see the hit, and I am an Avs fan, but if it was in fact a dirty hit, then the league should step in, BUT the right way to deal with it is for Naslund’s teammates to stand up for him. Like I said, I did not see the game, but a team that plays as a team will stand up for their teammates, and, like was said, the (stupid) instigator rule penalizes a player for defending his team.

  4. Nyteshades says:

    Crawford is anything but a class act. At the same time he’s screaming about Naslund, Ruutu pins Forsberg’s along the boards causing Forsberg to get a penality. It was a bad call, but there is Crawford with his shit eating grin. Personally I think Crawford is a goon and needs to be in the federal league.

    Neither team played up to their potential last night. It was a choppy game with abosultely no flow, both teams are better than that.

    I fully agree with your article, there’s no reason why refs or the league should treat anyone more valuable than other.

    All I can say in response to Crawford and Naslund is to quote Chris Tucker from Friday….

    “you got knocked the f*%^ out …….man!!!”

  5. CanuckXpert says:

    I agree with you about the instigator rule. Allow me to try and explain Marc Crawford’s argument.

    When Crawford was in the league, this wouldn’t happen. Some little punk rookie would not come up and cheapshot the opposition’s best player. Moore isn’t capable of defending himself against the Canucks (Brad May, Wade Brookbank etc… hell even Ruutu could take him) but he went out and made this hit anyways. If the players aren’t able to defend their stars, then the Refs better do their job extra well. Of course there’s a lot more upside to injuring Markus Naslund than injuring Ruutu, so the refs better keep an eye on the stars because with the instigator rule in place, the stars are marked men.

    Naslund took a brutal elbow to the side of the face. I saw the replay. If you had seen Naslund play all year, you would know there’s no way he would get laid out by a punk rookie if it was clean. I haven’t seen Naslund get smoked like that all year long. He clearly got hit from well below Moore’s shoulder.

    Back to Burke and Crawford’s comments, you should try to understand their frustration. Moore laid a huge elbow on Naslund at centre ice, the stick went flying, Naslund lay motionless, and then bled all over the ice and left the game with a concussion. Brad May went straight after Moore, dropped the gloves, and was barely able to lay a hand on Moore because the Refs held him back. May gets a roughing penalty for barely touching someone (not a single punch landed, barely any contact) and Moore gets away with his cheap shot.

    As for Crawford, take him for what he is. When he played in the league he was a dirty player, and now you expect him to be a “class act”? Why? He wants to win as much as anyone, and that’s all we ask of him. We have other guys in the organization to cover the PR. Yes, Ruutu made the refs looks stupid by drawing penalties all over the place last night. But you think Crawford was happy about that? If anything, it just reinforced the issue: the Refs were NOT doing their job last night, at all. Forsberg took a blatant high stick to the face that went uncalled (it was on the “follow through” but should have been called if you ask me) and Ruutu stole Forsberg’s stick when he went to the bench, resulting in a COLORADO penalty.

    Basically, the reffing of last night’s game was patchy, allowing all kinds of instigating, because as usual, they weren’t calling the first penalties, they were calling the retaliation. Anyways I blame the refs as usual, lets just move forward.

  6. Donovan says:

    Whats wrong with the NHL is the lack of Dave Semenkos and Marty McSorelys. By encouraging the finnesse aspect and getting rid of tougher players, the skilled pansies are at a greater risk. If you look at most of the injuries its a Euro-trash highsticking another Eurot-trash. Back in the old days if someone took a run at Howe, he’d either get killed right there, or get killed on the next shift. Now nobody does anything and these pansies think they can do anything and not face retaliation.

  7. Treva says:

    As stated above, I am a canuck fan, not a fanatic, a fan. I saw the hit and I think the following, it wasn’t a cheap hit, but at the same time Moore wasn’t going for the puck- he went for Naslund. Naslund was in a awkward position, that is why he was hurt, if I were Moore I would have done the same thing.

    I was disappointed that May or Brookbank didn’t beat the shit out of Moore the next shift, regardless of the instigator rule, as if we really need Brookbank to win the game.

    Ruutu on Forsberg was great, and the part where Ruutu hopped on the bench (Pete’s stick was taken by another canuck), was classic and smart – forsberg could have got into the play faster by skating the three feet to his bench and getting a new stick. Ruutu played a great game and Forsberg bought it hook line and sinker, and was rendered ineffective.

  8. Treva says:

    I thought last nights game was great, the forsberg/ruutu thing was a fun side show, Selanne had some good chances and Aebisher made a few good stops. There was emotion in the game, the refs made some pretty strange calls, and non calls. Poor officiating makes for a bad flowing game, but it was better than watching eastern teams beat the shit out of the penguins.

  9. Treva says:

    It is always good to see emotion from the coaches, and players. The NHL is way to bland, there needs to be more characters, it makes for good news and much needed publicity. The NBA has guys getting in crap for drugs, but any publicity is good publicity. NHLers need to have more attitude, whenever they are interviewed (with a few exceptions – bertuzzi, hull and JR) you know the answers before the question is finished.

  10. comrie44 says:


    The hit on Naslund WAS dirty and now hes gone with a concussion.

    Why would a kid hit him? Why wouldn’t he!? to get a reputation thats why, how else would a dirtbag like him stick around in this league!

    and youre wondering why Crawford was whining? If you lost the best player in the league to a cheap shot and got no call you’d be PO’d too!

    Dont ever compare Lindros to Markus Naslund again, it makes me sick. Sather hates Lindros anyways.

    Steve Moore could have ended Naslunds career with that hit, while reports say he’ll only be out for a week, lord knows the kind of long term effects that can have. Moore is a dead man walking. If this was real hockey he’d be eating through a straw right now.

    Thats Naslunds 1st concussion and the 2nd is never far off…

  11. Next_Semenko says:

    Finally music to my ears…getting rid of the instigating rule! There are way to many ppl hiding behind their skirts out there on the ice..or should I say visors. If you want to take runs at star players like Naslund you should be able to take the consequences of doing so…

    The NHL shouldn’t sit on the fence for this issue. In any teams promotional videos trying to sell the game, they are always filled with many fights and bone-crushing hits. Yet talk to some executives in the NHL head office and they would make you think otherwise. If fighting would bring more of a fan base to the sport, and protect star players at the same time…how can you go wrong?

  12. AvsOwnYou says:

    Why wouldn’t Moore put in a hit like that if the opportunity came up. Naslund should have kept his head up.


    Crawford is dumb.

  13. redwings20 says:

    I think Naslund should resort to playing basketball, and maybe you should watch it instead of hockey. Hockey is a contact sport and Naslund needs to suck it up and stop being a little bitch. Injuries happen in hockey, deal with it. He shouldn’t get any special treatment, who cares that he is a star, hitting is legal on ALL players.

  14. sharksfan101 says:

    Finally someone who says the instigator needs to be abolished. My take on this is your always taught not to put your head down and why was Naslund skating through center ice with his head down. If the chance is there I would have hit him.

    I response to your Gretz. analogy you are bang on when someone breathed on gretz. cement head gave them five reasons to stay away.

    As for Marc Crawford his just crying because colorado exploited thier biggest weakness. Which is they are soft. Where was the retrobution for the hit?

    Again I say if you want all the cheap shots gone let the players police themselves, it worked for over 50 years why did it have to change.

  15. JC21 says:

    Most of you watched the replay, but you didn’t see what actully happened. NASLUND NEVER TOUCHED THE PUCK. He was reaching for it, but Moore chipped it away and CHARGED AWAY FROM THE PUCK to elbow Naslund in the head. Naslund had his head down, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for Moore to skate out of his way to hit him.

    In a 0-0 game against a divisional rival, there’s no way the Canucks could have retaliated anymore. The Colorado Avalanche are first in the league on the PP, and they were already receiving powerplay after powerplay. With May’s penalty and with an instigator penalty, the Canucks would have been put in a 5-3 situation, and that just couldn’t happen. Instead of going after Moore, May should have gone straight after Kariya and elbow him in the face. It’s nothing personal, but it would be a more effective lesson than fighting Moore (who could easily just grab on and fall down).

  16. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    I thought it was a clean hit, Naslund just wasnt watching for a second and it cost him.

  17. comrie44 says:

    “He shouldn’t get any special treatment..”

    Like Yzerman never got any?

    “Naslund needs to suck it up and stop being a little bitch”

    WTF do you think hes doing right now? Open your eyes you hypocrite.

  18. comrie44 says:

    “Naslund should have kept his head up.”

    If you’re implying that Naslund didn’t see Moore coming you need to watch the play again.

  19. Aetherial says:

    I can understand Canuck fans being pissed off.

    However, the kid who hit Naslund did not raise his elbow. look again

    If Naslund was not either falling or chicken-shit ducking he never would have got hit with an elbow.

    His head was AT THE LEVEL of the guys elbow… get a f*cking grip. I haev seen WAY worse hits than that.

    Yeah we need to get rid of the instigator rule.

    I also wonder how come two refs can’t seem to make a call these days. Players are getting their retinas detached and torn with high sticks and not even a f*cking call from 2 refs?

    What Roenick complained about and what happened to Nolan and Tucker and Marchment (and that’s just the guys from one team) this year is a WAY worse offense than a hit which was at worst questionable.

    I guaran damn tee you that if Naslund had of hit the kid the canuck fans definitely would not be whining their asses off on this board.

    Take your skirts off girls.

  20. Aetherial says:

    excellent article Matteo

  21. matteo says:

    I saw the article on HTR and it really pissed me off that Crawford was complaining like a 10 year old girl who just lost her doll. It just sickened me. If it pissed him off that much why didn’t he send someone out to take care of it.

    Take out the instigator penalty and players will think twice before they run at a top player.

  22. scottyboy says:

    I am glad someone finally came out and said this.

    Everybody on the ice, except for the goalies when their in the crease, is fair game and if the talented players feel that they can play witht their head down then they deserve to get their bell rung, and if they can’t handle it….too bad! Just because these players have excetional talent does not mean they have different rights than the bangers. They already get paid more money, why does that allow them to be separated from the rest of the players? Injuries are part of the game…get used to it.

  23. Chris32 says:

    I am a Canucks fan, I think that hit was a cheap shot but I don’t care which player got hit at least we should get a call for it.

    If this happened to any other team Toronto or Ottawa you guys would break down crying and defending your team wouldnt you?

    So next time someone gets fucking laid out for a week im going oo come here and flame whoever is a fan of that team.

  24. Next_Semenko says:

    Wipe your pussy off boy, Mogilny has been out 40 games…and the injury parade has been a long one for the Leafs…even the Sens of late….Naslunds boo boo is nothing…

    Take a puck to the face like JR and than will talk…

  25. stoptya says:

    Great article. You are absolutely correct on every issue. well done !!! The refs shit the bed once again. Happens about 2-3 times a week now where they blow a game. They need to realize that the fans aren’t there to see them, so they need to stop drawing attention to themselves by being so consistently brutal. If anyone else did that poorly at their job, day in and day out, they would certainly be fired. BooHoo for Crawford and all those poor Canucks and their fans. Learning to skate with your head up is one of the first things they teach in hockey. Naslund must of missed that day when he was getting fitted for his visor. Bring back the tough guys and let the players police themselves like the good old days when players had respect for each other and the superstars were protected by the unwritten rule. If the NHL feels that fighting needs to be abolished entirely because the fans dont enjoy it, should have been in Edmonton last week to see 20,000 cheering fans going nuts during a line brawl with Atlanta. Mr Bettman seems to think that changing goalie pads will fill the seats of all the empty arenas accross the league, but why not try offering the fans a quality hard fought game like the 70’s and 80’s and not a bunch of whining, overrated, overpaid tits who would fit in better at an Anne Murray concert

  26. dkball7 says:

    Fan stands for fanatic…

  27. TheTruth says:

    You dumb fuck.

    Firstly I saw the replay in slomo over and over. The kid (moore) was going to miss as Naslund started to pull his head back to avoid contact. The ELBOW was going to pass buy but at the last second Moore extended his elbow 2-3 inches, just enough to make solid contact with Naslunds head.

    Secondly what fuckin dumb brained cunt – states in one sentence that that the instigator rule should be removed so the enforcers can eliminate cheapshots on superstars. While stating in a previous sentence that the superstars should be fair game and “keep their heads up.” Hey shit for brains, it makes NO difference whether the game is policed by enforcers or by referees. Both options would be there to prevent dirty hits. You contradicted yourself.

    By the way, all the nucks were suggesting that Moore is marked. I say leave him be, thats right don’t lay a finger on him. Lets get May, Brookbank, Ruutu, Cooke, Bertuzzi and Grenier to run, charge Hi stick, elbow, slash all the Avs superstars. I’ll bet they don’t take liberties afetr that happens.

  28. matteo says:

    You are as dumb as you are ignorant. The moral of the story is….”don’t whine like a little bitch when your star player takes a big hit…..send someone out after the guy or take out one of thier top players.”

    The Nucks looked gutless that game. Sure they went after the guy and tried to fight him once. That guy should have been picking up his teeth after that game…..gutless. If you won’t throw a few punches and take a few penalties to protect your star player then you don’t deserve to have one.

    The other end of that argument is that the NHL and the refs are doing next to nothing to prevent people from taking runs at star players…..therefore players need to take charge and teams need to regulate that crap. As I stated before….players rarely, if ever, took a run at gretz back in the day….because if they did the whole Oilers bench would have collectively shoved a stick up their ass.

    I suggest you take a few reading comprehension classes somewhere. Next time I will use smaller words and a purple dinosaur to illustrate my point so that idiots that read on a 4th grade level like you can even understand. How is this…

    See Markus Skate. See Markus look down. Don’t look down Markus. See Moore hit Markus. See Markus bleed. Marc get’s angry. See Marc Cry.

  29. TheDuk says:

    Sniff, sniff… Somebody cutting an onion around here? I think I’m welling up.

    Go ahead an run the Avs stars… then when the Avs walk out of your rink with an 8 -1 win due to all the PPs they get, you’ll probably turn around and whine about how the refs were biased. Get a clue.

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  31. Aetherial says:

    Even if he did lean into it or extend his arm out…

    How many times does someone have to lean in for a hit?

    It happens ALL GAME EVERY GAME! A player is going to miss with a hit so he lunges out, leans out, sticks his leg out… whatever.

    The FACT is, the kid did not run at Naslund with his elbow head him and plaster him into the boards.

    Naslund had his head down around elbow level. It was a tough break.

  32. TheTruth says:

    Ha Ha I’ll take you on in any IQ test any day any time. I wasn’t educated in North America which should put this debate to rest right away.

  33. TheTruth says:

    Ha Ha so now what you guys are telling me is if we run the Avs players were going to get penalised and lose. Right?????

    Well wich way is it? Everyone has been saying how the nucks were soft and didn’t gun for Moore. May tried but the refs grabbed him before he could land a punch, and then gave him a roughing penalty for the intent to rough the guy up.

    So in all your infinite wisdom you’ve managed to say that the nucks, playing their biggest game of the season should have spent the night chasing Moore around trying to clobber him. While in the next breath stating that if the nucks chase around the Avs players they will lose the game due to penalties.

  34. drury23 says:

    Man I’m tired of all you whiny Canuck fans. Why is it that whenever – excuse me, take out the whenever, because you have lost to us for the past 9 years – you lose, you always need to cry about something. It was a clean hit, if you have never played hockey, then you wouldn’t know that it was a clean hit. Just because someone gets hurt doesn’t mean that it is dirty. You know what, Steve Moore must be a goon, with his going to Harvard and all, man all those Harvard kids are such a problem in the world today. Besides, if anyone went after Moore, guess who would have jumped in? PETER WORRELL. We win. Again. You guys should be used to it by now.

  35. TheTruth says:

    Its irrelevant where Naslunds head is. If the player runs someone with an elbow its a penalty. Give him 2 for the accidental elbow ( if the refs thought it was accidental). Same as a high stick, not all high sticks are on purpose. The only chance of getting away with a high stick is if it was on a follow through. Ruutu should have gotten at least 2 minutes for blatantly high sticking Forsburg, but the refs knew they had fucked up so they used the follow through rule to not call the penalty because they were guilty.

  36. dave1979 says:

    you win. again. who won the game fucko? THE CANUCKS thats who. i would love to see peter worrell jump in because we would have sent brookbank in to knock his monkey ass out. i just hope that on the 3rd of march when we play again that ruutu goes and takes out the best player you have (fagsberg) so the bullshit team you have will stop riding him like a bicycle.

  37. redwings20 says:

    When has Yzerman ever had special treatment? He sure didn’t get any when he got high sticked by Adam Foote. Foote deserved to get suspended but did you hear Yzerman, Lewis, or Holland bitch that he didn’t. HELL NO. Yzerman said he didn’t hold a grude against Foote. The Canucks need to quick crying every time something happens to them, esp. Burke and Crawford. Those 2 are jokes.

  38. drury23 says:

    you’re a moron. please look at the standings, then get back to me. and don’t talk to me about winning, cause the cancuks haven’t done anything in the last ten years….. oh wait, they’ve been to the finals, once, in the last ten years… but alas, as always, they lost. now lets talk about who has won: 1996, and 2001. once again, you lose. you guys cannot talk crap until you at least win a division title… we have won the past 9… yeah thats right NINE. im sorry but you lose again.

    dont get scared because we have the best player in the world, and i’m pretty sure we are not riding him… at least not in the sense that your boyfriend rides you.

  39. dave1979 says:

    yeah…must be nice to be able to buy all those division titles and stanley cups……..way to go assbag!

  40. drury23 says:

    you’re right… if you can’t buying as amazing drafts….lets see, how much did tanguay, hedjuk, sakic, aebischer cost? oh wait… we drafted them… then there’s forsberg, who we get from the flyers for eric lindross. wait, aren’t we the francise that also drafted mats sundin? what about owen nolan? oh yeah! that was us too. just because we have the depth to make good trades does not mean that we bought the teams, because the think the word you were looking for is trade. you see we traded for ray bourque, we traded for rob blake, we traded for patrick roy. please tell me the big name free agents that we brought in to win those 9 division titles… because I think you got nothing. and don’t give me crap about resigning our own guys, because keeping a team together is not buying a team.

    and by the way – just like a typical canucks fan… you always gotta use the language, makes you sound like an idiot. “way to go assbag!” that’s a good one! i’ll bet that you picked that one up last year in seventh grade. goodluck in gym class!

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