Monday, April 16, 2012

Having our cake and eating it too... Leave hockey alone

Logo for 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs
Logo for 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is a good example of the disconnect between the fans and the media. To quote Don Cherry, "Quite whining that this stuff hasn't been going on and it's not hockey, it's hockey the way it's played and if you don't like it take up tennis, Cherry added. I can see these guys playing tennis these reporters, that's sweet love in their little white shorts."
Bruce Arthur, National Post --- In fact, the playoffs were careering into dangerous places without him. All across the NHL waves of violence — both typical and excessive — have swept across the game. Elbows, fights, concussions, the most penalty minutes in at least five years and four suspensions (and counting, pending further decisions on Game 3 in the Penguins-Flyers series) in the first 17 games played. There were four suspensions in the entirety of the 2011 playoffs.
Here is the crux of the article, the players and the fans are enjoying this years Stanley Cup Playoff games, or they wouldn't watch the games. The players wouldn't play the games if they didn't enjoy the game of hockey.
Timonen was not talking about hurting people, though. Few will argue that animosity and emotion are not a reason why playoff hockey can be great. Ask most players, and their eyes shine when they talk about it.

“That’s the way hockey should be,” Brière said. “It’s intense. Players are passionate, coaches are passionate, fans are passionate. This is what it’s all about. You come to a game, you want to see passionate teams go at it. You don’t want a boring game, with nothing going on. I think people that paid a price to come watch a playoff game, that’s what they want to see. 
That being said, that doesn't mean I don't want the perpetrators punished that need to be punished but, the rough and tumble hockey is fun to watch. The other night L.A. Kings forward Dustin Brown hit Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin with a legal  hard check. Point blank, Brown steam rolled Sedin and it was an awesome hockey play that happens hundreds of times during the National Hockey League's 82 game season. Again, if you don't like it go watch baseball.

As we used to say, get off of the track if you don't want to get run over by the train.

True to form, the whining coming out of the Vancouver fan base is excessive.

Seriously, there are hockey fans out there that want those types of hits taken out of the game of hockey. Why? Maybe they don't understand the game of hockey. It's part of the game... So there are people that want to take out the fights and the scrums and the extra b.s. and then the hitting as well and you will be left with Ice Capades.

We live in a gladiator society and people want to see bone crushing body checks, scrums checks and an occasional fights, we don't want to see the game of hockey wussified. I don't know many people that want t to see this European brand of hockey that's played on Olympic sheets of ice where there is no hitting and little action.

That's not to say that Brendan Shanahan the Vice President of Player Safety hasn't dropped the ball in the playoffs, because he has. The one game suspension to Matt Carkner for attacking Brian Boyle was a head scratchier and it will be interesting to see the ruling from the NHL going forward but I think we have been fortunate to be highly entertained during the first week of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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