Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canucks Penalty Call Conspiracy?

The Province's Tony Gallagher has a conspiracy theory.  It's been mentioned on a few Canucks broadcasts lately that the Canucks are not getting many penalty calls these days.  More specifically, teams like Phoenix and other teams that the NHL would like to encourage to be better to generate revenue/fans are getting the benefit of many calls.

Let's review some stats that aren't readily available.  5-on-3 time, power play proficiency month over month, and who gets more calls each night.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Matt Cooke Elbows McDonagh

Pittsburgh Penguins' winger Matt Cooke is rapidly becoming the NHL's most hated player for his objectionable play.  This afternoon versus the New York Rangers, Cooke delivered an elbow to the head of New York Rangers' player Ryan McDonagh.

Matt Cooke has been in the news multiple times over the past couple of years for 'questionable' hits.  Speculation from the media at this point is that the NHL will want to deliver a message after its recent General Manager meetings and five-point plan to combat headshots in the game.  Video of this most recent incident can be seen below:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Burrows - Fiddler crosscheck snaps streak

Fiddler on the Ice
In a game where Phoenix Coyotes backup goaltender Jason Labarbera and Canucks' Roberto Luongo were stealing the show, Alex Burrows and Vern Fiddler stole the spotlight from them on a controversial play that will no doubt dominate Vancouver sports radio airwaves for the next few days.

Alex Burrows skated in to strip the puck from Fiddler.  Burrows appears to slash Fiddler and gently give him a nudge on his way down, forcing Fiddler into the boards.  Compared to other similar plays, including the Alex Ponikarovsky hit on Canucks' Dan Hamhuis last week, the play likely should have warranted a two minute minor.  Referee Kelly Sutherland however ruled it to be worthy of a 5-minute major and game misconduct.

NHL Discipline: Suspended in Disbelief

A frequent topic of discussion in the NHL right now is supplemental discipline.  Head shots or not, the league has been under fire from all angles for the seemingly arbitrary and strange 'dartboard' of justice.  Two similar plays can warrant a two game suspension, a 10 game suspension, or maybe not even a minor penalty.

The decisions have always seemed vexing and overly arbitrary to me.  The NHL brass, or at least the chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell and commissioner Gary Bettman will often cite mitigating circumstances such as the lack of history of offenses for the player in question, the score of the game, the time remaining in the game, etc.  While some of those should probably enter the equation to some level, the NHL could really benefit from some fundamental theories of punishment from people that have studied it within our society.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bertuzzi Moore Saga Deserves Perspective

It's been a long road since March 8, 2004.  The night Todd Bertuzzi punched Steve Moore in the back of the head and changed the course of people's lives, and those of the franchises involved in that game.  As we stand here now on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the incident, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun has offered an update and some insight into the Moore Camp as they prepare for trial.

The Crime
I was at the game that night.  Ironically, I was taking my university roommate from Turkey to his first NHL game that night.  Boy what an experience that was.  As a Canucks fan taking in that game, I'd given up hope on the home team winning that night, as it was quickly 5-0 and wound up 9-2.  The game was a powder keg, just waiting to explode.  The Avalanche that season were full of talent and enforcers and very little in between.