Grinds-my-gears1

Grinds My Gears

In the wake of the most controversial aspect of last night’s game, Andrew Desjardin’s hit on Jamal Mayers and Duncan Keith’s subsequent response, I’d like to offer a long form dissenting opinion to Sam’s approval of the actions taken.

My distaste of situations like this is well documented, and have repeatedly suffered the slings and arrows from the masses for it. But just to restate it as plainly as possible, retaliation in the form of a fight for a legal, borderline, or illegal hit in the instigator penalty era is always the wrong response, conventional hockey wisdom be damned.

Let’s first address the notion that response in the form of a fight will act as a deterrent of future similar hits being exacted. This is patently false, proven by the fact that this discussion needs to be had multiple times in a season. Did John Scott fighting Derek Engelland after he put a shot on Marcus Kruger prevent Raffi Torres from launching himself into Marian Hossa? And after that, did Brandon Bollig’s scrap with Torres make Desjardins think twice before blowing up Mayers? There are countless other examples to be taken from different teams, both finesse (“soft” or “weak” to Meatball Nation) and “tough”.

Next is the idea that not responding in this fashion in someway impugns the toughness and masculinity of the team, the city, and its fanbase. This is outmoded bullshit as well. Let’s take a look at an exhibit with a familiar face from a few years ago.

While the hit Soupy laid on Umberger resulted in a bit of grabass with matching roughing minors, there was no actual fight that took place. Think anyone then therefore questioned the “toughness” of a team with Derian Hatcher and Donald Brashear on it? And any player who isn’t a complete moron would much rather be avenged on the scoreboard in the form of a W than via a meaningless 30 second fight. This culture shift has to be instilled at every level of hockey, and it’s time the NHL and its players took a top down approach to the situation.

Furthermore, responding in such a way often times not only doesn’t deter a team from taking such hits, it flat out encourages them. Case in point: last year against the Penguins, Engelland pops Kruger, Scott fights Engelland, Pens to the power play, where they would score the eventual game-winning goal. Whether a call is penalized at the time or not, the resulting punishment, be it an in game penalty or a suspension after the fact, a fight with an instigator attached to it mitigates the effect of those punishments, making it a worthwhile risk versus reward situation. Obviously the first part of the solution is to improve the in game officiating, be it through the training of the zebras, or the ability to make such hits reviewable to be able to get it right (as was the case with Torres). The other onus is on the players to police themselves, but as adults, not in the form of vigilante justice. If the other cheek is turned and the resulting power plays are cashed in on and suspensions provide ripple effects through a roster’s depth, players who frequently violate this will either play themselves out of the league, or be forced to adapt. Nothing speaks louder than the bottom line, as wins and losses as a result of a player’s actions turn him into a liability. Matt Cooke, he who once burgled all the turds with his relentless cheap-shottery, managed to reform himself and actually turn into a useful player for the Penguins. So change is possible for those that are willing.

The instigator rule is one that is not going away any time soon, and such is the culture of the league at this juncture in time, as it has been since the rule’s introduction. It’s time for players to deal with that reality on its terms, rather than trying to police the game the old fashioned way. That way is dying, and it’s time everyone at every level get on the right side of history.

  • JesusMarianHossa

    I disagree with you at times, McClure, but this is certainly not one of those times. The only thing left to be included in this post is Vinny and Iginla’s fight from the Finals because those are the only type of fights that I think matter, and should remain, in hockey.

    The instigator rule is one that is not going away any time soon

    I feel like you wrote that specifically for laaaaarmer (not picking on him, just sayin’)

  • 334Rules

    I take your point, but unless and until you have a team notching PP goals at better than 50%, “making them pay” on the scoreboard isn’t going to act as much of a deterrent, either. The only thing that will effectively deter it is swift and lengthy suspensions. We thought at the outset that the Shan-hammer was on the right track for that, ’til it devolved into something not much better than the original Wheel of Justice.

    • Paul the Fossil

      Sadly this is entirely correct.

    • JesusMarianHossa

      but unless and until you have a team notching PP goals at better than 50%, “making them pay” on the scoreboard isn’t going to act as much of a deterrent, either

      Having the mere chance to dent the scoreboard via a powerplay gives the team that was the victim of a questionable hit an advantage. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Having an advantage for 8.3% of a hockey game may not sound like a lot, but it’s better than nothing.

  • mightymikeD

    Agree 100%, and a more eloquent expression of my beliefs than I could manage. Maybe it’s because I’m a newcomer to hockey, but I’ve had zero time for all this “Code” stuff.. and that’s not because I’m some wimpy Euro.. I’ve been a Rugby fan (and also played the game) for as long as I can remember: a full-contact, hard sport that doesn’t feel the need to have people fight because they “Should”.

    Greatest example I’ve seen of the right response to physical intimidation was the Nucks vs Bruins tilt in January last year: the Bruins brought the dumb aggro and the Nucks made them pay, over and over, on the PP. That’s yer answer.

  • Paul the Fossil

    Has anybody seen any real (meaning not anecdotal) analysis of how things are going in the Canadian junior league that instituted a fighting ban a year or so ago?

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewCieslak Andrew Cieslak

    The best recent example of how fucked up this league is really was Stuart’s hit on Landeskog. After the hit, Stuart was jumped by O’Byrne who got in a few good shots but ultimately left the Avs without their best player from the hit and on a long penalty kill on which the Sharks scored twice.

    So the Sharks basically were rewarded for a head shot with two goals.

    There’s your karmic justice in today’s NHL.

    • DaveM36

      That’s so fucking backwards it’s beyond ridiculous.

    • justforkicks

      And now Ladeskog is concussed and Stuart didn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

      Reminded me of how we went on the PK after Torres took out Hossa. Really fucked up

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Exactly my point. They’ll be another shit, another game, many chances to light the offender up in the course of play.

  • DaveM36

    I agree with so much of this, particularly the point about the effect of the instigator rule in this whole process.

    I can’t decide if this fits in with more of that “old thinking” regarding the fighting rules, but I feel like the knowledge that your teammates are willing/ready to throw down on your behalf has to have some sort of positive effect. I don’t expect every locker room to be filled with 25 guys who are all best friends, but I feel like they should, at least, have that much confidence in each other on the ice.

  • detroit must die

    Couldn’t agree more. My only response to Keith’s dumbassery, was great we just squandered (an albeit, ill-gotten) match penalty. stupid.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      While I don’t disagree with the sentiment that the fight was in and of itself useless, I think there’s also a very good chance that there would have been no match penalty if Keith hadn’t gone after Desjardin. Consider 2 things: first of all, Mayers was not hurt – he was slow to get up but that’s because he saw that play had stopped as Keith and Desjardin were going at it so he took his time. Had Keith not gone after Desjardan Mayers would have gotten right back up and re-joined the play. Secondly, apparently the referees weren’t going to call the penalty but one of the linesmen was SURE that it had been a headshot and his being so adamant convinced the refs.

      If Keith hadn’t gone after Desjardin not only would that linesman not have had an immediate opportunity to confer with the other officials and convince them that the hit was a blow to the head, but Mayers re-joining the play and being no the worse for wear would have probably convinced that linesman that he was wrong about it being a headshot or at least made his appeal to the refs much less convincing. This is a rare example, and 999 times out of 1,000 it won’t shake out that way, but in this case I highly doubt that the match penalty gets called if Keith doesn’t go after Desjardin which means that he didn’t cost the ‘Hawks anything (other than 19 minutes of his services) and in fact created 1 minute of PP and the 4 minutes of 4-on-4 during which the ‘Hawks scored the game winner.

      • detroit must die

        Alright, well consider these scenarios:

        There was the one we got, a squandered match penalty.

        In your scenario, there is no penalties period, ok.

        Consider this, what if the refs had not blown the call and Keith still reacts? then we end up having to kill a double minor penalty in that situation. It was a no win situation for Keith to jump in their. Plain and simple.

        • MySpoonIsTooBig

          Again, I still don’t disagree with you. 999 times out of 1000 what Keith did fucks the ‘Hawks because either it’s 4-on-4 for 4 minutes of what would have been a 5-minute PP (as it worked out last night), or the ‘Hawks are on the PK for 4 minutes when they would have otherwise been at full strength. In this specific situation, I believe that Keith’s did not hurt the ‘Hawks because I think it’s highly likely that no penalty his called if he doesn’t go after Desjardin. The match penalty was not squandered because without Keith instigating the fight and earning 2 for instigating and an additional 2 for doing so with a visor the match penalty doesn’t get called at all. I’m not saying that Keith should do that in the future because there’s absolutely no way of knowing beforehand that that’s the way things will shake out, I’m just saying that in this one specific instance Keith’s reaction did not hurt the ‘Hawks

          • detroit must die

            I follow you. I agree it didn’t necessarily hurt the hawks, but man, that 5 minute penalty might have really given them a chance to put this game away before the 2nd intermission

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Faker/558555424 John Faker

    i think we all can agree its so dumb to put your team in the situation by doing what Keith did. i also agree with the fact that the players DO believe in standing up for one another. most of them have just a high school education and hockey is all they know. What they know is that throughout their careers in the pros and minors is teamwork and the idea of sticking up for one another. point is, its not going to change. Its sucks, but the fans are just going to have to deal with it.

  • Leify13

    Maybe its about more than the momentum in a single game or deterrent for the future itself. That can be huge for the locker room, Norris trophy standing up for a 4th liner that can go a long way. All you heard after the 2010 team was how the locker room sucked now and blah blah well these are the things that make you tighter as a unit. Going to battle for each other only sets the tone for the identity of the team itself.

  • nextgame

    “…trying to police the game the old fashioned way. That way is dying,…”

    Unfortunately, it will likely be a slow, protracted, painful death. That thinking is so ingrained in the hockey culture at all levels that it will probably take several generations for it to disappear, if it ever does.

    I think there is a place for fighting in the game of hockey as an outlet for aggression, anger and frustration, that can naturally occur during game action, that might otherwise express itself in the form of potentially injurious stick work or illegal checks (i.e. slashes or checks from behind that can cause serious, debilitating injuries).

    But these staged bouts that have become so prevalent, and the idea that every hard hit laid upon a member of your team has to be met with answering fisticuffs is, I agree, something that can and should be eliminated from the game.

  • TheFullAmonte

    I will say that I think 99% of all of the fights that take place in hockey are pointless, but I guess I am kind of siding with Fels as I understand what Keith was thinking in this situation. It seemed like he paused for a bit before he did anything, which in my mind was him quickly thinking over the situation. It seemed like he was asking himself who was it? Desjardins, who had been looking to lay big hits all game, was it legal/a shot to the head? Which, from Mayers falling and his view probably did look like a head shot, would Mayers stick up for me in the event of a cheap shot? Answer there being a yes with an asterisk, and lastly was that partially my fault due to the pass I made? Which I think he also felt responsible for. The asterisk in this case being that Mayers does not wear a visor, so he wouldn’t get as many penalty minutes, and that Mayers is much less vital to the team than Keith is. So while I understand what Keith did, I still do not like that he did it at that time.

  • mightymikeD

    this may come as a shock, so I’ll say it in haiku format (inspired by Bob)

    many another sport
    thrive and survive really well
    without Scott or Biz

    • birdhead

      Yeah. I nearly lost my mind listening to a podcast the other day where they said that ice hockey was the only full-contact sport where plays went on longer than 30 seconds – they specifically contrasted it with American football – and that’s why fighting was important, because otherwise players would be literally killing each other on the ice if they didn’t have other ways to let off steam. It was the most bizarrely shortsighted thing I’ve heard in awhile. Hockey players are the only professional athletes unable to control themselves during full-contact sport? Sure, why not.

      • mightymikeD

        yup.

        Fighting will be gone within five years, and good riddance.

        • Paul the Fossil

          I could see _staged_ fights being gone within five years, and the John Scotts of the sport along with it, but not all fighting.

          • mightymikeD

            wanna bet?

          • The Doctor

            I’ll take that bet any day of the week. Fighting will be around for a loooooooong, long time.

          • mightymikeD

            yer on.
            wait.. I shouldn’t bet against a guy with a frickin’ time machine!

          • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

            Oh, snap! These stakes are all up in it! Wait, what are the stakes?

          • The Doctor

            The stakes can be steaks. I’m okay with steaks.

          • Z-man19

            are you going to eat another hat?

          • Paul the Fossil

            Seriously? Sure I’ll wager that fighting is still regularly occurring in the NHL as of the 2017/18 season. Pick a number that you’re comfortable with.

          • Paul the Fossil

            Which is not at all to say that I prefer that, just to be clear. I’m totally with those who are pointing out that other highly physical sports such as rugby and football manage to stay highly physical without sanctioned fistfighting.

    • wardrums

      Do they ever get into donneybrooks in hurling matches?

      • mightymikeD

        they do.. sometimes in Donnybrook (actually, no, they play Rugby there) and they get tossed out of the game and/or suspended.. because fighting is against the rules. Hurling players take out their frustration on the Sliotar.

        • wardrums

          I was just wondering – there are not many sports where you run or skate around with a weapon in your hand

  • krome

    I essentially agree.
    A team can’t let it itself get pushed around, but games and seasons are long…and one must be patient about evening up the balances on grudges.
    The time and place to even the balance is not right then and there so as to hurt the team – it is a period or game later, when no one is paying attention.

  • KenOda

    I don’t think it is dying as quickly as you think. Working at the junior level I see it all the time, almost every weekend in fact. It isn’t just stopping it at the NHL level, if young players continue to be raised in a system which big hits are answered with a fight they will continue to expect it in the NHL.

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      Which is why the NHL has to take the lead. Players at lower levels will emulate what they see there, whether they have a potential in the NHL or not.

      • KenOda

        That’s true, we’re lucky to have a former NHLer on the bench and he doesn’t push for that b.s. The coaches who do the most seem to be the guys who flamed out before making the show. Its like the less successful their playing career was the more meatbally their coaching style.

        • Paul the Fossil

          Heh, that’s true in every sport. Hell it’s true in life.

    • Paul the Fossil

      This is from November so I don’t know if the trend is holding up, but:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/sports/hockey/in-ontario-hockey-minor-league-hopes-to-limit-major-fights.html

  • fromheretoinfirmary

    While I agree with everything McClure said, I don’t think it really addressed any of the points made by Fels. I think we can all agree that (1) fighting won’t prevent future liberties from being taken in other games, (2) fighting after a clean hit is just dumb, and (3) a fight won’t necessarily alter the make up of the game.

    However, I would say that the game certainly settled down after Keith stands up for Mayers in the 2nd. Whether Keith’s actions were the direct cause of this…we can’t know for sure. But, simply put, I don’t think its outrageous to say that a players emotions boiling over and him standing up for a teammate to say “you’ve been taking shots all game, enough is enough” probably has some effect on the mindset of the other team and the mindset of the hawks. (this should of course be contrasted with a staged fight, which I believe has 0 effect on the game and is an embarrassing waste of time)

    Fels put it well: if the players BELIEVED the fight had meaning, then it had meaning.

    That said, I agree with McClure that other teams in other games aren’t gonna hold off on taking runs at hawks players because they might get fought, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t make a difference in THIS game, as evidence by the way the game settled after the fight.

    And of course, maybe a less crucial players than Keith stands up next time, but, overall, I still think fights after events like the hit on Mayers in a chippy game have worth.

    • DaveM36

      I think this is the biggest key: “Fels put it well: if the players BELIEVED the fight had meaning, then it had meaning”

      Even if you think the fight is dumb and had no meaning, it may mean something to the guys in wearing the sweaters. And that’s something.

    • B Squared

      Right, but McClure addresses that, albeit in a roundabout way, by arguing the league needs to change the culture from the top down with respect to these fights. A culture change where players don’t feel the need to instigate after a questionable hit correspondingly means players won’t believe the fight has meaning.

    • PainSt

      It was a moron play aking to when he took out daniel sedin
      if he had half a wit he would have taken his helmet off and saved 2 minutes
      and it would have been just a stupid move instead of a moronic one
      its amazing to me that the same people who think bollig is a waste of airspace are all about duncan keith beating people up
      here’s a newsflash: he can’t

      • 10thMountainFire

        Comparing Keith to Bollig? That’s a paddlin’.

        • Accipiter

          Hey, I thought you said you were stupid and didn’t understand complex issues due to your tendency to being stupid.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I like jello.

      • laaarmer

        Dude.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Well I don’t know exactly what you just said but Fuck Raffi Torres.

    • mightymikeD

      well, obviously

    • Joe Banks

      Oh yeah. FUCK RAFFI TORRES

  • cdz3210

    Does anyone think Keith’s reaction may have been more than sticking up for Mayers? It seems to be forgotten that Desjardins is the one who put him on his ass earlier in the game.

    • secondbalcony

      thanks for that insight-I didn’t realize that.

  • putmeinthemadhouse

    I doubt any player thinks that self-policing has any sort of detrimental effect on bad hits. its about having a physical response, and being able to say “we did something about it.” its a pride issue.

  • Mo Caraher

    What about…
    Keith ‘sticking up for’ Mayers was less about retribution for the hit, but rather Keith trying to make amends for putting Jammer in that situation in the first place. Look at the tape, if you can; it’s a shit-stupid suicide pass in his fucking skates. That kind of shit’ll get you kicked off a beer-league team.

    • PainSt

      This is a damn good point which does a lot better in explaining dunc’s move than the nonsense about eye for an eye/ self policing/ blah blah

      it was the general managers who proposed the instigator rules
      obviously they feel it has no place in the game

  • DesertHawk

    Game recap thread has it some trolls. On topic, I think the last player polls had something like 99% of players asked, perhaps even unanimous, felt that fighting has a place in hockey. Given the little I’ve learned about people in my life, belief is incredibly important. If the player’s think fighting has a role, and therefor has worth… then fighting has a role, and has worth. Plus also Goalie Fights are awesome. /meathead’d

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      To make it clear, I think it has a place in hockey, but not under these circumstance given the instigator rule.

      • DesertHawk

        I got a response from one of the TOS, and it was for something actually hockey related. :feels faint: I hear you on that front the instigator rule is one of a handful of rules I’d love to get rid of, but as you’ve stated it isn’t goin anywhere, unfortunately it doesn’t seem that that is getting through the skulls of the players so I feel we’ll be in this position til they either realize instigator is dumb, or ban fighting all together.

  • wardrums

    I remember talking to a dad at the rink awhile back that described an altercation that involved his daughter who was about 10. She was a very good player and was dominating the game when the best player on the other team gave her a hard cross chekc to the back. She exacted justice a little later in the period with a wicked slash to the back of her dversairies leg.
    On the way home her dad asked her why she did that. “Dad, he hurt me, so I hurt him.”
    I don’t think a player like Keith went through all the scenario’s that would take place before he jumped int the fray. What he knew was one of the guys on the other team hurt one of the guys on his team. It was sort of automatic. Smart, probably not. But it just may be a littel instinctive on Keith’s part.
    As Matt points out, the fighting does little to curb further shennanigans, but in a high speed, contact game with men flying around with sticks in their hands, shit will happen.

    • birdhead

      Oh, well, if ten year olds do it then it’s probably fine and not at all something we should expect adults to be able to control themselves for?

      We routinely expect these guys to make a huge number of difficult decisions at an incredible pace. If Keith made a bad turnover or a terrible pass, we’d hold him accountable. How come the only time when we’re like “Oh, well, he was acting on instinct, he couldn’t help himself” is when players a) make hits that injure other players or b) get into fights?

      • DesertHawk

        Because 20 years of conditioning is a bitch to overcome, for anyone, and most people would fail at making that change.

        • birdhead

          Why do we hate Raffi Torres, then?

          • DesertHawk

            I don’t actually hate him. He’s an idiot, who can’t learn and the league should handle him… 99% of players aren’t that bad.

          • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

            Because 10 years of conditioning to do so is also a bitch to overcome.

      • secondbalcony

        i’m not saying it’s fine,rather it’s the nature of the beast. Personally, one of the highlights of the year for me last season was when Scott went after Engelland last year. I know it may have cost us the game – but I’ll bet everyone on the hawks bench thought it was worth it – at least Coach Q.

        I realize it was probably even a clean hit – but one of there guys tried to hurt one of our guys. Duncan Keith appears to be getting cranky in his old age, eh?

        I spent most of my formative years praying that someone, anyone, would send Bobby Clarke a message. You had to have seen the nozzle play to understand my perspective. Let’s just say he was begging for it.

        • laaarmer

          You don’t send guys like Clarke a message. I still have mu Sports Illustrated with him on the cover. He was a fuckstick, nodoubt, but we are still talking about him.

          • wardrums

            Most likely would have loved him as a Hawk. Then he would have just been termed a hard nosed player!
            I want to be clear on one thing though. I realize coming to the aid of a teamate probably has close to zero impact on the outcome of the game. In fact, if it does have an impact it’s probably negative.
            However, as Roger Daltry sang, “We’re not gonna take it, never have and never will.”

  • B Squared

    The look on RJ Umberger’s face immediately after the hit is priceless. Like one of those old school loony toons where the coyote gets run over by a train and is completely flattened.

  • 2883

    I’m going to be honest here, For all the whining about Sharp and his play, I’m going to blame the weak link in that line, Dave Bolland, he simply cannot create play for two of the better scorers in the league. Bolland is great on the 3rd line and he’ll continue to be great. But Bolland looks like he’s trying to stay out of the way instead of being a useful 3rd party to that front 3 on the 2nd line. I don’t have the answer, but I feel like Shaw or Kruger (god that’s sad) is the short term answer to this issue…

    • The Doctor

      I’m not particularly worried about the lack of the 2nd line’s production. Yes, it would be nice if they made things happen in the offensive end but nearly every time that line was on the ice last night I found myself cringing because we were constantly in our zone, nobody able to gain control of the puck. Sharp is as much a cause of this as is Bolland, and to a lesser extent Kane (he hustles more than Bolly or Sharp but the turn-overs are atrocious).

      I understand we’re winning right now and the other lines are doing well but Q is going to have to make some moves because come playoff time, that line will not work, not if they don’t step it up.

    • wardrums

      hey Sharpies hit a couple of posts lately – he has had some chances. It’s just really hard to score on these NHL demons in the net

    • DesertHawk

      It’s not Bolland’s fault that Sharp can’t receive or make a pass lately, or that he’s made loads of unforced turnovers.

      • 2883

        Bolland’s made several turnovers also is not the guy you would depend on for puck possession in the offensive zone. He doesn’t win faceoffs, isn’t creative with the puck. Sharp’s got a hell of a shot but maybe he needs to play with people that set him up. But yeah… he’s not the guy for the 2C, we need a 2C that can win faceoffs and not be a liability to play with the Patricks

        • DesertHawk

          I’m not saying Bolland should be on that line, I’m saying blaming Sharp’s woes on Bolland is out of line, IMO.

          • laaarmer

            It’s all OBolland’s fault

          • 2883

            I think in part they are. Shooters need the puck on their stick and a clear shooting lane. Clear shooting lanes/scoring opportunities tend to come with good puck possession. Bolland’s strength isn’t that. I love him on the 3rd line. He was irreplaceable in that cup run. But he’s over his head on the 2nd line. Having him in that role does not play to his strengths and it’s hurting the productivity of Sharp.

    • Joe Banks

      Switch Kruger with Bolland. Kruger has come a long way. Let’s have a look.

  • The Cup And Back Again

    Kings traded Loktionov to NJ for a 5th rounder, Hawks traded John Scott to Buffalo for a 5th rounder…I don’t think I need to even make a joke here.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    I agree to a point. Okay, I almost TOTALLY agree. I take the view that if a response is called for, it can be done later in the game, or in the next game, on YOUR home ice, and it can be done in the course of play. The best point McClure makes is that fighting does not stop cheap hits. The only thing that might do that is a change in hockey culture, and the one thing like to accomplish a change in hockey culture is the frequent and liberal use of the Shanhammer.

    This culture is best represented by the large number of fans and media PRAISING Kieth for his actions. Change the culture, change the actions.

    Sparky? Are you saying that Hockey doesn’t need fighting?

    Yeah, I’m saying that. By all means stick up for a team mate, but in the days of the Instigator, if an IMMEDIATE response is called for, perhaps a good old fashioned Cross Check or Roughing penalty is better than a four minute double minor, or a fighting major, not to mention the 10 minute and game misconducts.

    • Z-man19

      I generally agree with McClure that fighting a guy for hitting one of yours doesn’t really solve anything, however I have no problem with what Duncs did. I don’t think that the hit on Mayers was against the letter of the rule but I do think it was completely chicken shit. Mayers was completely vulnerable and had no way to defend himself there. Sure, you could say Keith shouldn’t have put him in that position or Mayers should know better, but if the NHL wants to lesson the impact of concussions, that hit should not be legal.

      As to your idea of getting the guy back later in the game, I think that is exactly what Duncs had in mind with Sedin last year and look where that got him. A fighting major and the 10 minutes is better than the 5 game suspension.

      • Sparky_The_Barbarian

        But that ‘later in the game’ was all of fifteen seconds and involved an elbow at center ice between all four officials. Far dumber than what Duncs did Tuesday night. By ‘later’ I’m talking a shift or two.

        Incidentally, this would be a perfect use of Bollig.

        • Z-man19

          Not to completely rehash what Duncs did there but I’m convinced that what happened was not his intent. A funny bounce of the puck put him in a bad spot. If that play happens a shift later or a period later, he’s still probably does something stupid.
          In the end, it would be nice if the league did what you suggest and was more liberal with suspensions for bad hits. That’s one of the lost topics of the lockout. Did they come up with a better system for suspending/fining players?

      • nextgame

        “Mayers was completely vulnerable and had no way to defend himself there.”
        I think the NHL should institute a new rule – or revise the wording in an existing rule – to allow officials to penalize for hits made on a player that is in a defenseless or vulnerable position, like Mayers was in this instance. (This would be like the rule the NFL recently introduced to penalize this type of hit.) By broadening the definition of when these type of hits are illegal (i.e. not just when the head is involved), and aggressively punishing these type of ‘blind side’ hits, I think you would see a marked, and nearly immediate, decrease in these dangerous hits. Just because a player finds himself in a vulnerable position on the ice doesn’t mean he should have a target on his back. As a consequence you would also see a decrease in ‘jumping to the defense’ type fights and their resulting penalties.

        • Joe Banks

          I wholeheartedly agree. But do you think the NHL will do this before someone is killed?

        • Z-man19

          I concur

  • Preacher

    I think we’re thinking too much about this. These players are together for most of their day for a good chunk of a year. They sweat and battle and workout and practice together. They eat and laugh and play Mario Kart together. They tend to see each other as being “warriors” together. Keith saw a teammate get knocked flat on a questionable hit and went to protect him by jumping the other guy. He’s not thinking about instigator rules or if this will be a deterrent to later hits–he’s simply jumping (literally) to the aid of a teammate. Just like my 10-year-old son–who is probably the “gentlest” or nicest hockey player I’ve ever seen and plays for coaches who will penalize their OWN players for cheapshots if the ref doesn’t–will immediately shove an opposing player down who gets too close to his goalie after a whistle. “Gotta protect my teammate” he tells me. (And then he’ll help the kid up. What can I say? He’s a really nice kid!)

  • laaarmer

    Did you put in the Sanity Clause? I don’t believe in Sanity Clause.

  • DonCherryCollection

    “Did John Scott fighting Derek Engelland after he put a shot on Marcus Kruger prevent Raffi Torres from launching himself into Marian Hossa?”

    Well John Scott was on the Rangers when Hossa got hit so no.

    “And after that, did Brandon Bollig’s scrap with Torres make Desjardins think twice before blowing up Mayers?”

    No, once again the enforcer you are bringing up wasn’t in that game.

    “There are countless other examples to be taken from different teams, both finesse (“soft” or “weak” to Meatball Nation) and “tough”.”

    Do any of those other examples make sense? Because you’re disproving your point

  • laaarmer

    All kidding aside, What harm did it do for Keith to lay some licks or get some licks laid upon him for his teammate? None. He got to sit out for a while, but so did Dejardin, (by the way did not deserve a match penalty. I believe that will be rescinded). What Keith did was help his friend. No biggie. It’s what you are supposed to do. You get a penalty and everybody feels better. I know one thing, Dejardin should thank jod that Mayers didn’t get up and do it himself.

    • cliffkoroll

      No shit. Well put, laaarms.l

    • 10thMountainFire

      100%

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      “It’s what you are supposed to do.”

      No, it’s not. Hence the entire premise of this column.

      My sophomore year of college I took a cheap shot low-bridge hit that tore my ACL. Having a teammate who couldn’t have given a shit about me otherwise punch another guy in the helmet with a gloved hand did nothing to make me feel better or like we were all closer as a team. Winning the game would have been far more preferable.

      • laaarmer

        Yes, you stick up for your teammates. Right or wrong.

        • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

          This shit makes me tired.

          • laaarmer

            You have your opinion on this and so do I/we. You are not wrong regarding fights that start right after a face off or during warm up – the staged kind. I am not wrong in expecting my teammates to stick up and battle for and with me. Gretzky had his protectors. Savard had his. The list goes on and on. You bring up Brashear and Hatcher while in the same breath say that fights do nothing. Which way is it? How did they get so fearsome? Cheap hits and fighting to my recollection, although Hatcher could at least play. Lastly, the Hawks won the game anyway, so they got the best of both worlds.

      • laaarmer

        Did anybody else get run by anybody on the shark after this incident? Bickell had something to do with calming Murray down, but did Kane, Hossa, Toews, Leddy, etc. get run by anybody? Did they get run before this? Yes.

      • cliffkoroll

        Suppose your replacement netted a hat trick, including the game-winner, and afterwards the rest of the team carried him on their shoulders into the locker room, bursting into spontaneous chants of the guy’s name.

        Inside the locker room, there you were- still in agony, scrambled ACL. And everyone’s going on about how great the replacement is.

        Awkward.

        • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

          No. Win the game above all else.

          • cliffkoroll

            That’s the spirit! You still play, right? Any lingering effects? Also, nice preview over on the other thread, as always.

  • lobster

    Logically you are completely correct, the fight does absolutely nothing except give your team a penalty.

    You have to understand the emotional state of the locker room though, and what that does to it. Keith feeds mayers a suicide pass, mayers gets clocked, and nobody does anything about it? I can live with a 2 min minor (in this case 4 because of the visor) for keith to feel like less of an asshole about the suicide pass, mayers to feel like his teammates have his back and a general sense of team unity to be felt. Logically these fights don’t do a damn thing, but the reality is they help team unity.

    Same thing goes for a guy like john scott. For as much as anyone with a brain believed he had no value to the team in any way shape or form, to a man, the hawks said they felt better when he was on the bench. The cons still wildly outweighed the pros, but there is something to the psychological and sociological effect of these seemingly illogical actions, and I think that has to be appreciated in this case.

  • Wade

    Keith’s reaction was honest. Analyzing it further than that is just mental-masturbation.

  • Joe Banks

    Two thoughts… (yeah, I’m old, but even after all those concussions, I still occasionally have them)

    1) Until the NHL bans fighting (not likely), this argument will rage on forever.

    2) Mayers was in a helpless or vulnerable position, and Desjardin intended maximum impact (thrusting upward). Same deal with Hossa/Torres, and Toews/Mitchell. Certain NHL coaches encourage this behavior.

    These type of plays turn my stomach. If the NHL was “responsible” (and eventually, they will be), they should create rules to prevent this.

    I personally feel that the NHL is not serious about preventing concussions, and this is a great place to start.

    I have zero doubt in my mind that someone is going to be killed someday because of a hit like that. Let’s not wait for that day.