Airing of Grievances III

Posted: April 23, 2012 by centennialsports in Puck

By John Spurr

Playoff hockey at its finest


I don’t know if it’s just the NHL playoffs that has me especially fired up but I’m really getting pissed off by this hockey is too violent claim.

The first few games of these playoffs have been awesome, offering an amazing level skill, speed and hits!!! Unfortunately, it seems that all the major sports outlets have officially decided that the intensity of this playoffs is just too darn much. This is complete bullshit, playoffs have always been violent, as the level of competition is amplified. I keep hearing that “players are hitting to injure because the players don’t respect each other,” this is garbage.

I’m gonna tell you the three reasons why these hits are hurting people so much more than in the past, none of which are the reasons that you ever hear from the major networks.

1) Hard metal shoulder and elbow pads: It used to be that players had tiny plastic pads but someone decided that it would be safer to make these pads out of Kevlar… safer for who? Players didn’t often take full speed runs at each other with the dinky little plastic pads because they could actually hurt themselves but with the Kevlar pads they are fully armored and can simply throw themselves around. When a player used to lay a big hit and make some contact to the head the player would get back up, at least most of the time. Now with the metallic armor, a big hit leaves the victim cloudy and stumbly.

2) Taking out the redline: When the NHL took out the redline and allowed the two line pass it accelerated the speed of the game, which is fantastic!! It allows for more open ice and room for brilliant plays. Unfortunately, it also accelerated the speed of the f*cking game!!!! Players regularly skate from one end all the way to the other end unimpeded before laying a hit, which means that they have nearly 200 feet of speed built up. Back when the redline was in play, players would have to slow down at the centre before building up their speed again. Hits today have much more momentum built up between both players and therefore a much more violent collision.

3) Training: I don’t know if you’ve noticed but hockey players today are quite simply bigger, stronger and faster. The average size of an NHL player is 6’2 and 210 pounds, as a comparison, Scott Stevens was 6’1 and 212 pounds. Stevens was considered a big defender back in the mid 90’s. The size of the players has changed because of the training programs that the modern athlete lives by. Players used to show up to training camp out of shape and play themselves into shape, all the while never lifting a single weight. The skating has improved immensely too, not necessarily the top players because nobody can skate like Mike Gartner or Pavel Bure but even fourth line forwards are really good skaters these days. Some of this is due to improved skate technology, I mean they used to skate on glorified butter knives but much of it is better technique and again stronger players.

So there are the three major reasons for the severity of today’s hits but I’d also like to address this respect myth that has somehow remained part of the violence rhetoric. Apparently players no longer respect each other on the ice, my question is when did they ever? Have you ever seen the footage of old hockey? It was stick swinging, elbowing, kneeing, just completely over the top violence. Realistically players probably like each other more today because the average player changes teams so much throughout their career that there’s a good chance that they’ve played with a few guys on the other team.

Say what you want about his suits, Donny makes some good points.


I’m curious how somebody thinks that David Shaw respected Mario Lemieux when he slashed him in the throat in 1988 and was consequently suspended for 12 games. This respect idea is especially ridiculous because in the playoffs players will do almost anything to win. The only thing that players used to respect was the fact that if they did something that was considered crossing the line, then they’d have to face music and get their ass beat by an enforcer. I’m gonna sound like good ole Don Cherry but because of the instigator rule, that fear (or respect) is gone and instead they only get a little fine or suspension. Speaking of fines, when Shea Weber went all King Kong Bundy on Henrik Zetterberg and slammed his head into the boards, he was fined $2,500. This is the same as fining the average Canadian $14, not even a parking ticket, what a great deterrent there Sandyham.

Useless claim of the week – I have heard it mentioned that for proof of how violent these playoffs have been, people should look at the 8 suspensions in this NHL playoffs. This is the most of any playoffs and it’s only the first round. While that does sound convincing, let’s not forget that headshots didn’t used to lead to suspensions, they were simply two minute penalties for elbowing, charging or roughing. If there were suspensions for head shots back in the day, then Scott Stevens would’ve spent every game up in the owner’s box. So by my count, in these playoffs, there would be one old time suspension, to Byron Bitz for his ridiculously bad hit from behind.

Bonus Anger: I’ve been hearing rumours that if the Canucks lose to the Kings (let’s hold hands and pray this doesn’t happen), then Alain Vigneault will be fired. That really shouldn’t happen, I mean he was only missing the Danny Sedin, one part of the telekinetic Sedin duo, for the first three games. The Canucks minus a Sedin is a much weaker team, I mean Henrik inherited Max freakin Lapierre onto the first line in Daniel’s absence. Vigneault is an excellent coach, with the exact demeanor for the talented Canucks squad.

If Vigneault were to be fired, he wouldn’t even have a chance to pack up his office before he’d get offered the head-coaching job for the Montreal Canadiens.

If the Canucks organization decided there had to be a sacrificial lamb then I would be much more supportive of showing the swollen-faced Mike Gillis the door. Absolutely none of the core pieces of the Canucks team were acquired by Gillis but that doesn’t mean he’s been shy when it comes to trading. Everyone is now beginning to see what a retarded trade it was when Gillis traded Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for Zach Kassian (killing it on the 4th line) and Marc Andre Gragnani (a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs) in the name of getting tougher. When you make the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals you are plenty tough. The forgotten Gillis brilliance was the trade for Keith Ballard last offseason and in return the Canucks only sent Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and first round draft pick to Florida. Gillis’ final gaff was signing Bobby Lou to a 12-year contract, with a no trade clause. I’m one of the biggest Luongo supporters that I know of but he’s not gonna be great for 10 more years, that contract will make moving him very difficult. Trust in Gillis, pfft I’d rather trust Kenny Powers.

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