Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dear NHL and Boston Bruins fans - you suck

So, normally I wouldn't wade into the mud on something like this but I'm annoyed. I'm beyond annoyed. I'm disgusted.

DISCLOSURE: In case you didn't know, I'm a Canucks fan, as is my two and a half year old.

My Vancouver Canucks are in the Stanley Cup Final. But I'm ready to stop watching. There has been so much nonsense in this series, it's unbelievable. I'm not going to defend the Canucks or the Canucks fans - diving, biting and beer and peanut throwing are hardly positive attributes. Aaron Rome's hit on Nathan Horton was horrible. I felt so sick after that happened. While I find it hard to believe there was malice in the hit, I do think it deserved a suspension.

Boston hasn't been much better - hacking, sucker punching, blatant (unpenalized) cross-checks by the goalie, racial slurs to fans, a Boston restaurant telling Canucks players there's no food for them.

The officials, well, I think they have been downright horrible. The inconsistency is unbelievable. The non-penalty calls (anyone remember a puck being DEFLECTED over the glass that was called a delay of game?), the non-calls, the "this cross-check doesn't count, but the next one might" calls. And it's not like they're necessarily favouring one team over the other - I've seen things go both ways.

But what really got me was the hit last night on Mason Raymond. I'm not even talking about the hit, I'm more disgusted by what happened immediately after the hit.

First of all, hockey is about rivalry as much as it is about the game. But, in my experience, no matter where two teams are playing, when someone gets hurt, typically, the arena goes silent. Then when the injured player gets up and shakes it off, gets up and is helped off the ice or in the most chilling cases, is wheeled off on a stretcher, the fans applaud politely and players on both teams bang their sticks on the boards or the ice. They do not chant "flopper." Not only that, you can still hear them chanting after he's been on the ice for over a minute. Instead of clapping, they start chanting "Let's Go Bruins" and booing.

Secondly, where was the spinal board? WHERE WAS IT? When a player hits the boards like that a spinal board should be MANDATORY. One of the first lessons you learn in first aid is to NEVER EVER EVER move someone suspected of having a head, neck or back injury. Unless of course they are potentially in more danger if you don't - electrocution, falling trees, you know, things that weren't an issue in the hockey arena. My back has been aching in sympathy all day. I don't care who it was on the ice - Bruin, Canuck, who cares - injuries need to be treated with care. I sure hope that moving Raymond didn't injure him more or prolong his recovery time.

Third, back to those Boston fans. They are trolling the message boards and commenting on new articles and telling the Canucks to suck it. The Vancouver Canucks got what was coming to them and they deserved it. No. That's wrong. No one deserves to be injured like that. Horton didn't deserve to be injured on the play with Rome. While some Canucks fans didn't agree with the suspension (either the length of or the suspension in general), I didn't see any of them saying, good, Horton and the Bruins deserved that.

Fourth, Mike Murphy, you are so inconsistent and make the NHL look like a goon show. When you commented on the Horton-Rome incident this is what you said (from the Globe and Mail):

This has nothing to do with Rule 48. This is just an interference penalty, an interference hit. If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit. We have them all the time.


So the key components are: the late hit, which I had it close to a second late. We have our own formula at NHL Hockey Operations for determining late hits, and it was late. We saw the seriousness of the injury with Nathan on the ice last night.

That's basically what we deliberated on. We tried to compare it with some of the other ones in the past. But it stands alone. It's why we made the ruling.

So according to NHL rules it wasn't head shot and the suspension was determined by (1) a late hit and (2) the severity of the injury.

I'm not disputing the severity of the injury. A concussion is bad news all around. And the hit was late. Fine. Now you've set a precedence.

Let's now apply those same two rules to the Raymond-Boychuk incident. Which was (1) a late hit and (2) caused serious injury. I don't know when Horton will be back but four to six months is a long time and that sounds severe to me. Also, having experienced a fractured vertebra myself, I know it's a painful and difficult road to recovery.

But Mr. Murphy, instead this is what you had to say about that hit (also from the Globe and Mail): [It was an] awkward collision between two players battling for space/room. Come on Mr. Murphy, you suspended Rome for what you called a legal hit because it was late and there was serious injury. In the same vein then the Boychuk hit should warrant a suspension. I don't care how long, but suspend him.

I hate to jump on the conspiracy train, but some consistency would be nice. I won't even get into the Marchand pummeling of Sedin which resulted in a misconduct for Sedin and the resulting comment of "I felt like it" from Marchand (around 2:15). Or any of the other inconsistent circus side shows that have gone on (for both sides) in this series. There's all this talk about how the NHL wants to eliminate blindside hits and goonery, but it's just talk. This hit and non suspension prove that.

So NHL maybe over the summer break you can figure out a way to officiate the game in a fair manner. Because at this point, it looks like it might be more fair to let the teams police the ice themselves. And while you're at it, get a good, solid policy for using spinal board. Please.


  1. The lack of a stretcher to take him off REALLY pissed me off. Especially when you saw how long it took him to figure out how to lift his legs to get off the ice and into the bench area.

    The fans chanting after he had been laying still for over a minute REALLY pissed me off. Especially when he was lying really, really still. He was so still I immediately knew it was back related.

    Hearing the announcement this morning that they were not going to review the hit for possible disciplinary action made me want to F*@#ING SHOOT SOMEONE! REALLY?!? REALLY?!?

    As Peter Kelamis was joking on twitter "Iraqi Election Officials are asking the NHL with help on how to rig an election". I went from thinking that maybe I was being over-sensative because I was a Canucks fan to being a full blown believer of the conspiracy theories. (Okay, maybe not quite, but close.)

  2. I KNOW. On all accounts. Grrrr...I still can't get over no stretcher/back board. And those Boston fans...come on...I know the Vancouver fans can be jerks too, but really??? [Apparently some idiots have been calling Milan Lucic's family in the middle of the night and harassing them...ridiculous.]

  3. I heard a couple of fan horror stories coming out of San Jose as well. It's like a bunch of the fans have decided they want to take the 'hooligan' title away from the European soccer fans!

    (And yes, I know that not all soccer fans are hooligans.)

  4. That hit was ridiculous...They wouldn't let Horton get up, but leave Raymond to pick himself up? They had to carry him to the change room...exactly ..where was the stretcher?