You know, I might be less annoyed by the whole Mark Fistric suspension if the NHL's official Twitter didn't rub in it my face how wrong the decision was.
Since Fistric clobbered Nino Niederreiter with a huge hit on Saturday, the league's Twitter feed has given highlight of the night status and glowing reviews to two hits that were equal or more charges.
BOOM! This http://bit.ly/vvmCmxhit will keep you awake today:
Let me channel Brendan Shanahan here for a second, basically directly quoting his rationale as it applies to this hit. At 10:06 of the first period, Blake Comeau of the Calgary Flames is taking the puck up the boards when Ryan Kesler gets good defensive position on him and throws a body check. Although contact is with the chest, Kesler leaves his feet and launches himself at Comeau. This is charging as defined by rule 42.1. The degree in which Kesler's skates come off the ice is evidence of the dangerous launch.
Those words are right out of Shanahan's mouth as to why the Fistric hit is illegal and they clearly apply to the Kesler hit as well. Personally, I think both are within the bounds of what is currently allowed by the league, and the only material difference is the Niederreitter hit his head on the ice while Comeau did not. Since charging is a penalty of illegal action, not result, Kesler is just as guilty as Fistric given the parameters Shanahan laid out for charging.
Now, Phaneuf did not get nearly as much elevation, but careful examination of the video shows he was already launching himself at the moment of impact with one skate already off the ice and the other heading that way. Again, according to the Shanahan explanation, that is charging and suspendable charging at that.
Personally, I think all three hits are basically fine, just like I thought Jack Johnson on Mike Ribeiro was fine. And Shanahan thought three of them were fine but not the fourth when the only material difference was the injury. That type of rationale might fly for boarding, but it's bullhonky for charging, which is all about how the check was delivered.
Make up your mind, NHL league office. Can players leave their feet or not, and what, exactly is the measurement that makes it too high?
After the jump, Mike Heika is also confused, we spin the injury roulette wheel and what does one do with a found Stanley Cup ring? Put it on Craigslist, of course.
- Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News is similarly confused, and he brings up another good example of a basically unpunished hit that looks as bad or worse as Fistric's. [DallasNews.com]
- In their great wisdom, the NHL has decided that Fistric's first game back should be against... the New York Islanders. Great. Here's their fans' take on the suspension. [Lighthouse Hockey]
- Now, I promise I'm done with all that venting. In much better news, Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski are definitely in for tonight's game at San Jose and Brenden Morrow is at about 90 percent of where he needs to be. Honestly, I might wait until he's 100 percent before sticking him back in, but it depends on how likely it is that he gets there during the season. Back injuries can be tricky. Just ask Kari Lehtonen. [ESPN Dallas]
- There's no getting around it anymore. Jamie Benn is in a slump, as Heika chronicles in this paywalled story. [DallasNews.com]
- The Stars will definitely need him as they head out on a cross-country five-game road trip. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- We're not supposed to use profanity on this site, so I will let you fill in the blanks. _____ ______ Graham James pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of two players that occurred during his tenure as a coach in junior hockey. [Yahoo]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Our friends over at Fear The Fin take a deeper look at Tuesday's San Jose Sharks loss. [Fear the Fin]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Brad Winchester on the Sharks top line? Um, interesting decision. But with the Sharks in a little bit of a slump themselves, their coach is willing to try shaking things up. Also check out the Rob Blake quote where he calls the Fistric hit a good hit. Wait, I promised to stop being angry about that. Bad me. [San Jose Mercury News]
- Around the Pacific Division: This is really a pregame thread from Tuesday's contest between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to show all the fun they had with Bruce Boudreau, made even funnier by the fact that the Ducks then went out and picked up the first win of the Boudreau era against those Kings. [The Royal Half]
- You can apparently find anything on the Internet these days, including Theo Fleury's Stanley Cup ring. The former Calgary Flame lost his 1989 ring at February's Heritage Classic, and it suddenly turned up on Craigslist in Queensland, Australia, of all places. [Puck Daddy]
- Gulutzan was a chatty boy after Wednesday's practice, hitting on the health of the injured players, who goes back on the power play and so forth. It did take place before the Fistric decision.... and there I go mentioning it again. This is not good for my blood pressure.