January 14, 2004

Roenick suspended for one stinkin' game: He hit a referee with a water bottle, and he gets tossed from that game plus a *one* game suspension? Once again the NHL demonstrates the favoritism and inconsistency it has shown in the past when doling out suspensions.

posted by lew to hockey at 05:20 PM - 21 comments

Oh, I don't know about that. I'd say JR missing the first Leaf game this week is relatively fair, given Sundin missed the Ottawa game. Yeah, JR got tossed, but it was with 6 minutes left, or something. (Personally, I think he wanted to go to the dressing room. Why else act like a loon.) And I'd qualify Jeremy's little tantrum as warranting far more severe punishment. So maybe I do agree, if you think he didn't get enough. Do ya? Yeah, the NHL can be baffle even the die-hardest, but not this time.

posted by garfield at 05:44 PM on January 14, 2004

I think one game is a joke. You can't pull stunts like that against the referees. Christ, Brennan got an automatic 10 games for merely stepping back onto the ice; where's the automatic suspension for abuse of the officials* (and for the post game comments? Or a fine? Quinn -- and others -- got brutal fines for criticizing the refs). It's a fucking joke. A joke. Wake up, wake up NHL. *yeah, I know "abuse" is rather harsh, but he threw the bottle *at* the ref. Bad. As an aside: Yeesh

posted by mkn at 06:36 PM on January 14, 2004

He threw a bottle at the ref and only got a one game suspension? Jeez...if you push a linesman around, you get 5 games usually. Wait...are you, lew, suggesting that he shouldn't have gotten the one game suspension, or are you suggesting (like myself and garfield) that he should have gotten MORE games? What I don't want to find out is that he'd have gotten more if he had HIT the ref with the bottle. That's wrong. Success or failure, he should get the same penalty.

posted by grum@work at 06:50 PM on January 14, 2004

Two random thoughts: 1) at least it was just a water-bottle and not hotel furniture!! 2) I wonder if Mats Sundin is going to jokingly fake a waterbottle throw tommorrow! That would be funny! It would also make the game far more interesting.

posted by mkn at 09:43 PM on January 14, 2004

I think he should have gotten far more than one game--five or even 10 would not have been out of the question, in my mind. As the NHL, how can you tolerate behavior like that? Roenick's behavior was f'ing embarrassing, and the league's response was even more so. As a fan of the NHL I'm disgusted that they didn't throw the book at Roenick. If Sundin's unintentional stick-tossing incident merited a one game suspension (and he is as mild-mannered as they come), how on earth can Campbell justify giving Roenick (a guy with a history) the same penalty when his attack was intentional, and on top of that, targeted towards the guys who are supposed to maintain order? The NHL should take a lesson from the NBA.

posted by lew at 09:47 PM on January 14, 2004

While everyone is probably right that Roenick deserved more, the ref probably ought to be taking some time off too. Missing that hit was a pretty ridiculous screwup on his part too.

posted by tieguy at 12:08 AM on January 15, 2004

Even ESPN Radio reported this morning that Commissioner Bettman agreed that the ref screwed up missing that call. And yes, I love the orange and black and Roenick, for that matter, but he crossed the line on that one. You can yell and scream and even get up in the ref's face about it, but unfortunately whether that official made the worst call or non-call of his life, you don't retaliate by taking it down a notch.

posted by rosey8810 at 08:25 AM on January 15, 2004

lew, my apologies: competitive Leaf's fan reaction. And why is it that he is treated like a first time offender, every year? Great point. mkn, that pic was a necessity.

posted by garfield at 09:15 AM on January 15, 2004

Yeah, but the thing is, missed hits seem more like the norm than the exception now. I remember a Leaf game a while back that had like FOUR missed high sticks in one game (and two of those were against the same player -- I can't remember who, Tucker maybe?). Owen Nolan nearly lost an eye a week ago, and there was no call on that play. And it's not just Leafs. I see them fairly often in other games too. There's just way too many high-sticks going on now, for some reason. I heard one commentator mention that it might be because the composite sticks are so light, that they are much easier to lift up -- and, concequently, hit someone in the EYE with. God, I so hate those stupid composite sticks.

posted by mkn at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2004

Whatever happened to the automatic double minor for blood? And why does the way the game is called have to be so blatantly reactionary? Remember enforcing neutral zone obstruction penalties was gospel last year (at least for the first half). Seen the call consistently be made lately? Just call the fucking game. It's not rocket science. Speaking of composite sticks, I wonder if any has done a cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate the good and the bad with these amazing technological creations. Given the added velocity is the good part, what about all those extra trips to the bench for new lumber, er, I mean space-age material? How many opportunties are foiled because the stick breaks, or the player is no longer involved because the stick already broke? How often do these composites trap a team in their own zone, or set up a fast break the other way? It's nice that no-shot-johnny can rip it from outside the blue line, but I'd rather see Sundin crank it up arbor style, then see Ronning score from his own end.

posted by garfield at 01:41 PM on January 15, 2004

I'm surprised there's been no reaction from the refs & linesmen over this minor slap on the wrist to Roenick. If I were them I'd protest this heavily. Abuse of officials in any manner should be dealt with severely. It should be more like soccer, where a player gets carded for even verbal abuse, and most calls/non-calls aren't even questioned. And during Roenick's single day off, the league should administer a urine test. The way he's been acting the past few days I suspect he's doubled his dose of steroids.

posted by rocket88 at 02:04 PM on January 15, 2004

btw, welcome rocket88. its nice to see we have more hockey contributors around here.

posted by garfield at 02:12 PM on January 15, 2004

I'm of the belief that there is too much "discipline" coming from NHL brass nowadays, particuarly regarding players spouting off about the refereeing. The players need to be allowed to go nuts occasionally. In this case, JR did not harm (or intend to harm -- it was a water bottle and he was on the other side of the rink) anyone with his actions, so I can live with a one-game suspension. But I was thrilled to hear that he wasn't fined afterwards for his comments, as is usually the case. Players should be allowed to fire off a few expletives about the officials in the post-game interview from time to time. It hurts nothing and it's a lot more fun. Emotion fuels entertainment. The league-wide gag order on voicing one's opinion is a silly formality and hurts the character of the league.

posted by Succa at 05:01 PM on January 15, 2004

And for those ready to compare this incident to the Sundin stick-throw, they are apples and oranges. Sundin's actions put fans (read: potential filers of lawsuits) at risk. He hardly pulled a '79 Bruins at MSG, but there is an obvious incentive for the league to snuff out these occurences. Sundin's was made an example of, and you can be sure it'll be a long time before another player throws something into the crowd like that. Conversely, Roenick's actions put nobody at risk. He was unsportsmanlike to be sure, and a game misconduct was an appropriate punishment. The suspension is gratuitous.

posted by Succa at 05:21 PM on January 15, 2004

The league is standing on shaky ground at this point. The evening of the suspension, Colin Campbell went on The Score and offered the following as justifications for the suspension: 1)$91,000 (the amount of lost salary) will probably make him think more. - Should salary even matter at all? 2)He'll miss a key game against the Leafs. - Should who they are going to be playing have anything to do with it either? In all honesty, with the horrible officiating and that interview, the NHL will come out of this a lot worse than Roenick did. You also have to think that a guy who leaves a hockey game with a mug like he has right now probably was getting a little frustrated at the permanent scars he'd amassed that week. I don't like Roenick, personally, and I think that what he did could have been dangerous, but he's not the only one to blame out of this whole debacle.

posted by dfleming at 08:49 PM on January 15, 2004

The biggest problem is that there's no consistency to these types of punishments. The league needs a published list of infractions and penalties. That way players who spout off about officiating during post-game interviews can all expect to receive a suspension of X games. Players who spit at refs will receive Y games. Players who throw equipment on the ice will receive Z games, etc. The way it is now, Colin Campbell just makes it up as he goes along, and allows punishments to be different for different players.

posted by rocket88 at 09:13 AM on January 16, 2004

Now JR is lashing out at Bettman.

posted by rocket88 at 12:16 PM on January 16, 2004

"It's like fining Gary Bettman for all those lies about the collective bargaining agreement coming. He throws those around like they're candy. The NHLPA should fine him for those." Anyone think he gets away with this? Even though he has a point.

posted by garfield at 01:13 PM on January 16, 2004

He may have crossed the line, although there are probably dozens of players in the NHL who would say the same thing behind closed doors. JR has a mouth like Mark Cuban these days, albeit a mouth that has received many stitches.

posted by Succa at 02:10 PM on January 16, 2004

Here's a somewhat related follow up....the yearly visor article. I think this guy said it best about JR: "Not saying he's wrong, because he's absolutely right. The officiating in that game was sub-par for peewee, let alone the NHL, but man, keep your mouth shut, put your head down, and do your frickin' job."

posted by garfield at 02:24 PM on January 16, 2004

Here's what players aroung the league had to say.

posted by garfield at 04:02 PM on January 27, 2004

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