June 02, 2004

Nieminen suspended one game.: The NHL has once again decided that the severity of the injury to the player is the main deciding factor in suspending a player. Should that really be factor is the reason the player was hurt has more to do with not wearing his equipment properly that the actual hit?

posted by camcanuck to hockey at 11:36 AM - 22 comments

To clarify a bit for those who didn't see the hit. It was a high hit from behind, but not a particularly bad one in my mind. However Lecavalier doesn't wear the strap on his helmet tightly therefore he was cut, and mostly likely is suffering some concussion symptoms because his helmet wasn't able to cushion the blow. I think the suspension handed out is a good one, I just don't see how the NHL can defend this policy of basing the suspension on the severity of the injury. Stillman's hit on Nilson mention in the article was much worse (more velocity, and contact was made with an elbow). Nilson was wearing his helmet correctly (but was still left bleeding because his ear was nearly ripped off), and I don't know maybe he is genetically less concussion prone but he was cleared to play and therefore there is no suspension for Stillman? What happens now if Lecavalier 'suddenly' recovers tomorrow? Quote From Colin Campbell: "This hit was more severe than any of the other plays that were brought to our attention during the Final. This was a hit that clearly crossed the line and was directed at the head. Uhhh... has be been watching the finals? Good grief there have been hits by BOTH teams that were worse than this one.

posted by camcanuck at 11:55 AM on June 02, 2004

Wasn't the strap already not fastened before the hit? I remember the announcers mentioning it.

posted by jasonspaceman at 11:58 AM on June 02, 2004

Strap or no; injury or no; A hit from behind warrants a one game suspension.

posted by rocket88 at 12:30 PM on June 02, 2004

I'm sure Nieminen's run at Curtis Joseph earlier in the playoffs didn't help his chances of avoiding a suspension.

posted by Stan Fields at 12:36 PM on June 02, 2004

It seemed like a pretty obvious major penalty when it happened. I don't think the suspension was warranted however. It basically cost Lecavalier a shift and the Flames a chance to get back into the game. Series tied. However, I do think this highlights one of the major connundrums of hockey - that the playoffs and regular season bear little or no resemblance to one another, and that calling the games is not as black and white, because frankly there are frightening collisions seemingly every shift. Cross checks a-poppin!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:03 PM on June 02, 2004

I think Stan Fields nailed this one. It's bad news to be a repeat offender in the plaoffs.

posted by Samsonov14 at 06:01 PM on June 02, 2004

Nieminen made a stupid move and he knows it. When your team's down a goal, and fighting to tie late in the game, you dont make a bonehead move like that. Personally, I hate to see any hit from behind, and I think the league needs to come down consistently hard on them. And I agree that 'repeat offender' was a factor in Campbell's decision.

posted by rocket88 at 08:08 PM on June 02, 2004

Nieminen made a stupid move and he knows it. When your team's down a goal, and fighting to tie late in the game, you dont make a bonehead move like that. Personally, I hate to see any hit from behind, and I think the league needs to come down consistently hard on them. And I agree that 'repeat offender' was a factor in Campbell's decision.

posted by rocket88 at 08:08 PM on June 02, 2004

The only problem I have with any of this is that the decision might be different in the regular season and different if it wasn't Lecavalier. Statements like these: Gary Bettman insisting punishment be handed out after a star player of Lecavalier's calibre was decked. ``It is the finals ... and his five-minute major (late in the third period) was huge in a 1-0 game. And I think the club has been penalized by that alone.'' If the NHL really wants to make their policies seem uniform, they should set up a suspension list and stick to it, regardless or when or who.

posted by dfleming at 08:36 PM on June 02, 2004

For ESPN motion footage of the hit, go here

posted by jmd82 at 08:46 PM on June 02, 2004

Now Sutter is claiming the suspension shows there is a conspiracy against the Flames.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:12 PM on June 02, 2004

which is just helping his us vs everybody motivation throughout the playoffs. and face it, the league MADE the Flames play the top three teams in the West in an attempt to make them lose. conspiracy!

posted by gspm at 01:31 AM on June 03, 2004

of course, on the other hand, the conspiracy here is not against the Flames but rather t is BY the Flames in that they are conspiring to hurt the Lightning star players. The only problem with that "theory" is that no player, Nieminen included, is DUMB enough to enact a 'hurt the star' policy at home in the late going of game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals when your team is looking for a tying goal and perhaps a chance to go up 3-1 in the series. Columnist Gary Shelton really only convinced me that the hit/hurt/outcome was an accident.

posted by gspm at 04:34 AM on June 03, 2004

Sutter is becoming an embarrassment to Canada, and to hockey. I cant believe he said that crap. What a tool.

posted by rocket88 at 08:28 AM on June 03, 2004

After the refereeing in the last game, I'm not surprised he said that. Although I think it's more gamesmanship than anything else, getting his team to feel like underdogs again, which is when they play their best. Also, the "conspiracy to hurt the other team" is as bullshit a call as "the league wants us to lose". the hit on Fedotenko was legal, he got his arm caught on the boards and he was unlucky to be in the position he was. It's a play that happens dozens of times a game. And Kubina, well, it was an overzealous hit that was called a penalty, but it wasn't an elbow to the head (stillman on nillson) or a hit from behind into the boards (forget who on niemenan about 20 seconds later). Both those plays were way more vicious. Iginla also got hit from behind into the boards causing the rush up the ice that lead to the two penalties last game - no call. Oh, and all this about the Lightning having to play without two players. Boo hoo. The Flames have been missing two top 4 defencemen (Lydman and Gauthier) and two top-two line playeres (Reinprecht and McCammond) for the whole freaking playoffs. Not to mention Lombardi being sidelined by the vicious elbow from Hatcher. Ok rant over, I just needed to vent...

posted by sauril at 09:44 AM on June 03, 2004

That Sutter "conspiracy" thing (from Yahoo) was the first time I've ever nodded my head in agreement with Gary Bettman. I feel dirty.

posted by Samsonov14 at 10:18 AM on June 03, 2004

Here comes another rant.... No doubt about it Sutter's comments are over the top, and I've got to think he is trying to deflect media scrutiny from his players. As much as the media might not like the accusation Sutter is absolutely on the mark when he says they wield a lot of power. If the same number of reporters wrote articles saying Stillman and Roy should have been suspended for their hits from behind in game 1 the NHL would have suspended them. There is no doubt in my mind Stillman's hit was a far, far worse infraction, but there was almost zero press coverage. Roy's hit on Nieminen on the same play didn't even get mentioned. So much is made in the press saying the Flames are going after the Lighting star players, but as far as dirty hits go both teams are on equal footing. In my mind when Sutter says the suspension came from New York what he is saying is the PR people in the league office are dictating who gets suspended because of the amount of press coverage. He is simply accusing the league of pandering to the media rather than making the 'right' call. From where I sit I think he has got a point. Another example of poor press coverage. Almost every reporter is complaining about how the Flames are dragging down the series by going to the trap and clogging up the neutral zone. I guess they missed 2nd and 3rd periods of game 4 were the Bolts were playing the trap. The Bolts were being out skated in the 1st so they changed tactics which is a smart move. I don't think we're going to hear anyone complaining about it the press though. It's unfortunate because even if Calgary wins almost everyone will think Calgary did it by playing the trap and beating the crap out of every teams star players (like the BroadStreet Bullies) which is simply not true.

posted by camcanuck at 10:22 AM on June 03, 2004

Hey sauril. Ditto.

posted by gspm at 02:37 PM on June 03, 2004

heh. I don't know how I missed that gspm. I found myself actually angry last game. I rarely get that emotionally involved in games, (somewhat emotionally involved, or else where would the fun be) but I was yelling at the tv, and was in a bad mood for hours after the game, simply due to the damn refs. And camcanuck, you're dead on. You expect local rags to be partisan (see Francis, Eric), but national reporters should be better. Eric Duhatchek from the Globe is worth a read, though. I can't wait for this series to be over so I can get my life back (mostly kidding)

posted by sauril at 03:15 PM on June 03, 2004

What's really killing me is that this has turned into a "U.S. vs. Canada" event, at least among Canadians. Please. Maybe that's an FPP for another time, though.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:36 PM on June 03, 2004

Lightning = 14 Canadians, seven Europeans and three Americans Flames = 15 Canadians (if you count Regehr, who was born in Recife, Brazil, but grew up playing minor hockey in Prince Albert, Sask.), seven Europeans and three Americans. (source) So it IS Canada Vs the US. Can't you see!?!?!

posted by gspm at 09:22 PM on June 03, 2004

Damn. Nice, gpsm. I had no idea.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:55 AM on June 04, 2004

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