Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Hit and the Quip

The Hit

The Janssen hit came 1.33 seconds after Kaberle moved the puck to Cola and the play had clearly moved up ice (I didn't time it, but the low-talking ever quiet Steve Kouleas and his partner Ludzik had telestrated the entire play on the Score).

Janssen barely left his feet on the hit and it didn't look to me like an explicit elbow. Had Kabs not been admiring his pass, he wouldn't have been so vulnerable. The majority of the damage seemed to be done when Kaberle slammed into the boards after absorbing the initial hit.

I wonder what Leafs Nation would be saying this morning if the skates were on the other foot- if it was Wade Belak finishing a hit on Colin White? Would there be calls for suspensions? How would Leafs fans feel about the refs not calling it - a sign of incompetence or further defence for the guy in the blue and white? Would Maurice have put Belak back on the ice for another shift?

I'd like to see Janssen handed a multi-game suspension for this. It might be my Leaf blood talking, but it certainly seemed like a late hit with some intent to injure thrown in for good measure.

There really needs to be a disincentive administered by the league for these late hits before someone is seriously injured - either from the event or the retribution.

**UPDATED** And three games it is for Mr. Janssen...

The Quip

I'm not a huge fan of Jeff O'Neill (although 20 goals for his $1.5M salary is great value) - but I'm hoping JFJ resigns him next year just so we can get some refreshing quotes.

On the Janssen hit,

O'Neill called Janssen a "meathead" after the game, adding: "It's just more proof that some of these younger idiots in our league have no respect for what's going on out there. [Janssen] is probably a classic example, and the best defenceman in the NHL -- I think -- will be out for awhile. It's disappointing."

On the missed high-stick against Sundin:

"It's not like he is not noticeable out there, he's the best player on the ice, he's six-foot-five and he gets high-sticked in front of four referees. It's just kind of weird that there's not a call."
On Kerry Fraser and the myster goal:

"What's concerning to me is I don't know how [Fraser] makes that call with such conviction. It's a terrible call and it's unacceptable at this time of the year. The replay is clearly evident that it's not f---ing goalie interference. If it is goalie interference, call a penalty. We have to answer to people when we screw up, but I don't know what these guys have to do. It's a goddamn joke to be honest with you."
Sure beats the usual tripe we get in post game reports...


  1. I watched the video several times on Mirtle's blog and not only was it a late hit but Janssen didn't start to skate towards Kaberle until after he made the pass. It's obvious Janssen was trying to hurt Kaberle although not necessarily trying to injury him (although as a write this I'm not sure what the distinction is). But it was not a case of finishing a check. It may not be as grievious as the Domi elbow on Niedermayer but same outcome.

  2. If the shoe was on the other foot then I know I'd condemn it to other Leaf fans. I probably would try to justify it to other fans because why give them something else to beat me over the head with.

    Janssen's hit was late and on the slo-mo replay shows that he is not necessarily jumping but is trying to burst through the hit. He is aiming for Kaberle's head and trying to drive his shoulder through it.

    Three games is a joke but any suspension to Janssen was never going to be commensurate. I guess the message is that the hit was no worse than Emery's love tap. I would love to be a fly on the wall when Campbell spins that wheel of justice.

  3. Psuedonym - don't get me wrong, I think the hit was an awful thing, that it warranted a suspension and is something that needs to be removed from the game (I'm also not defending Janssen) but your post touched on a key point: it's such a fine line between finishing a check and hurting someone. Had Kaberle not been so close to the boards, I don't think the injury would have been anywhere near as severe.

    If a star on Jersey had levelled that cheque on Kaberle, I doubt there would have been a hearing, nevermind a suspension.

    Wouldn't some transparency from the NHL be great? For my money, nobody handles the officials better than the NFL. If one of their zebra's messes up, they step up and talk about it openly. It's something I really wish the NHL would emulate.

    Not sure if you saw this blurb - but here's some great candor from Bryan Burke at the tread deadline:

    I'd give my eye teeth to be a fly on the wall at so many of these things - suspension hearings, deadline day, routine deals, pre-game meetings, etc.

  4. MF37 - I saw that Burke deadline diary and thought that it was exactly the kind of thing that the league should highlight and encourage. Transparency would do wonders for interest in the game and to ensure that fans feel that their team is getting a fair shake.

    As for the referees, so many leagues worldwide do such a good job sanctioning referees that make mistakes and being forthcoming about the situation that the NHL can't complain about not knowing how to do it. What happens to a ref that makes a mistake in the NHL? Nothing. It's frustrating.