"KillShots" A Ratings Hit For "Fix-No-Evil" NHL !!!
Posted in the Montreal Canadiens Forum
Since: Apr 09
#2 Apr 19, 2012
Unless you don't watch sports, you've already seen Chicago coach Joel Quenneville's apoplectic interview on the bench with Joe Micheletti after the incident, wondering how in hell four officials saw nothing, and his blatant rage in his news conference afterwards, which will probably get him fined. And now, there's quite a chorus of "if Raffi Torres plays another game in these playoffs ..." - one suggestion being that he be tossed for as many games as the Coyotes would have left if they went all the way to the Cup, and whatever he doesn't serve in the playoffs will be tacked onto the start of next season.
That's a fine idea. But it's never, ever, ever going to effect a change until the offending player's team feels the pain. If Torres is suspended 10 games, Phoenix should have to play 10 games with 17 skaters.
Three Pittsburgh Penguins suspended for Game 4 of their series with Philly? Dan Bylsma only gets to dress 15 skaters. C'est la guerre. You think things wouldn't shape up in a hurry?
The problem is, too many of the people who set the agenda in the NHL don't want things to change. The permissiveness of the on-ice officials, it turns out, is no accident. They're not blind out there, they are just following orders. The game has devolved to a point where everyone is free to join in the fun - young and old, small and large, goon and star - and every group has been well represented.
But we are told, by the always reasonable Brian Burke, that if we are focused on the violence, we should get over ourselves. In an interview with USA Today, he compared the public outrage over perceived mayhem to complaining about the rain at Woodstock.
"Yes, there was lots of mud, but it was the greatest music gathering in history," Burke said. "I hope we continue to nail the people who are crossing the line. But this is a small number of incidents, and it's unfortunate that non-hockey media is focusing on that. But what I see is great hockey. It's awesome."
Of course, Burke has gone so far out onto his limb as the chief proponent of truculence and obstreperousness - though his team is still looking the words up in the dictionary - he couldn't crawl back now if he wanted to.
Torres's indefinite suspension makes nine this post-season, topping the previous playoff record of six, and we're only a little over a week into a two-month marathon. That's no "small number" of incidents, and the list is growing longer every single night.
There are no mirrors in the NHL's house, though.
In Washington, where Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom cross-checked Boston's Rich Peverley in the head and received a one-game suspension, the Caps released a statement saying: "We disagree with the NHL's decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom. This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed."
The New York Rangers, unhappy when the league suspended Carl Hagelin for his elbow to the head of Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, said, "We are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs."
The first and only recorded incidence of a team saying "good on the NHL, we support the penalty to our guy, and there's no place in hockey for that type of hit" came from Penguins GM Ray Shero when serial concusser Matt Cooke was finally nabbed by the authorities last season.
What happened? Cooke reinvented himself because his team said it was all done defending him.
If the NHL were interested in stopping Raffi Torres, really stopping him, it would require the cooperation of his employers. It might require the loss of a roster spot, too.
But don't hold your breath. Gate receipts are fabulous. Ratings are up. The people in the Colosseum are loving watching the lions eat the gladiators. Enjoy.
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