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04-13-2004, 09:41 AM
Blind Gardien
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Originally Posted by mcphee
... in the playoffs, ethics don't apply. I'm summarizing, not trying to speak for you D. Is that the general attitude ? I don't like to see what happened on Sunday, but that's preference. I don't buy the arguement about sportsmanship in this case spefically, unless the same posters are up in arms about players dislodging the net under pressure or any one of a number of offenses that go on. Cheating or gamesmanship ? Leaving off our Hab or Bruin glasses for a minute, are there any rules ? Should there be ?
I think there are rules, there are personal preferences, and there is a wide spectrum in the application and expression of both. I think the rulebook would have given Kerry Fraser the latitude to call an unsportsmanlike penalty on Ribeiro, refs can call penalties on diving, and it gives them the latitude to call delay of game for knocking the net off.

Those things aren't being called strictly these days, partly because they are such difficult judgement calls, but also IMO partly because nobody is calling for the refs to enforce them. In theory, hooking, holding, and interference are illegal tactics according to the rulebook too. But for practically a decade now, the majority of players in the league have become accustomed to applying those "illegal" tactics with regularity. Did we call that unsportsmanlike?

Actually, with the recent crackdown, some of what the refs are calling on hooking/holding/interference these days are practically as fine-line judgement calls as any of the unsportsmanlike/diving/delayofgame ideas above. They're really zeroing in on the stuff now, because somebody is calling on them to do so. Maybe one day, popular sentiment will swing towards the "sportsmanship" calls too.

But I doubt it. I think that stuff will stay in the personal preference domain. I don't believe in "win at all costs", and I'm as disgusted as the next guy about Ribeiro's behaviour. But I don't think it's anything new or anything we won't see again in hockey. There are always going to be divers and fakers, there always have been. It's a fine line to differentiate, but I would draw one distinction between the "cerebral" shift disturbers and those who just do a one-off performance. Nobody likes a Ken Linseman or Claude Lemieux or Esa Tikkanen or those guys, but at least with them everybody *knows* it's their job, their personal undertaking to try to rile up the opponent and do whatever it takes to get them off their game. They're thinking about every action they take, and making a calculated gamble that it will give them a psychological or tactical advantage in the game somehow. Now, maybe Mike Ribeiro is just on the cusp of evolving into that type of player, I guess I can't say, but personally, I don't think so. I don't think he gave a moment's thought to his actions, or what they might mean to the team, just revealed his basic personality. I could be wrong.

Anyway, I don't like to see "cheap" tactics from anyone, but I guess I can understand them and grudgingly accept them from the "shift disturber" types, though I will never like or quite respect them for doing it. But they've become a part of hockey tradition now.

Besides, it does give us something to get worked up about. If everybody in the game followed the Robotic Code of the Honourable Warrior, it'd be a lot less fun to watch.

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