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10-23-2003, 03:55 PM
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OYLer Opines and Laments

In another thread I was responding to the following comments. In order not to muddy that thread with such a lengthy response this thread is offered.
Originally Posted by GuyF
As for Laraque VS Worrell... they are super tight buddies off the ice. If they do go, man it isn't because they want to put it that way.
That's the problem with the new instigator rule. Now we have replaced appropriate competitive violence with a phoney and contrived dance, a system of controlled ritual violence. I swear the WWF has come to the NHL. When our reigning heavyweight and their new young tough guy agree to 'go' it becomes just plain insulting to us, the fans of hockey. Such a parody of what fighting is to, and how it benefits the game of hockey has become manifestly distasteful in its destiny.

In the last game against St. Louis, Tkachuk ran over Salo intentionally. Tommy could have been hurt and after that incident Tommy's game certainly didn't get any better. Any professional hockey team properly coached, would immediately, have Tkachuk pounded senseless, the message clearly sent, no crap like that happens to anyone on our team, especially at home and in our building. Those who take liberties get hammered; no questions asked.

I would rather have Laraque skate hard and make a huge legal hit, leave Forsberg wincing in pain, or maybe re-arrange Selanne's face on the plexiglass, and force Worrell to come out and defend his skilled players, than have Georges take a silly, in your face, drop the gloves penalty. And when Worrell and Georges do go, I don't want either of them worrying about possibly losing their team the game because of an instigator penalty. Worse yet, when a player gets injured because of intentional or careless misuse of the stick, a message must be sent to the perpetrator, a fist breaking his nose works for me. Folks, this men's NHL professional hockey not tiddlywinks!

Worst of all, is when players intentionally attempt to injure, or regretably, in the heat of the moment, loses control because the harmed players have no on ice recourse to address the damage done. Consider the last time the Avs played the Blues and Pronger viciously crosschecked Paul Kariya, 8 steamboats, after Paul scored a goal. Sure Pronger got a slap-on-the-wrist roughing penalty. However, coming to the aid of his teammate, Rob Blake was given a roughing penalty because he didn't want to drop his gloves. With the game still in the balance, defending a skilled player and going to the box for 7 minutes wouldn't have been smart. When the puck next dropped if an enforcer could have come out, to take care of business, without putting his team in a hole, those kind of cheapshots would not occur or happen much less frequently.

So when play resumed, at the faceoff, it was a 4 on 4, to my great disappointment. The advantage was nullified and Pronger got away scot-free after cheap-shotting a much smaller skilled player who had been in a vulnerable position. Crosschecked in the kidneys while facing away with his arms extended in the air in victory, Kariya was crumpled to the ice. Just asked Craig Simpson about how these types of cowardly cheapshots prematurely ended his career, and for that matter shortened Gretsky's career.

If Chelios, Hatcher, Pronger and/or EXELBY etc., knew Laraque or his counterparts would exert a pile of hurt on them for taking liberties, more skilled hockey and increased scoring would grace the NHL. Every true fan of hockey, who I know, would rather watch a fast skilled game of hockey, whose outcome was determined by skilled players, and not Hooliganism. But when Liberties are taken, I assert the fact that poorly concieved penalties can outstrip and compromise on ice justice. The game of hockey has got to be self-policing, as well as, officiated properly with a rule set which makes sense.

The silliness of the new Diving Penalty comes to mind. This piece of fluff theater inflicted on we the knowledgeable fan base is a travesty which pollutes hockey's competitive purity. In times past, in better times, when a player took a dive the Refs ignored it, the player was then caught out of position, his check left undefended and open would usually get a great scoring chance or score a goal. The Greg Louganis wannabees (think Forsberg here) would then be laughed off the ice. Unfortunately, now every player is forced to dramatically prostrate themselves in the new "big bucks/high steaks" arena. The new Americanized version of hockey, complete with the fenzy to franchise anywhere if it is a large enough market, has diluted hockey's knowledgeable fan base.
And why, you ask, is this so? Because most of the new big market American fan base couldn't tell the difference between a dive and when a player was legitimately hooked or pulled down. Ergo, the diving indiscretion did fined it's way into hockey's NHL locker-rooms complete with its List of Shame. The non-call personified into the DIVING penalty, favouring the higher paid players; made so, just to placate the newbie perspective by alerting them that drama queens can and do exist in the NHL.

It was this same conundrum of corporate reasoning, that allowed some milktoast business executive to commission an opinion poll which determined the following: the one and only thing most non-northeastern Americans knew about hockey came from Jay Leno's repeated telling, of that lame old joke, about going a fight and a hockey game breaking out. So, regrettably, the game of hockey was penalized when the new NHL Braintrust instigated this ongoing rule of idiocy! Remembering as always The Golden Rule, those who have the most gold, make the rules, and change them at will to suit themselves.

p.s. I would apoligize to all those that tried to read this post before I cleaned up all of the errors. I had just had high speed internet connected and was too much in a hurry to post before the Avs/Oilers game started. After returning from the local watering hole I reviewed this post with horror. I installed MSWord only after I had edited this rant some 10 times.

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