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"The Code"

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Old
03-11-2004, 02:05 PM
  #1
ehc73
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"The Code"

In hockey, there's a Code, an unwritten set of rules that every hockey player learns when getting to the NHL(or maybe earlier, perhaps junior). Part of it states that if you go hit the star player of the other team, expect to answer for it. Some guy from that team is going to challenge you, and you have to answer the bell. The tough guys on either team then probably duke it out at some point as well.
I'm wondering when this changed where the tough guys do it all. In the days of Howe and Richard, they took care of themselves. Everyone knows about The Rocket's famous stickwork and his suspensions that followed. Then there's the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick(goal, assist, fight). In those days, if some guy ran you and you were a star, you took care of yourself. You delivered a big hit or you dropped the gloves to settle the score. But at some point, it all changed. I'm still young compared to some on these boards(not to make you guys feel old or anything ), so my earliest hockey memories are of Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley protecting Wayne Gretzky. If you messed with Gretzky, you messed with Semenko. And you didn't want to mess with Semenko. When did the Code change from "Stars stand up for themselves" to "designated tough guy beats the crap out of the offender"?
Some consider the Code out of date, and there's no need to have such macho drivel in the place of today's "civilized society". Personally, I consider it somewhat valid. You stand up for your teammates and it promotes team unity. A fight, maybe not, but at least a big hit would send the message, right? Perhaps it's a lack of respect thing that sort of warped the Code from what it was in the 80s to what it is now. In which case, does the Code need to be somehow changed? How do you change the minds of the players who have played it this way?
The Code is part of hockey, I doubt it will go away. But there has been a change in the Code from the early days of the NHL to the high scoring 70s/80s to the defensive mindset of today. Perhaps another change is in order so all players can be protected.

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Old
03-11-2004, 02:18 PM
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Code? Ohhhh the one that says 4th liners can take out star players with cheap hits? Thats the code nowadays so I have heard!

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Old
03-11-2004, 02:19 PM
  #3
loudi94
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This code you speak of comes from a sense of honour and pride among players in an era where hockey was considered a privilege to play. Players didn't get filthy rich playing the game and some even had to work in the summer to make ends meet. Players that retired had to find real jobs in order to make ends meet until they were 65. Now players are rich before they play their first game in the league. For example, Todd Bertuzzi doesn't have to play another game in the NHL and at 29 will have millions of dollars to his name. If he had to think about being able to feed his children maybe he would have exhibited restraint. If they were all in the same boat where they realized that they needed to get real jobs after hockey, the code would work. But because they get paid what they do, the code is obsolete.

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03-11-2004, 02:24 PM
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Most people think it ended with the instigator.

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Old
03-11-2004, 02:42 PM
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MojoJojo
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How about we put a sign on Naslunds chest that says "Star Player, Do not hit"

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Old
03-11-2004, 02:58 PM
  #6
-MrBean-
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Yep, and by that code, it should have been finished when Moore fought Cooke.

But the Canucks were fine with that. What did they expect Moore to do, fight every guy on the team and forget about playing hockey?

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Old
03-11-2004, 03:00 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tray
Code? Ohhhh the one that says 4th liners can take out star players with cheap hits? Thats the code nowadays so I have heard!
Sounds to me that you would like the code to be that star players cannot be touched , even if they are going fishing for a puck in the center of the ice. Maybe they should just make it a monetary thing, like if you make over 3 mil you cant be touched, under you can be bodychecked.

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Old
03-11-2004, 03:07 PM
  #8
Trottier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoJojo
How about we put a sign on Naslunds chest that says "Star Player, Do not hit"
That comment coming from someone located in Philadelphia is ironic. Not sure if this was before your time, but in the days of the Broadstreet Bullies (70s), if you touched Captain Bobby Clarke the Flyer team would ensure that you'd pay 3xs over. And to make matters worse, Clarke himself was no Lady Bynger; he was, IMO, the dirtiest player I've ever seen, using his stick constantly on players (as in placing his blade squarely in the mouth of Devils' dman Tapio Levo and tugging from behind, like a fish on a bait; circa 1983).

Players make the distinction between hitting a star and taking liberties. Adam Graves was Messier's bodyguard in NYC throughout the better part of the 90s. Gillies had Bossy and Trottier's back. Teams that don't protect their stars lose.

To the extent that Bertuzzi, himself a star player (rather than a token goon), sought retribution against Moore, it was "oldtime hickey". However, the timing, and manner of his actions - and the end result - were obviously outside the bounds of the game.

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Old
03-11-2004, 03:14 PM
  #9
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what would you guys consider the legitimate rules that are part of the "code". as in the payback etc.

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Old
03-11-2004, 03:15 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
That comment coming from someone located in Philadelphia is ironic. Not sure if this was before your time, but in the days of the Broadstreet Bullies (70s), if you touched Captain Bobby Clarke the Flyer team would ensure that you'd pay 3xs over. And to make matters worse, Clarke himself was no Lady Bynger; he was, IMO, the dirtiest player I've ever seen, using his stick constantly on players (as in placing his blade squarely in the mouth of Devils' dman Tapio Levo and tugging from behind, like a fish on a bait; circa 1983).

Players make the distinction between hitting a star and taking liberties. Adam Graves was Messier's bodyguard in NYC throughout the better part of the 90s. Gillies had Bossy and Trottier's back. Teams that don't protect their stars lose.

To the extent that Bertuzzi, himself a star player (rather than a token goon), sought retribution against Moore, it was "oldtime hickey". However, the timing, and manner of his actions - and the end result - were obviously outside the bounds of the game.
Only a few people on the board will remember the Flyers of the 70's but man-o-man this stuff is pudding compared to back then. You would NEVER turn your back on a Flyer and avoid something because they would beat the crap out of you. Clarke was a dirty nasty player. He made cheap shot artists like Barnaby look like a Lady Bing winner.

This being said that type of hockey was tossed away in the early eighty's with the bench clearing brawls. Geeze I remember when a Toronto-Phily game would have at least one brawl each time they played.

Different times and different allowing of goonery.

Personally I'm sick of reading about codes and suspensions and the like. We are close to the most wide open playoff race in the history of the NHL. If that don't excite you then maybe them WWE is more your style

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Old
03-11-2004, 03:21 PM
  #11
Freudian
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My understanding of the code is:

* The guy fights someone from the offended team
* The enforcers fight (which they probably would have done anyway)
* The offended team makes sure that if they get a chance to finish a check hard, they take it. Not only against the player, but the other teams stars also. More physical intensity overall, just to send a message.

What the code isn't
* You challenge the guy to fight over and over again until you finally beat him.
* You don't assault the guy.

I might be wrong of course and I'm sure the rules aren't set in stone or anything.

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Old
03-11-2004, 04:25 PM
  #12
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Not to downplay the incident but I don't think the actions were any worse than the Lemieux on Draper hit....I think Bert was as ticked at the blowout as he was the hit on Naslund.

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Old
03-11-2004, 04:34 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -MrBean-
Yep, and by that code, it should have been finished when Moore fought Cooke.

But the Canucks were fine with that. What did they expect Moore to do, fight every guy on the team and forget about playing hockey?
Honestly, what retribution is it to fight the 5'9'' 180 pound Cooke?

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Old
03-11-2004, 04:49 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_bertuzzi
Honestly, what retribution is it to fight the 5'9'' 180 pound Cooke?
Canucks.com list Cooke as 5'11" 205 pound.

Coloradoavalanche.com list Moore as 6'1" and 210 pounds.

The reach and weight difference is negligable (especially for those that demand Moore should have fought Bertuzzi where the weight difference is massive). Cooke had 7 NHL fights, Moore had 0 fights ever.

It is deeply dishonest to pretend Cooke somehow got picked on here. He should have been more than capable to handle Moore. That the Canuck team couldn't handle that he wasn't able to, doesn't allow them to rewrite the code and expect Moore to defend himself over and over again. Thats headhunting, something the Canucks claim to dislike.

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Old
03-11-2004, 04:50 PM
  #15
triggrman
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Moore isn't a big guy either is he? So going toe to toe with someone your size seems fair, unlike punching a guy who is 50 pounds lighter than you in the head from behind.

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Old
03-11-2004, 04:56 PM
  #16
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Cooke's stats are inflated.

Lets not forget Martin St.Louis was listed at 5'10'' when he was in Calgary, and he admitted on ESPN that he's only 5'8''.

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Old
03-11-2004, 05:10 PM
  #17
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Man I really miss the bench clearing brawls.

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Old
03-11-2004, 05:14 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_bertuzzi
Cooke's stats are inflated.
If Cooke's stats are inflated, whose to say Moore's aren't? You are really grasping at straws here.

Considering that fight with Cooke was probably Moore's first fight ever, it would definetly have to be considered "answering the bell". Just cause he did not get pounded by Cooke doesn't negate that fact.

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Old
03-11-2004, 05:22 PM
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You want to talk about code and protecting the stars when talking about Moore's hit on Naslund. It's like the Canucks are the only team to have a star player get hit or injured.

In the very same game Jarko Ruutu made himself Peter Forsberg's backpack. Forsberg hasn't played since that game. Naslund missed three. Yes, Forsberg and Naslund play vastly different styles and Forsberg usually dishes as much as he takes. But he's still a star player, the defending Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner. Should Ruutu be viciously attacked by Peter Worrell to stay the hell away from Forsberg?

And I'm sure every other team has their own examples of why they want "code" to be adhered to. Vancouver is not some lonely victim that needs things to be changed for their good.

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Old
03-11-2004, 06:02 PM
  #20
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I was watching a program with former Canuck Ryan Walter on it and he had an interesting story to tell. He said that one time when he was playing against Terry O'Reilly he had his stick up and accidently hit O'Reilly in the head with it. O'Reilly turned around, looked at Walter, dropped his gloves and said, "Wally, we have to go". I don't think we see that type of situation much in the NHL anymore.

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Old
03-11-2004, 06:35 PM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breck Av
You want to talk about code and protecting the stars when talking about Moore's hit on Naslund. It's like the Canucks are the only team to have a star player get hit or injured.

In the very same game Jarko Ruutu made himself Peter Forsberg's backpack. Forsberg hasn't played since that game. Naslund missed three. Yes, Forsberg and Naslund play vastly different styles and Forsberg usually dishes as much as he takes. But he's still a star player, the defending Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner. Should Ruutu be viciously attacked by Peter Worrell to stay the hell away from Forsberg?

And I'm sure every other team has their own examples of why they want "code" to be adhered to. Vancouver is not some lonely victim that needs things to be changed for their good.
My original question(well one of them) was when did it change from stars taking care of their own business to having "tougher" guys do it for them. I haven't been around long enough to see such change, so that's why I asked. Recent events got me thinking about it, but it's not to change it for a specific team. I didn't mention the Canucks anywhere in my post.

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Old
03-11-2004, 06:42 PM
  #22
triggrman
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Last year when Big Bert knocked Al Mac out with a tough but "legal" hit, I wonder what Nucks fans would have thought if Lowe had sucker punched Bert from behind.

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Old
03-11-2004, 06:58 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehc73
My original question(well one of them) was when did it change from stars taking care of their own business to having "tougher" guys do it for them. I haven't been around long enough to see such change, so that's why I asked. Recent events got me thinking about it, but it's not to change it for a specific team. I didn't mention the Canucks anywhere in my post.
My post was not in response to your's, I should have made that clear, it was meant for the mention of 4th liners taking out stars by tray and the continued denial that Cooke and Moore are in pretty much the same weight class by others. I'm sorry I didn't actually point that out in my first post as you're points and question was valid by itself though I can't pinpoint an answer.

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Old
03-11-2004, 07:53 PM
  #24
monster_bertuzzi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triggrman
Last year when Big Bert knocked Al Mac out with a tough but "legal" hit, I wonder what Nucks fans would have thought if Lowe had sucker punched Bert from behind.
Actually I dont think Lowe even played in the playoffs last year (goons have no reason to play in the playoffs anyways). But Lowe did instigate a fight with May after he hit Tkachuk last year, and we Nuck fans had no problem with that at all.

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Old
03-11-2004, 09:12 PM
  #25
officeglen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoJojo
How about we put a sign on Naslunds chest that says "Star Player, Do not hit"
Quote:
Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock: "We have a code in our game. Everybody knows the code and it's not being honored. We all know that right now and we have to find a way to get the honor back in that code. There is a lot of tragic things that are happening to players. There's a lot of reckless play that is going on right now. How do we get that changed so we get a little bit of respect back in the game?"
League management knows what the code is. It's time to enforce it. For example if Havlat breaks it (using my team as an example), then nail him with a 10 game suspension, instead of a little 2 game vacation and an offer of free lunch from the other team. After a while, the players will clue in and respect will return. I really prefer the NFL at this point, where, after a hard-fought game, players can shake hands instead of threatening with hand motions to kill opposing players. It starts with respect for each other.

Hitchcock quote from: Reaction to Todd Bertuzzi suspension

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