Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Intent, malice, really??

Under NHL rules if your stick makes contact with a player's facial area it's a high-sticking penalty. Regardless of if the player "meant" to do it. You must be in control of your stick at all times. (Imagine that.)

Will someone please tell me why this appears to be the only rule that takes this sort of "you must be aware of your actions regardless of intent"?

Certainly swinging your stick around is dangerous. There's always the danger of contact with eyes, but many times a player gets clipped and it's a few stitches or no injury at all. But it's an automatic penalty.

Somehow a player can be irresponsible with everything except the stick and give a player a concussion that can stick with you forever -- and -- it's all good?

Everyone knows it's not "all good" but that's the message the NHL sent today when it decided not to hand out any further disciplinary action against Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. 

I've seen a lot of comment about the hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. If you're one of the few people who haven't watched TV or been on the internet in the last 24 hours here it is.

Chara had his head up. The puck was long gone. He was called for interference and booted from the game.

In Mike Murphy's statement about the hit, the excuse is that Chara didn't leave his feet and he didn't "target" Pacioretty's head. In my opinion he absolutely targetted the head. Maybe he didn't put his elbow directly into his head but he certainly pushed Pacioretty into the glass in a way that his head would inevitably make contact with a solid object. 

"Oh but he didn't MEAN to do it".

Give me a break. I don't care what you say, Chara saw that glass coming. Besides, I could care less if he meant to do it. There are murderers who stand before a judge and say they didn't "mean" to do it. Too bad buddy, you're still going to jail.Why can't the NHL treat it's players like that.

Max Pacioretty is undoubtedly out for the season with a "severe concussion" and several broken vertebrae. He's lucky he's not paralyzed. The Habs are now without a player who's been putting up excellent numbers for an AHL call-up. That's not justice.

Then there's the fact the NHL is without it's star. Sidney Crosby was on a tear. Perhaps a record-breaking tear. They were without him at the All-Boring-Game. And they may be without him for the playoffs. Because some guy on the Capitals didn't "mean" to get his elbow up and hit him in the head.

Enough with this 'intent' bullshit.

I can't understand how the NHL can continually let this slide. The dysfunction is mindboggling. Absolutely mindf$^$ingboggling.

Jennifer Casey was born and raised in Halifax. She loves all sports but tries to stick to writing about hockey for sanity purposes. You can follow her on twitter @jenncaseyhfx or find her on her blog National Passtime


Anonymous said...

Actually Intent does matter, especially in legal situations. It's called Mens Rea.

I don't agree with giving no suspension to Chara, but it's definitely hard to prove he meant to injure Pacioretty. If that hit had happened anywhere else on the ice, there wouldn't have been anything said, it's the stanchion that did the damage.

As for your last comment, you are sure that Steckel injured Crosby with his elbow? I've watched that video a hundred times and Steckel's shoulder hits Crosby's head, sure. But Steckel is 6'5" and Crosby is 5'11", if they collide, that's what happens. I think it was actually Hedman's hit that injures Crosby (since he played after the Winter Classic)

Jenn Casey said...

With all due respect, I've sat through enough court cases to know that intent matters in legal cases. It can be the difference between Murder and Manslaughter. Jail time or house arrest.

What I'm saying is if the NHL wants to clean up the game, they need to use the same model they use for high-sticking in the rest of the plays. It's inconsistent.

As for the Crosby hit, if you watch it from the second angle
I see the elbow come in contact with Crosby's head. I'm not sure even Crosby believes that the Hedman hit was the one who injured him. There was barely any contact. His bell was rung well before that. If you've watched the 24/7 series they show Crosby in the dressing room and he looks like he isn't quite sure where he is.

Mike Howell said...

If you are going to leave a comment, don't be a coward and hide behind an anonymous name tag.