It Was Written In Blood

By , August 7, 2009 9:21 am
I'm not even sure how this is possible

I'm not even sure how this is possible

UPDATE: (Racki’s comments have been added below in italics)

I love watching hockey fights. I do. And I can pretty much guarantee that a whole lotta other people enjoy them too based on what I see at the Oilers games.

Hell, even in my own short lived hockey career I enjoyed the ol’ donnybrook every now and then.

That said (and I really like MacIntyre), I am not a big fan of the heavyweight. I’ll cheer when they do scrap, but it doesn’t seem as intense as when the fight occurs out of the heat of the moment, or when one of the little firecrackers that can score a little decide to chuck the knuckles.

Seriously, my favorite fighters are the Carcillo’s, Laperriere’s, Glencross’s and Backes’s. The little guys that swing for the fences, while at the same time show some ability to play. Even Gagner when he fights I find is more exciting than a heavyweight scrap.

Heavyweights just don’t seem to be able to perform the only duty that they are there for anymore.

I believe that the role of the enforcer was to deter the other team from doing stupid stuff, but with the instigator rule it seems to have limited the effectiveness of those players (for which it was intended no doubt).  A true deterrent would be not asking for permission and just pounding the hell out of Tootoo (as an example) when he does something stupid,  whether he wants to scrap or not. A true deterrent/enforcer can’t ask permission, they just need to destroy. I don’t think Semenko ever asked if the other guy was willing to fight if they ran Gretzky.

Plus with the advent of the instigator rule, we now have the rise of the pest who can effectively run around and get others off of their game without fear of retribution. You think Avery or Ott would pull half of the shit they do now if they knew that next time they stepped on the ice they would have their heads pounded in?

Really, one of two things are going to be phased out of the game: the heavyweight or the instigator.

Post title jacked from the song of the same name by Bring Me The Horizon.

Racki’s post-ramble:
The problem with heavyweights is they only generally fight other heavyweights, or guys on the cusp of being a heavyweight.

MacIntyre, I give him full credit for defending Pouliot after the ridiculous beat down he received from Vandermeer. There is not an Oiler fan who didn’t either watch Sportsnet highlights or the youtube video repeatedly to re-live the retribution Big Mac laid on Vandermeer though. That’s where they are still good.

However, we’ll flip to the other side of the coin. Last year the Montreal Canadiens hosted the Phoenix Coyotes in a game in which Kurt Sauer threw a vicious hit at star Andrei Kostitsyn. Whether your stance was that it was dirty or not (I personally thought the damage to Andrei’s face was enough proof), you just don’t let other teams get away with that stuff. Brother Sergei went bananas, and if it weren’t for players holding him back, he may have used the Russian-bongo attack on Sauer (close call).

So instead what happens is Laraque invites Sauer to the dance. Sauer respectfully (and expectedly) declines. What the hell good does that do? Here’s Laraque’s comments afterwards:

“Obviously, he’s not going to go with me – he’s not a heavyweight. I had to leave a message, but that’s why a guy like Kostopoulos, who is more his size, responded.” – Georges Laraque

I have to go back and watch that fight again to refresh my memory, but I don’t think Kostopolous accomplished the mission.

“I can’t jump on a guy and start pounding him and get five or 10 games (suspension). The league has punishment for hits to the head. I can only do so much. I don’t want to get the team in trouble.” – Georges Laraque

News flash, Georges… what the fuck do you think you are on the ice for? The Canadiens don’t pay you to score goals. They pay you to protect the team. You’ll be out 5 games, but trust me, if you beat Sauer to a bloody pulp, the teams the Canadiens face the next 5 games will know not to mess with your stars because it’s a long season and career. There will be retribution at a later date. Laraque put himself out of a job, in my eyes, by not standing up for his teammate there. His only job is to act as a deterrent, and it did nothing to deter Sauer. (FYI, I blame Carbonneau as much as I blame Laraque here)

If you’re going to have a heavyweight on your team, you better have some middleweight guys (the Strudwicks, Carcillos, etc.) to help stick up for the team when your heavyweight is unleashing unholy terror on the 6’4″ 220lb defenceman that took liberties with your star. Yes, you’ll lose your heavyweight to suspension if they instigate a fight in retaliation… but why else are they there for? If they’re letting teams get away with it because they’re scared of being suspended… who are they fooling? Is it really a deterrent at all? No.

18 Responses to “It Was Written In Blood”

  1. Max Powers says:

    This is in response to Racki’s comments:

    “News flash, Georges… what the fuck do you think you are on the ice for? The Canadiens don’t pay you to score goals. They pay you to protect the team. You’ll be out 5 games, but trust me, if you beat Sauer to a bloody pulp, the teams the Canadiens face the next 5 games will know not to mess with your stars because it’s a long season and career.”

    The thing with that is that when Laraque gets suspended for 5 games, he doesn’t get paid for 5 games. If it came down to getting a suspension and still getting paid, I would bet he would do it. It’s not really fair to expect a guy to forfeit money for the better of the team. That is unless I am mistaken, and Laraque would get suspended with pay.

  2. Racki says:

    That’s actually a fairly good point. I’m not sure if they are suspended without pay (I don’t think they are), but they could be hit with a fine though. So I suppose that is one concern. It’s easy enough for me to sit here and knock him for thinking about the money over the teammate, if that’s the case, when I might not do different in his place (although I think I would). But good point on that. I’ll see if I can dig up a sample suspension for instigating.

    And of course, we don’t want Laraque going Bertuzzi on Sauer, so I’m not suggesting that either, just to get that out of the way.

    edit: the rulebook does say that the instigator penalty comes with an automatic $10,000 fine and doubles per subsequent incident. So that’s where the money could be an issue. I personally wouldn’t think about the money, but I’m not going to get all preachy and knock Laraque if thats what he was thinking.

  3. Steve-O says:

    In no way do I agree that someone should go all “Bertuzzi” on someone. Plus in that case, Moore had already answered the bell earlier. But there was the case earlier where Staios hit a Wild player and Clutterbuck came charging in. I bet he didn’t ask there. And yse I am aware he’s not a heavyweight. But still.

    And I bet the team will “cover” that fine if it was done for the right reasons. Maybe not officially but still.

  4. Dallas says:

    Great blogsite Racki I love your articles and your insight as soon as I checked out your site I bookmarked ya in my iPhone keep up the great work:D

  5. Racki says:

    Thanks Dallas! Good to see another poster here 😉

  6. Racki says:

    Steve-O: In no way do I agree that someone should go all “Bertuzzi” on someone.Plus in that case, Moore had already answered the bell earlier.But there was the case earlier where Staios hit a Wild player and Clutterbuck came charging in.I bet he didn’t ask there.And yse I am aware he’s not a heavyweight.But still.And I bet the team will “cover” that fine if it was done for the right reasons.Maybe not officially but still.

    Yah Honestly, the whole fine thing strikes me as a bit of a bad excuse, so I would hope it wouldn’t be for that reason. Like I said though, Carbonneau takes part of the blame too. I am guessing he also put a leash on Laraque (not that it was necessary though… we all know how he works now). Other coaches would tap a player on the shoulder, and they’d know what to do. I don’t think Carbonneau approves of taking an instigator though.

  7. Dallas says:

    Hey Racki what do you think of the oilers going after Kessel maybe trading Cogliano Brule and 1 of our college defence prospects. There are only a few players on the roster I would not trade and them being Hemsky Gagner Visnovsky Eberle MPS Grebeshkov Actually maybe any of our draft picks from this year but out of the rest of our players you would think we could put together a pretty attractive packages

  8. Dallas says:

    Sorry wouldn’t mind your input to Steve O

  9. Samus says:

    Good blog, Hope for more.

  10. Racki says:

    Kessel would be a great pickup. The only real issues I have though is that he won’t come cheap (I’ve heard some reports say he was asking as high as 5M/year), and he also is going to be out until November or December from shoulder surgery he had. I hate seeing Cogliano involved in any trades as well too. I’ve always been a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” kind of guy. We know Cogliano has only 2 years under his belt and already has 36 goals.

    However, Kessel is a pretty damn good player. I’ve had my eye on him since the World Junior Champs at age 17-ish. He was a MONSTER (to quote Pierre McGuire) in the ’05 tournament. My first thought was, wow, this guy is the next Modano. That comparison has been drawn a few times by others.

    Would I give up Cogliano for him? Well, my heart says no, but the brain says yes. He won’t come cheap, unfortunately. But lets face it, goal scorers are hard to come by. We still don’t know Cogliano’s full potential though, but that can work either way. Tough call. If Kessel were bigger and not coming off a shoulder injury, I’d do it in a heart beat… however I think I’d grudgingly allow it.

    Btw, there is a post on all this stuff down a bit further called “Oilers Looking For Top Scorer Still?” that you might want to check out.

  11. Dallas says:

    Cool thanks racki I’ll check it out and yah I’ve heard he won’t be available till nov dec and no he deffinetly won’t come cheap. I really like Cogs too Gagner is my favorite but in order to get Kessel we would have to give up at least Cogs I think. Bos don’t have much cap room or they would have had him signed already so they need someone cheap with huge upside plus a few more lessers. Thanks for the reply

  12. Max Powers says:

    I was under the impression that any suspension is without pay, whatever it is for. Any ideas?

    Forget to mention that this was a great blog to Steve-O as well.

  13. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Max Powers,

    I was under the same impression. Still, I agree with Racki, if the enforcer can’t do his job, or chooses not to do his job because of the financial hardship, then their really is no point in him being on the team. Forfeit the money and be suspended or forfeit your job in the NHL. Either way, I believe the NHL is at fault here. They need to get rid of the instigator rule. When a guy runs around cheap shotting people, he should get suspended by the league and get his head caved in by the other teams heavyweight. It wouldn’t take long before people would get the message.

  14. Racki says:

    I know there are instances where suspensions can be with pay, but never heard either way for fighting (other than that instigating comes with a fine as well). It seems a little odd that they’d slap on the fine in addition to you losing a day of your paycheque, but you guys are probably right. I tried digging it up though and couldn’t find anything. Man would it be nice to have a chat with one of the NHL rule guys one day. 😛

  15. Max Powers says:

    I agree with you , Mr. Majestyk, and Racki in principle. but I don’t think it’s realistic to ask a guy to forfeit his money for the better of the team, especially if he is usually one of the lowest paid guys on the ice (enforcers, not just Laraque).

  16. Racki says:

    Yah, we don’t tolerate realistic views here… 😛

    I kid…

    As much as I hate to say it, you’re right… it isn’t right to ask him to forfeit any of his money. I just don’t think there’s much substance to the thought that he didn’t fight because he was afraid of losing money.. but hey, maybe that’s it.

    Assuming the league does suspend without pay for instigator suspension, it would be nice (in my view) if they took that part out of it. Especially with the added fine on top. Seems a little much. But, I’m of the old school though in which players police themselves, to an extent.

  17. Mr.Majestyk says:

    So, is there even a role for a goon on a hockey team anymore?

  18. Racki says:

    Like I said, I’m of the old school. I hate the instigator penalty. I think the NHL was fine the way it was before that rule came along. The rule is also inconsistent.

    I know we’ve got Coli Campbell to do the policing, and he doesn’t do too bad of a job. However, I’ll always be a bigger fan of good old fashioned “street justice”.

    But as long as the instigator rule is in the NHL, no… there really isn’t much need for a goon anymore. Very rarely do you see a goon retaliating against the actual “offender” in today’s NHL. Usually it’s goon versus goon.

    I think guys take liberties because they know that generally they can get away with it. For example, head shots are up. I wonder if that would be the case if those players knew that the gorilla on the other bench was going to steal their lunch money if they throw a dirty hit on one of his teammates.

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