I Used to Be an Adventurer Like You. Then I Took a Skate to the Head.

Curtis LeBlanc
December 10 2016 11:04AM

Players from the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils surprised no one on Tuesday night when they responded to a hit by the Devils’ Taylor Hall on an unsuspecting Philip Larsen.

The hit looks like a clean one—if we’re talking about the NHL rule book. Judgement beyond that depends on how you feel about a player ploughing into an oblivious, deer-like opponent in the area of the ice I like to refer to as Raffi Torres’ playpen.

The even more deplorable scene took place after the hit when players from both sides rushed behind the net to punch each other in the face with complete disregard for the injured player who inspired their ire.

If you watch the video closely, you’ll see more than just one skate knock a clearly concussed Larsen on the head as he lies motionless on the ice. Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom is seemingly the only one concerned with the safety of the injured player more than getting even and smashing faces.


This is a perfect example of the boneheaded, toxic masculinity that plagues the sport of hockey, the sporting world in general and, if we want to get really "big picture" here, our society as a whole.

Maybe macho attitude and retaliatory aggression will be a part of hockey until the entire sport is banned by the Intergalactic Sports Federation in the year 2136 for being too dangerous. But in the meantime, the powers that be in our sport of choice must do everything they can to protect the participants from injury.

So why not implement a minor penalty for making contact with an injured player who is down on the ice? Regardless of whether it’s a teammate or an opponent, if you skate into that player’s head while he/she is out cold—make contact with them in any way—then you sit for two minutes. Is this not an obvious rule change? Has somebody more important than me not already thought of this?

Two minutes for contact with an injured player. There. Done. That oughta do it.

NHL Not So Hot on 2018 Olympics

Speaking of making rule changes, Gary Bettman sounded very much like a man about to ban his league’s players from participating in the 2018 Olympic games in South Korea when he spoke on the topic on Thursday at the board of governors meeting. That is, unless he can find a way for “The Games” to put money in his pockets and those of his owners.

I’ve personally always been lukewarm on Olympic hockey, probably stemming in-part from my disdain for nationalism and generally waning patriotic feelings. But I understand that most fans want to see the NHL at the Olympics and that most players want a chance to play. I also understand that if the league loses money on this tournament every four years while its star-player-money-makers risk injury on foreign ice, then they don’t have a lot of impetus to go along with it.

What if the NHL does choose not to participate in 2018? Would other major leagues like the KHL, SHL and the Liiga follow suit? Or would the Scandinavian and Russian Olympic teams benefit greatly from a tournament in Pyeongchang sans NHL?

The two North American teams would probably look to the European leagues to gather a few serviceable players. Would they try and recruit a few newly retired former stars? That seems unlikely and totally dependant on who's available in this category. But what might appeal to the individuals charged with the Sisyphean task of creating rosters out of North American players without NHL contracts are the numerous Major Junior and College leagues on the continent.


Imagine a Team Canada and Team USA comprised partly of high-flying teenagers looking to make an impression in their draft year, playing underdog against the best players from Europe. That’s a tournament I wouldn’t want to miss.

Islanders Sign Clutterbuck to a Five Year Deal

The contract, which will see Cal Clutterbuck in New York until he’s 36 years old, will pay him an annual average of $3.5 million—a raise from his previous $2.75 million AAV.


I guess the Islanders felt it necessary to find someone to grow rich, old and irrelevant with Andrew Ladd.

mcduck

Creating Player Ratings Using Swarm Intelligence

More interesting work at the Corsica Blog...

As we continue our quest to find the Grand Unified Theory of evaluating player quality in the game of hockey, I’ve got a feeling that our boy Emmanuel Perry will be the one to get it done. That is, unless an NHL organization snaps him up first.

Strangely enough, his twitter account (@MannyElk) seems to have gone quiet...

Las Vegas Golden Knights Trademark Rejected

It appears the NHL's new Las Vegas franchise failed to do their homework before submitting a trademark request for their new digs.

I don't actually believe that. 

I think that, obviously, the franchise knew about the small fry College of Saint Rose team all along but decided to go with the Golden Knights name and logo anyway, despite the possible conflict. The team could have gone with any iteration of their preferred "Knights" moniker, but chose the already occupied space.

It's a conflict that could have been easily avoided by any small amount of creativity on the part of the brand new multimillion dollar professional sports franchise. Las Vegas: you could have called your team literally anything.

I get the feeling someone will be making a fat donation to the College of Saint Rose before this little mix up is officially in the past.

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Curtis LeBlanc is a writer, poet and hockey person living on the west coast. You can follow him on Twitter @curtiswleblanc and check out his website at www.cwleblanc.com.
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