Some random thoughts about the Minnesota Wild and the NHL
-The Wild put together a nice 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night. I can’t offer too much insight as I had to listen on the radio and won’t be able to watch it until NHL Gamecenter lifts the blackout in a couple days, but I can say that this team always seems to find a way to win. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought things were about to get bad when the Wild turned Niklas Backstrom into a shooting gallery target and quickly went down 2-1. But both Backs and the defense stepped up and held off the Hawks.
-In the month of January the Wild were handed 4 home games and 8 away games, including an east coast trip against a couple of the league’s best. How did they do? They “only” managed to go 8-4. The worst of it was a 3 game losing streak during which Jose Theodore tried to play hurt and Anton Khudobin was thrown into a couple tough situations.
Join me after the jump for more thoughts and a rant on Colin Campbell
-How good is the Wild goaltending? After giving up 5 goals to the Coyotes in the first game of the year, Jose Theodore goes out east and allows only 2 goals in 3 games to the Devils, Penguins, and Bruins. After the previously mentioned 3 game skid,
Dominik Hasek Jr. Anton Khudobin steps up and shuts out the Canucks and nearly does the same to the Oilers. Then, after nearly a month off Niklas Backstrom returns and shuts out the Flames.
-Jared Spurgeon continues to impress me. He is not afraid to take a hit and he is creating offense. He had his first goal last night for a couple minutes, but no worries, with the way he is playing it will happen soon enough.
-Martin Havlat will be joining Brent Burns in the all-star game. Congrats Marty you have earned it. I would have liked for Mikko Koivu to have been chosen as well, but its great to see two Wild players get an honor they deserve.
-Okay, rant time. More than once I have penned or wanted to pen articles ripping Colin Campbell. But complaining about Campbell is like complaining about the snow in Minnesota. However it is inexcusable that Curtis Glencross was only given a $2500 fine for his nasty boarding on Clayton Stoner. Meanwhile, teammate Tom Kostopoulos was given a 6 game suspension for what was arguably not a dirty hit. The difference? Stoner returned to the ice and Brad Stuart ended up with a broken jaw. What is clear is that for all of the NHL’s talk of preventing head shots, they really care more about looking good than doing good. There is an old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Well Mr. Bettman if you want some prevention then dirty hits need to result in suspensions regardless of whether the player is injured or plays the next shift. Case in point- look at the aforementioned Tom Kostopoulos. As I pointed out in my last blog he has been a dirty player all year. He threw an elbow to the head of Nick Schultz that injured him. But was he suspended? No. Now if Colin Campbell hadn’t been a coward and had stepped up and handed out a suspension then, then maybe he doesn’t break Brad Stuart’s jaw. Now Curtis Glencross has been told that he can board a player, and this play was as dirty as it gets, and walk away with a measly fine. So whats to stop him from doing it next time? And next time that player could be seriously injured.
Former Devil’s prospect Patrice Cormier got a lot of publicity for his hit on Mikael Tam. He also was suspended for the remainder of the season. But that wasn’t even the first time he had pulled that exact same stunt. In an exhibition games against Sweden prior to the World Juniors he did the exact same thing to Anton Rodin. Although the videos are no longer available here is what I wrote almost exactly a year ago about Patrice Cormier.
Watch the montage of elbows to the head. Had anyone of those hits been appropriately punished, then Tam might not have been hospitalized. Cormier has clearly shown a pattern of behavior that both Lou and LeBrun claim he hasn’t. But the only thing he hadn’t done prior to this was severely injure someone.
Sunday on NBC Pierre McGuire advocated for player safety so much that Mike Milbury called him a hockey mom. But look at what I wrote a year ago.
I suppose Anton Rodin should count his lucky stars that he only got a broken nose, he could have ended up like Tam. And Pierre McGuire is yukking it up in the background saying “That was a lot of elbow.” Would McGuire have yukked up the Tam hit saying that “was a lot of elbow?” Of course not. Why? Because someone was seriously hurt. But injury needs to stop being the measuring stick for how hits are treated by bloggers and announcers.
It is time for Colin Campbell to step up and take a stand and stop being a coward. Suspend all dirty hits and you will go a long way to stopping the head shots the NHL claims it wants to stop.
-It was pointed out to me on twitter the comparison of the Glencross hit to Ovechkin’s hit on Campbell that got him suspended. I think its pretty clear from the arguments I have made that the only difference is the injury, but you decide.
Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Anton Khudobin Brent Burns Brian Campbell Chicago Blackhawks Clayton Stoner Colin Campbell Curtis Glencross Jared Spurgeon Jose Theodore Martin Havlat Mike Milbury Nick Schultz Niklas Backstrom Pierre McGuire Todd Richards Tom Kostopoulos