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Pacioretty banned for 3. Leblanc called up.

  • I have a few things to say about the Pacioretty ruling so I’ll lead with Leblanc. Its an interesting move to call up a player only 14 games into his professional career, and yet the Montreal Canadiens don’t have a whole lot of options. Losing their best offensive player hurts. There is no way to replace Pacioretty in the line up. Leblanc has been arguably the best forward on a very bad, last place Bulldogs team this season. When Brian Willsie is your leading scorer, you’ve got problems. Leblanc started the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury and as such missed the first five games of the season. In the 14 games since his return Leblanc has racked up 10 points (4G, 6A) for a solid start to his professional career. My one and only hope for Leblanc is that in his time with the Canadiens we see him used on a scoring line and not the 4th line where he will be forced to play a style he is entirely uncomfortable with. A third line of Moen, Leblanc and Eller would be fantastic.

    Ok now on to the Pacioretty ruling. Let me say this first – I have no problem with Max Pacioretty being suspended for 3 games. In today’s climate, a hit to the head is a suspendable offence, and as such Pacioretty should rightly be suspended. Though he keeps his arms at his side, and Letang’s head is lowered because of his shooting motion on the play, Shanahan ruled as we all hoped he would going into this season – that a play which was reckless – regardless of intent – would warrant a suspension.

    What is sad about Shanahan’s decision is that is becoming increasingly clear that although there is a new sheriff in town, he’s using the old guard’s logic to come to his decision. Shanahan seems hell bent on making each decision based on some idea that he will be able to correctly interpret each subtle movement on the ice to decide intent.

    When Ryan Malone nailed Chris Campoli it was declared that Campoli had lowered his head which led to his injury. No suspension was awarded, and a reckless hit went un-punished.

    Fast-forward to Saturday night and we see Pacioretty cream Letang who’s head is in a lowered position due to his shot attempt. We see that in both of these plays the injured player attempts to play the puck just prior to contact. So how is it possible that one of these plays was reasoned to be a result of the victim’s desision to play the puck, and the other a reckless hit?

    The answer lies in the person who is judging the hit. In one case Shanahan felt compelled to give Malone the benefit of the doubt, and in Pacioretty’s case he did not.  Its exactly the same problem that we faced during Colin Campbell’s regime. Its exactly what we hoped would change with a man who was purportedly less likely to play dictator, and more likely to follow due process. And yet we see that a reckless play by Milan Lucic goes unpunished, the benefit of the doubt given to a player who says he couldn’t react fast enough to not hit an all star goalie, and yet extends both of his arms fully stretched at the point of impact.

    I want to be emphatically clear about what I’m saying here: all three of these hits deserved to be punished. I’m in no way arguing that Pacioretty should have escaped punishment for his hit.

    What I am saying is that as long as perception by an interested party is the largest determining factor to the length of a suspension in these types of hits, we are going to continue to suffer through ridiculous decisions that have no equity in application. Pacioretty will now be viewed as a repeat offender should he be involved in another situation such as this. Malone will not. Lucic, hilariously, will not.

    Shanahan has completely undermined his own credibility through a quarter of the season. The fact that you can see plays with similar outcomes with entirely different results indicates that he’s basing his decisions on his presumption of intent, which means those players and teams that he admires will get the benefit of the doubt, and those who do not hold esteem will be punished to the letter of the law.

  1. #1 Avatar37 says:
    November 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    It’s not only Shanahan, it’s most on ice officials applying the same logic. I’ve witnessed many games where the officials dole out penalties to the Habs based on the letter of the law, yet allow the other team latitude to ‘play the game’. It why the Habs were the most penalized team in the NHL last year, not because they’re any dirtier than other clubs, but because officials apply the rules differently to us.

    If I were the Montreal Canadiens, I’d certainly, behind doors, compile a case and demand satisfaction from the NHL, and if not, I’d take them to court. Players playing for the Habs are entitled to the same protection in the workplace as a player playing for another team, and yet somehow, always seem to get the short end of the stick.

  2. One other comment, Shanahan indicated that Letang got injured on the play, I contend he got cut by his visor and his nose probably was broken because of the visor as well. However, his main on ice injury was simply getting the wind knock out of him and he returns to score the winning goal. No concussion no lost playing time. Whereas Camponi will miss probably 40 games with is injury, Miller 10 to 15 games. Pacioretty lost over half a season and playoffs. So where is the intent to injure??? I think the decision stinks and I do not feel Pacioretty did anything wrong with that hit. He did not targe the head. He simply hit him when he had his head down. I disagree with the suspension.

  3. If you think that he should have got a suspension then show should Gionta when he hit Reimer. The only thing that Pacioretty did wrong was wear the wrong colour sweater.

  4. I am 100% against head shots, and if Pacioretty had stuck his elbow out and targeted the head then he should have got a minimum of 5 games. But he didn’t, he made a physical play on an advancing forward with his head down. #1 we all were taught in hockey do not skate over the blueline with your head down. #2. Hit the man with your body and keep your elbows down to avoid a penalty. #3 the new rule do not target the head. I have watched the hit a 100 times and cannot see what patches did wrong. Basically what they are saying now is if a player has his head down you cannot hit him because in many instance depending how big he is will get injured. They say that Letang knew he was coming and was expecting to be hit. DA yes, the fact that he did not protect himself says it all in my opinion.

  5. Oh what would have happened if Patches was a second late and letang got his shot off and it scored. Isn’t that what we are suppose to stop from happening. If every play
    er knows he can skate with his head down and not be hit then we are in big trouble in this league.

  6. Can you imagine Scott Stevens with these rules today, the NHL would have made him an average defenceman?

  7. #7 Avatar37 says:
    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Senet – Campoli is injured, but his injury is not related to his hit from Malone. He pulled his hamstring. However, Campoli very well could have suffered a concussion from Malone’s hit, it was a clear headshot.

    If injury is the determining factor in a suspension, just like when Rome was suspended in the SCF (Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, said that Rome’s suspension, the longest in Stanley Cup Finals history, was for “the lateness (of the hit) combined with the injury.”) then how is it Chara received 0 games in suspension for his hit? His hit was later than Rome’s, and caused greater injury. It seems to me that when the NHL wants to suspend someone, they use “injury” as an excuse, and when they don’t want to suspend someone, somehow “injury” never comes up as a topic.

    The Gionta hit is not comparable to Pacioretty’s hit. Gionta was cutting across the front of the net looking for a rebound. The space he had to cut through was taken away just as he was trying to slide through it by a) Reimer sliding up out of his crease to cut down the angle of any potential rebound shot, and b) by Phaneuf checking Plekanec. Gionta turned sideways but still caught Reimer’s head with the middle of his back. There was no intent on hitting the goalie, it was simply a case of bad timing.

    Pacioretty sure intended to cream Letang, and he did, and as much as I thought it was a good hard hockey hit, it fits the criteria for headshots under the new NHL rules, including lateral movement. This is the problem with the new rules, and why I protested them when they were introduced, to no avail. No one wanted to hear about how these rules were going to take legitimate hits out of the gmae, and now we’re starting to see the effects of it. I said the same thing when the NHL introduced its “no hitting from behind” policy. It was a mistake, as is evidenced by Pacioretty’s hit on Eaton. Eaton deliberately turned his back to Pacioretty and got his career ended because of it. I saw an incident early this year where an opposing forward was trying to skate out of his zone BACKWARDS. What’s a checker supposed to do, not hit him? It’s an absurd rule, we already had a boarding rule in effect if a referee thought a penalty on the play was warranted. The instigator penalty, the hitting from behind penalty, and now the headshot penalty, are all going to change our game, and not for the better, as we can already see the changes they have brought.

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