Monday, April 23, 2007

Gee, What A Surprise

In a nationally televised game, Calgary Flames goaltender Jamie McLennan intentionally slashes Detroit Red Wing Forward Jeff Franzen in the chest in the dying seconds of a game that the Flames were going to lose. McLennan who was credited with :18 seconds of icetime of course incurred 22 minutes worth of penalties.

The supplemental discipline? 5 games, eh, business as usual in the NHL. They did slap a $25,000 fine on Flames head coach Jim Playfair and $100,000 on the Flames organization. But that's it.

Please tell me again why the NHL should be taken seriously as a Professional Sports League? McLennen will turn 36 right before Free Agency starts and as of right now, he does not have a contract for next season. Whoever decides to pick him up (should he be) would have to sit him (a career backup goaltender) for the first four games of next season.

Am I the only one who is miffed by this? 5 games, yeah, that'll teach 'em. Nope, you won't see another goaltender swing his stick like that ever again.

Oh Caps Nut, Franzen wasn't hurt, didn't you see that Franzen eliminated the Flames in Double OT last night? Yeah, I saw that and since everybody likes to play the "what if" game, what if McLennan's stick was a little higher and got Franzen in the throat? Have you ever heard of Miran Schrott? He took a slash to the chest in an Italian B Division game in 1992 and died. That's right, he died from a slash to his chest. Jimmy Boni (the slasher) plead guilty to manslaughter and Boni didn't use a goaltender's stick to deal the fatal blow.

It is easy to be the toughest player on the ice when you have the most equipment and the biggest stick. Quite frankly I don't see any difference between what McLennan did and what Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon did. Furthermore why wasn't Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows suspended for his slashing of Dallas' Brendan Morrow? Does somebody want to say that was entirely different than what McLennan did?

Personally, the book should have been thrown at McLennan and because we're dealing with a little used backup goaltender, Flames Head Coach Jim Playfair should have been suspended as well. But I am beginning to think that when players like McSorely and Co. step way over the line, the coaches should also be held accountable in every case. McLennan should have gotten a minimum of 25 games and I would have suspended Playfair for at least half of that amount. Don't give me this "playoff games are more important that regular season games" Barbara Streisand as the reason why this suspension is criminally short. For that reason alone, McLennan should get a LONGER suspension, not a shorter one.

But as noted, this is nothing more than "business as usual" in the NHL. I guess we can try to equivocate this by noting that nobody is watching anyway but that is a big part of the NHL's problem. This type of violence is not doing anything to help grow the game. The next time any Ultimate Fighting on Ice fan tries to tell you that the NHL has gone "soft," point these facts out as proof that they have no idea what they're talking about.

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