NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2012.

Joe Thornton scores in 500th game as a Shark…Ryan Miller poised to catch Hasek…Patrik Elias to play milestone game…Mike Ribeiro earns respect…Doughty nets controversial OT goal as Kings down Coyotes…Jaroslav Halak plays his way back into starter’s role…Leafs GM bemoans state of the game…Krys Barch gets one-game suspension…Senators prospect nets WJC gold for Sweden.

SFGATE.COM: Joe Thornton scored the winning goal in  his 500th career game with San Jose, as the Sharks downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hard to Thornton’s been with the Sharks that long. Time certainly flies.

Miller closing in on Hasek's team wins record.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is closing in on Dominik Hasek’s record for most wins by a Sabres goaltender. Hasek has 234 wins, Miller 231.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller will be getting plenty of opportunities in the upcoming weeks to break that record, as head coach Lindy Ruff recently said Miller would get the bulk of the stars over the second half.

NJ.COM: Long-time Devils forward Patrik Elias will play his 1,000th career NHL game tonight when his club faces off against the Florida Panthers. He made his NHL debut on December 7, 1995.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put it into perspective: a child born that day would be 16 years old now.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Ribeiro earned some respect in last night’s 4-1 Stars victory over the Nashville Predators, scoring twice, taking a puck in the mouth, losing a tooth, but returning to the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Ribeiro has gained some maturity since his infamous days earlier in his career, when he dove so much, you’d swear he was auditioning for Canada’s Olympic dive team.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Drew Doughty scored a controversial OT winner as the Kings edged the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0, as the puck crossed the line roughly at the same time the Coyotes net was knocked off its moorings. Video review upheld the referee’s call on the ice that it was a good goal.

STLTODAY.COM: Goaltending Jaroslav Halak appears to be playing his way back into the starter’s job, going 5-0-3 in his last eight starts.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke bemoaned the state of the NHL game after demoting $1 million per season enforcer Colton Orr.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The game is changing and for the better. Enforcers must be able to contribute more to the game now than just their pugilistic skills. Don’t feel too bad for Orr, he’s making $1 million this season and next. The Leafs will probably buy him out this summer, but he’s still done well financially.

MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Krys Barch has been suspended for one game after making an “inappropriate comment” toward Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in a recent game.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators prospect Mika Zibanejad scored the OT winner as Sweden downed Russia 1-0 to win the gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships. It’s the first time in thirty years the Swedes have taken gold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to both teams for making it that far, and for providing an exciting conclusion to the tournament.


  1. The game is changing for the better??? You’ve got to be kidding…

  2. I agree with BruinsMike. Obviously Spector you are entitled to your opinion. I agree with most of what Burke had to say. These concussions for the most part have not been due to fighting. They have been because of players not respecting each other with dirty hits. They stopped respecting each other when the league took away the ability of the players to police themselves to an extent (not looking for Bertuzzi justice). One of the greatest things about this sport is how much players battled one another for themselves and for their teammates. Guys like Orr do/did that is he a choir boy absolutely not but seemed to ALWAYS be willing to take on the “Rats” as Burke called them. There should be a MUCH bigger role in the league for guys like Orr and less of one for guys like Carcillo, Torres, and Cooke before them. People keep saying that they want the league to do something about the concussion epidemic. Just start with the Instigator penalty.

  3. The game now is infinitely better than it was before the lockout. Before that, it was the Dead Puck Era, when uncalled obstruction masquerading as defensive hockey and staged fights between goons who almost never played in key games ruined the game and sucked the life out of it. No way in hell should we go back to that!

    As for “rats”, do you guys think this is a new thing? Those type of players have always been around, going back to the days of Ted Lindsay yapping and jabbing at Rocket Richard. Having tough guys never stopped players like Lindsay, or Bobby Clarke, or Ken Linesman, or Claude Lemieux, or Darcy Tucker, from doing their thing.

  4. Not a huge Burke fan but some of his comments are so true,however taking note on Tampa Bays player striking back at Phaneuf is like sticking your foot in your own mouth. How many times in Phaneufs career have you seem him leave the ice to check someone above the shoulders, thats his game and Burke should look in his own backyard before commenting on the league

  5. So, Ribero earns some respect for gritty actions but the huge majority of your comments focus on actions taken 6 – 7 years ago.

  6. mcgoo: the purpose was to show how far he’s come, and how much those actions of the past still haunt him. If he keeps playing as he has of late, he’ll finally be able to shed that reputation.

  7. Spector Burke’s comments and your issue with the Dead Puck Era are two completely different things. I don’t think Burke wants back to those days of the uncalled obstruction calls. You can have the kind of hockey Burke likes to see and it wouldn’t turn the league back to pre-lockout clutching and grabbing. As for staged fights between goons taking the life out of games at least players were holding each other accountable. Today its just not allowed to happen. Because clearly Sheriff Shanahan’s suspensions and fines are not working. You are right in saying having tough guys never stopped the players you mentioned. Ted Lindsay yapping and jabbing is a lot different from the players of today launching themselves like missiles at another player. Does the NHL need four scoring lines is that what everyone wants to see. I may be in the minority but I love to see those guys that drop the gloves for a teammate or for themselves. Those players keep the “rats” honest at least more so than Shanahan does. A team that has those guys on them or willing to do that kind of thing for one another will win over some of these other teams. Give me the Bruins or the Rangers over a lot of these other teams any day of the week.

  8. I also agree that the game is changing for the worse — I think the point isnt that players are jabbering more, rather, the point is that although theres no room in the game for enforcers and instead theres a new role player there to take his spot… the “agitator”. Although there were agitating players in the 70s and 80s, there werent one dimensional agitators like Carcillo, Avery, and Cooke. These types of players have just replaced their enforcer predecessors in the game and its probably responsible for many of the dirty concussions that remain in our game today. We can keep suspending them, but it wont bring Crosby, Savard and countless others back… and in contention I’d even say that enforcers would have helped prevent morons from running around with their elbows up after they know 100% they’ll have to fight a Colton Orr or George Parros if they land one.

  9. Chris, it’s been not even a half-season,and already you’re saying Shanahan’s efforts aren’t working. It’s going to take time, and they shouldn’t just give up after a half-season because some half-wits still aren’t getting the message. Shanahan’s efforts haven’t been perfect, but they’re a damn sight better than we saw last season when Campbell was league disciplinarian.

    Again, how does having an enforcer prevent the “rats” from doing what they’ve always done? Even before the instigator rule, you had this sort of thing. It’s never changed. And having players in the league whose only role is to fight and contribute nothing more to the league only cheapens the product. I’m no bleeding heart when it comes to fighting in the sport, but I do believe it’s reached the point where it’s not necessary. The league, of course, won’t abolish fighting, so if it’s to remain in the NHL product, then your ‘enforcers’ had better be able to contribute in other aspects. As for players “policing themselves”, that’s as absurd as saying citizens should police themselves. It’s never gotten the dirty stuff out of the game.

    You think the cheap shots are bad now? Go read up on the way hockey was like in the Original Six days. Rocket Richard once broke two sticks over a player’s back and punched a linesman who tried to restrain him. If that happened today, the player would be banned for life. Back then, Richard was only banned for the remainder of the 1954-55 season, which only had a few games left anyway when the incident happened, plus the playoffs. Dirty play has always been in the game, and the presence of enforcers never did anything to curtail it. What’s needed is stricter enforcement of the rules, which is why they’re in place.

    Lack of fights never hurt the quality of Stanley Cup playoff games, or international competition like the Olympics and the World Championships. Folks who say fighting belongs in the game never seem to have an answer whenever someone points out how much better those particular games were, and continue to be, with no fighting.

  10. You wanna get rid of trash-talking agitators? It’s very easy to address that issue, if the league is willing to do it. There’s a rule in the books against “unsportsmanlike conduct”. All the refs have to do is warn the players who start yapping and jawing to knock it off or they’re getting two in the box, and enforce it the next time they start.

    Watching classic games from the 1970s and early 80s, I’m amazed at the lack of scrums after every stoppage of play, and of the yapping between players. The whistle blows, they skate away from each other and head to the faceoff circle or off for a line change. It’s amazing how quickly the game moved without the constant nonsense of unsportsmanlike conduct that currently mars the game.

    Start enforcing unsportsmanlike conduct. It won’t completely eliminate it from the game, but it’ll certainly lower the frequency of the occurrence.

  11. i get Burkes and his supporters comments but they do not reflect what actually happened in those days. The “rats” would do their “rat” things when the other teams enforcer was on the bench. Then the enforcer gets on the ice, the rat leaves the ice then other team sends out their enforcer. The result were two guys who had nothing to do with the questionable play, dropping the gloves, leaving the rat free to do whatever they wanted to do the next shift. What is worse, is what we do see still today, a player lays out a clear, healthy, legal heavy hit on a player and the shoving starts right away. In the old days, that also meant a fight over a clean play. all that stuff is ridiculous. I have never minded a legitimate fight between two guys who are competeting hard and tension boil over. I never really liked when a third guy jumps in or when the ice is filled with guys fighting. I also remember when guys played bigger and tougher than they were because they figured their enforcer was better than the other teams so they played chippier. That sucked too. What we need is harsher fines and suspensions. It will take some time to get people and players accustomed to the new NHL, and when it does, hockey will look better.

  12. To take what Lyle said one step further, as interesting as Burkes comments were he also was dead wrong about hitting being on the downward trend due to players being afraid to hit is also very wrong. If you look up hits say from 07/08 season to the 11/12 season the number of hits /game are as follows: 38.02, 41.92, 44.08, 45.46, 43.48 (with only 583 games played so far this year – all other years its 1230 games). Hits are not a perfect stat as some arenas call imaginary ones and other dont call any but still I believe the point has been made.

    I don’t think hitting or policing/fighting will be out of the game, I think guys that do nothing else but to fight will be gone and I too, as much as I like scraps here and there, agree its for the better. I would rather see a roster spot go to a guy that can skate, hit, score, ie play hockey than one that can not, especially if he on occasion will drop the gloves to set things right when called for. Those types of players (key word here being player) will always have a place on a team.

  13. Sorry Lyle,i almost always agree with you but a big no here.
    I want no part of an NHL that ends up like Euro hockey,may as well watch the Ice Capades.
    Todays game is way worse for cheap shots and rats way braver than they should be because they know they can get away with.
    Even some good players get away with tons because no really good player will get the book thrown at him by Shanny.
    Bettman has turned it into the NBA where the stars get away with everything and the good players almost everything and the 4th liners get the suspensions to make it look good.
    I loved the 80’s before the clutch and grab showed up.
    It had the speed and skill like today but also the toughness and self policing.
    You mess with Gretz,you face semenko,you mess with Sittler you face Tiger,you mess with Trottier you face Gillies.
    You did not see head shots,knee shots,all the cheap stickwork and slew footing and if it did occur you had to answer for it.
    If the rat got pulled off the ice it was still time to pay the price,semenko would simply say okay if your guy wants to run chicken i guess them your star guy gets me all over him and poof,no more crap.
    sure there was the odd donnybrook and get out of hand stuff but that also usually fixed things for later games.
    now i do not like the 4th line goon for goon staged fights,they are not needed but the instigator rule caused that because you could not have your guy go out and settle things.
    just like against tampa when downey tried to get phanuef to fight and get him off the ice but ran away when aulie stepped up.
    pretty sure tampa would have been ecstatic to have those 2 go and the leafs get hurt way more.
    aulie could not just drop them and clean his clock because the instigator rule would have got him an extra 2 and a game.
    but i am sure much earlier in the game when punk ass downey ran dion if no instigator rule aulie steps in and pounds his lights out and the garbage ends right there.
    i say the same thing for superstar sid,he got run a lot before he even got concussed and if there were no instigator and the team policed itself the rats and 3rd 4th line guys that ran him would have been taken care of and sid would still be playing.
    if you think that is not the case go ask gretzky how much easier it was for him with semenko watching his back.
    in todays game i would bet even the great one would have been concussed by now and probably by some rat punk like carcillo or avery or cooke.
    and then semenko would have come in and got 2,5,game and suspension leaving wayne out there to get killed even more.
    a little add on here at the end too is i think the officiating sucks bad now too,far worse then ever before.
    these new refs just plain stink and seem to never be impartial.
    none seem to be able to control a game right like the guys did that are now retired.

  14. As Lyle indicated I think much of the power for change lies with the officiating. I’ve spoken with numerous sports fans who continue to see hockey as rather “bush league” because of the refereeing inconsistencies and their general lack of control over the game. For anyone that saw Joe Thorton trying his utmost to pick Henrik Sedin’s nose while the captains were getting a talking to by the ref (and which not doing a single thing) is a case in point. And after watching 24/7 and hearing the amount of cursing directed towards refs without them even batting an eyelid, that’s virtually unheard of in all of sports.

  15. “You did not see head shots,knee shots,all the cheap stickwork and slew footing and if it did occur you had to answer for it.”……..yes you did. Period. And the answer for it was escalation.
    Lyle I agree with everything you’ve said. The rest of you are complete morons.
    You remember in the good ‘ol days when Lafontaine didn’t get destroyed cause Probert was out there? Gimme a break. In the old days, injuries weren’t really talked about. The idea that heavyweights are so afraid of an extra penalty that they can no longer act as deterents is laughable.
    The game has always had agitators and injuries. And dirty play. The Orrs of the game did not factor into this equation.

  16. SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Ribeiro has gained some maturity since his infamous days earlier in his career, when he dove so much, you’d swear he was auditioning for Canada’s Olympic dive team.

    You mean the Vancouver Canucks?

  17. By the way, good discussion, folks. Nice to see we can disagree without getting nasty about it.

  18. @ MJR – Nice parroting. Do you watch other teams? Did you see Greg Campbell’s big dive the other day? (no you are right….only one team dives).
    The next time you post, would it be fair to assume that you will parrot more of Bob McKenzie and Damien Cox’s opinions?

  19. @ Alex: Spot on. The officiating has not matured yet to coming close to the refs of yore…The league should hire back those guys to teach the new guys how to really handle a game. Most damgerous stuff from guys show up in their play prior…you know the guy is in a bad head space…older officials used to recognise this and catch the guy for a penalty before he really hurt someone.
    As has been suggested before, I think suspensions for plays that result in injury should be relatively light BUT tact onto the amount of time an injured player is out. If a guy is out for ten games, the offenders suspension is those ten games plus X games.

    Oh, and rats are ussuallt rats until the end, so when a Semenko etc comes to sort them out, those guys turtle or do an Avery Vs Smid and cheap shot the guy. Part Claude Lemieuz game was to rile the other team up so they were paying more attention to him and trying to be the guy that laid him out, forgetting the puck and the game. Rat ends up helping his team that way.

  20. Ooh, debate. I want my two cents!

    Game isn’t as exciting as people are making out to be. After two periods of hockey, I turn it off. And guess what, I did that back in the 80s as well, because 80s hockey wasn’t that good either. Sure it’s good if you’re a fan of one of the top 4 teams, sort of like how the EPL is now, but if you’re a fan of one of the other 15 or 16, it sucked and it sucked hard. Yeah, great, I liked Detroit back in the day, and watched them get trounced and annihilated by Edmonton in five games as Edmonton trounced everyone else to win a Stanley Cup. You kidding? That’s not a game.

    Lack of fighting is not what makes international games good. I like World Juniors for the same reason everyone else does; it’s not that it works without the fighting, it’s that it works without the extremely organized defensive play! International teams are not tightly knit and make lots of mistakes with each other, and so we see more goals, especially from players that deak out a whole team.

    Some series’ are good, others sucked 80s, 90s, prelockout, postlockout. I hardly distinguish them because truth be told, the NHL didn’t change that much; goalies changed big time from the late 80s to the early 90s, that’s the biggest difference. Some of the best series were played in that prelockout era that everyone hates so much. Can’t say Leafs fans hated it either; they were actually competitive back then. And so much for one of the best seven game series the Stanley Cup finals have ever had, including one of the most even tilts with New Jersey, the beast of the east, facing off against Colorado, the best of the west. And oh, they were so obstructive, what with New Jersey’s 295 goals for that season. Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermeyer, Brian Rafalski, Patrick Elias, Martin Brodeur, Alexander Mogilny, Scott Gomez when he was actually a decent playmaker, Jason Arnott when he was a game breaker vs. Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy, Adam Foote, Milan Hejduk when he was scoring in the 40s. I watched those games until the last whistle. How I forget that era when teams were half-decently managed. At least Boston and Detroit are still well-managed these days.

    These last few Stanley Cups were boring, boring, boring, and even more boring. The teams you hate win the cup cuz of dirty tactics. Carolina was the first team I’ve seen since I started watching that’s won the cup because of constant diving efforts that would put the team on their deadly power-play. Anaheim pounded their way to the finals and won… and let’s not kid themselves, they ran picks all the time (interfered) so they won prelockout style… don’t know where the referee whistles were then… their only good series was against Detroit that year. Detroit’s cup win was boring as hell cuz their players have about as much character as Arrested Development, and so do their boring red and white jerseys. Pittsburgh’s series were littered with bad reffing straight from the commissioner’s office and a might “fixed” so that the NHL can profit from Crosby winning the cup, let’s not forget that they also employed Carolina’s dive tactics, their lesser players playing with nearly broken sticks just to get the slashing calls from the swashbuckling that naturally goes on in the playoffs. Chicago wasn’t even challenged, and might have been by Philadelphia if they had a goaltender that could put his stick on the ice. Boston is the first team I’ve seen to win since the lockout that played entertaining series’… except the Vancouver series, which was their lamest of the four. It’s too bad it wasn’t Boston vs. Chicago… but hey, we might see that this year, though I would have liked THIS Boston against the 2010 Blackhawks.

    NHL is losing my interest nowadays. I check scores… don’t watch many games. The best series last year was Philadelphia against Buffalo, in close competition with Boston Montreal/Boston Tampa Bay. Two in the first round and that says it all. It’s the boring teams that win and the interesting ones that get knocked out. I don’t know what to blame for that; I’d start by taking out the trapezoid rather than punishing a goaltender for their leadership skills, and giving discretion back to the refs for puck over the glass penalties (though i agree many defensive zone clearings should result in a penalty–I also think icing should result in a penalty unless killing a penalty, then it should be a whistle). More and more games are runaway victories and even if they aren’t, you still don’t want to watch them because one team will go d mode and play turnover hockey with one forechecker… it’s not the prelockout clutching and grabbing that made this exist, it’s the fact that goalies are so damn good these days that defensive hockey pays off if players prevent all the dangerous areas to be shot from.

    One of the absolute plagues of the NHL games right now is the lack of skill goals. Zone pressure hockey is boring as hell. Detroit mastered the art of collapsing their defenseman in front of the net so that no pucks would get through, so the game turned into a hellish match of players sticking their asses in the goalie’s face and players taking the shot from high traffic areas and “hoping” for a bounce. It’s like watching Plinko from Price is Right. Real interesting… zone pressure hockey. Yeah, the obstruction was bad, horrible… you think zone pressure hockey is any better?

    I love how people thought Chicago-Vancouver was interesting last year. What with 5 of those games being dominated by one team or the other. ZZzzZZ. I guess people really do like 80s hockey where Edmonton was winning every playoff game 6-1.

    As for fighting:
    I never wanted to watch goons fight. I like watching Lecavalier take on Iginla (another damn good series before the lockout), but I sure as hell don’t like watching goons beat the snot out of each other because that’s staged fighting. Fighting isn’t meant to be staged in hockey, that’s why it’s often disappointing. Look up on youtube Crosby gets into fight and see how many hits that has vs. the ten thousand fights goons get into. That’s why we like goalie fights. That’s why we like seeing team captains dropping the mitts. Colton Orr is in the AHL because he scored 11 goals in 378 NHL games. Domi could at least score some goals (104 in 1020). Tucker could score (215 in 947). Corson could score (273 in 1156). Claude Lemieux could score (379 in 1215). Teams didn’t send those guys down because they weren’t goons; they were tenacious players. Colton Orr is a goon. Boo hoo. He sucks at the NHL level; he’s a goon.

    Would you have deprived the league of the Tuckers? The Corsons? The Lemieuxs? Guess what, those guys are heroes to some of the kids that watch the game. We have some good agitators in today’s game with Steve Ott, Steve Downie, Jordan Tootoo, the Ruutus, Brad Marchant. Why deprive the NHL of agitators and fighting? No, just deprive them of the muscleheads like Boogard and Laracques and Brashear, who belong in a ring, not a rink. Who score 1 goals a year and play 3 minutes a game. There should be an ice time limitation; all players on rosters should play min 10 minutes or fine the team (or the coach) and we’ll see how long goons stay in the line-up.

    To sum up:
    New NHL: boring zone pressure hockey, boring teams, best series in the first round of the playoffs
    Prelockout NHL: obstruction, yawny defensive game, way more parity and character, best series in the last two rounds of the Cup Playoffs
    Late 80s NHL: dominated by 4 teams

    Fighting: In, but goons out.
    We love agitators and character, but make sure they can play hockey and get some ice time.

    Scrums can be good or bad:
    Good: when two teams are rivals and fights are breaking out and lots of people are getting penalties.
    Bad: when a player throws a clean hit; when a team does NOT get penalized for scrumming. I hate scrums without penalties.

  21. Oh one last thing: players don’t police themselves. This is how pre-instigation era fighting worked.

    1. One guy made a play that might have been dirty.
    2. Team takes offense, sends big idiot on the ice that crushes that player or a star on the other team against the boards, knocking out his teeth.
    3. That team retaliates by sending two big idiots on the ice to facewash the players.
    4. The other team yells at the refs.
    5. Both teams break out into scrums after the whistle, linesmen pick up more teeth from the ice.
    6. Another cheap play happens.

    The nature of revenge is simple: it’s never equally justified. It just starts a chain of retaliation; that’s not self-policing, that’s just no-policing.

  22. Finally, someone attacks the myth that the instigator penalty has any relevance at all.

  23. Well guys everyone is entitled to their opinions different as they may be.
    but i know as a smaller player when i played if some bigger guy was all over me one of my bigger mates would take care of it.
    as for guerinbackcheck calling us that disagree with him morons all i can say is i resent that and you come across as a very big blowhard that never played a single real hockey game in your life.
    spotting an armchair player is easy,just like a boss at work that thinks he knows how others should do a job they have never done.
    go watch soccer or ice dancing,sounds more your speed.

  24. Well I deserved that for the flat-out insult. I have played, and lived, some stick for a long time. But rage-posting when you are all being so articulate is not really cool. Sorry….I personally enjoy a little hyperbole and jousting.
    I am finding this debate very frustrating because everybody has a soft spot for this or that enforcer/grinder, or this or that agitator/diver, and some crazy hate on for another one. Hockey is hockey is hockey in any era, and this is part of it. Every player in the NHL is there because he’s wanted by the coaches and GMs. And they are all made to fit into roles, but got there by being pretty damn good all-round players. We all cheer our own pest and thug, and hate the other ones. The other frustration is the mythologizing of the past. Dirty play has been and always will be part of hockey. Having fighting or not has never made a difference (I am not against fighting). Officiating has to be the difference.
    Kerry Fraser’s article from the other day quoted Chris Simon as saying, “Coach Quenneville told me that as long as I was the most hated man in hockey, I could be a St. Louis Blue” (late 90’s). So there’s your rat for you. And coach Q is one of the best. And of course he was a scorer in junior and the minors, he made it to the NHL. But to stay there, he had to fill a role. And hockey has always needed roleplayers.
    1) There were 1200-some games last year and 19 or so instigator penalties. I do not believe that the threat of this penalty keeps anyone from acting.
    2) MJR – you sound like someone stuck in the golden age, like so many others that pine for Orr and Lafleur. Hockey in the ’30s was different than the ’40s, which were different from the ’50s, which were different from the ’60s, etc, etc….and not just because of rules. It is evolution, reflecting the changes in tactics, culture, economics, officiating, marketing, expansion, etc. (My favorite all-time series was the 1987 final). But it is 2012. You are ranting that you don’t watch it anymore…..should it magically turn back the clock to pander to you?
    3) You seem to be saying that all hockey should be at the level of the best games you’ve ever seen. “If it’s not Devils vs. Avs with every goal being scored off the rush, and at least one great deke, I’m not watching”. The world of sport is not like that. At all.
    4) You hate zone pressure, but you advocate stiffer penalties for icing?
    5) With your comments on international hockey, you seem to be saying that offence, not defence is exciting. This is not how coaches think. It is not a smart way to play. I like defence. Of course some games are boring. Players and coaches care more about winning than thrilling the fans. That’s the hockey way. Basketball is the place for hotdogging, but even there is not effective.
    6) There was more parity before the lock-out…..WHAAAAAAAA???????
    7) You hate blowouts. They are part of the game. I was cheering the Oilers in those days and it kicked ass. Being a fan: win some, lose some. You liked Detroit in the bad times, and later they dominated for 20 years, having learned from Edmonton.
    8) Detroit has no character. Lidstrom? Are you kidding?
    9) MJR, further, and interestingly, I agree wholeheartedly with most of the rest of your views, especially the anatomy of escalation. But I think the game is fantastic now and the last cups have been great. This year there was a tight 1-0 game in the finals….two blowouts and you totally forget about that game? The 2001 finals were amazing, sure, but remember 1999, 1997, 1996, 1991……??? Sometimes the first round is the best. Wow. That’s hockey.
    10) Goalies got better. And the game had to adapt. So what would you like to do? Make the nets bigger? (that totally sucks). The crappy thing in the ’80s was when Wendel Clark could loft a wrister from the blueline and blow it by a goalie who didn’t move. I love great goaltending. I thought watching Thomas this year was amazing. Great goaltending and low-scoring is not a problem with me. And they can’t exactly ban shot-blocking right?
    11) TopRight, reading your post and attempting to fairly comment…..I cannot find any part of your incoherent rant to grab on to. I’m guessing you hate pussies. I agree that the officiating is a real problem right now. Those ’80s games were out of control often enough, not perfectly self-regulated. You are in fact remembering them incorrectly. I loved’em too though. I grew up on battle of Alberta games. There was spearing and elbowing from the puck drop to the final buzzer….and 5 or 6 fights. I loved it then. Do I want it to go back to that, like the final this year? Nope. And that was the golden era of honourable protectors?
    12) Sean — Not true. There were a tonne of guys in the ’70s and ’80s that could fight but hardly play. Star players got hurt sometimes. Guys had early finishes to their career. We didn’t talk about it. The GMs and coaches controlled who was in the game and still do. So with the right incentive-punishment structure, we can get teams to get the type of players we want to see….teams will always do what is effective.
    13) Chris – Bertuzzi justice is EXACTLY what you are calling for if you want self-policing….it is a natural consequence of vigilantism. Much like Richard in ’55.
    14) BruinsMike…..I think some footage from the ’70s is still available.

    blah blah blah……pardon the length.

  25. Okay….wait a sec. @ TopRight…….your example of the noble enforcer is Tiger Williams? The most penalized and dirtiest player in history? Lemme guess, all is forgiven because he scored goals in the era of terrible goaltending? But wait….wasn’t Lanny one of those guys who “fought his own battles”?
    Yeah…the dinosaurs need to, a) get their story straight, b) get their facts straight.

    @ MJR – You are also knocking the Wings uniforms? Wow, you really got gripe. Those are as classic as they come. I can’t guess which ones you like. Maybe early Phoenix? No, I know you for a Leafer….also a totally classic bi-colour. p.s. I couldn’t agree more with your astute observations on scrums.

    to sum up:
    Darryl Sutter said it best: “Hockey remains men playing a boys game. There is some emotion in it”. Truer words never spoken. It is for that emotionality that Coach Q always makes sure to have a TNT wildcard in the line-up. You fire up the team by raising the tempurature of the game. Yet the fans think that player is a “rat”…..”if only he could just behave”, he wouldn’t be in the NHL.
    So I would like to see less dirty diaper recrimination and more acknowledgement that they are all equally guilty and innocent of the crimes we accuse them of. It is faster now, so the rules have to make it safer. But one man’s enforcer is another man’s goon. One diver is another man’s pest. Let’s stop misrepresenting everything as we rant in terror about pussification. To me, the NHL is a bull-ride. 8 seconds for the big pot. Nobody ever complains about the injuries in rodeo. But, c’mon, dole out real punishments and make the game safer. On second thought…let’s have a 300 lb. boxer on every team. That’ll make it safer.

  26. The turning point in 1996 was Lemieux destroying Draper. No wait, he didn’t do it because the Wings had Darren McCarty on the bench. Oh wait, I mean Darren McCarty didn’t do anything because he trembled at the thought of being ejected by the instigator penalty and missing out on his five minutes of ice time (because Bowman let him make his own choices…….mmhmm).
    Lemieux played a huge role in that cup run. I wonder if he would have tried to kill Draper if there was a real threat of a suspension keeping out of the post-season?
    On the other hand, it was okay for him to spear and dive because he knew how to score. Right?
    I loved Claude Lemieux……but I want to see long suspensions for pulling crazy shxt like he did….then guys like that can actually be the great players they are, and want to be. But hockey has pests. Period. Hating them is like hating the trainer.


  28. You say we live in past eras with a blind eye?
    buddy you are wearing binders like nobody i have ever seen.
    tiger was a tough player and got dirty when he had to but it kept lanny out of the box and gave lots of open ice for sittler.
    the leafs improved a great deal once he showed up because of toughness plus he could score.
    he was no 4th line goon that cannot play,scored over 30 goals more than once.
    pests are not rats,big difference.
    pests yap yap yap and no player cares,i laughed at them when i played.
    rats are a different story,the cheap shot artist and head hunter who has no fears these days.
    you pick your spots on certain things like playoffs but remeber the next time they played lemieux got the snot beat out of him and was never again a factor.
    playoffs is not regular season.
    i know a few nhl players and ex coaches and believe me they were not goon guys but good players and every single one says the rule that hurt the mose was the instigator.
    nobody will admit that in radio or tv because of king bettman but every player will in a private setting.
    you believe what you want but there is no way hockey is any better now then it used to be.
    and i guys like you prefer this kind of hockey and watching the star players drop like flies due to cheap shots that will never be properly taken care of by a bogus front office that will not penalize all players with the same justice.
    case in point when Miller got run,star player nada,but if it was cooke or avery or someone like that it would have been 10 games.
    suspensions now are not about what was done,it is about who did it.and to whom.
    i will take 80’s style hockey 7 days a week and twice on sundays compared to what it is now and that is not old time dreamer in the past stuff,just a clear memory of what i have seen as an adult over the years.
    everyone i know loved watching and playing in the 70’s and 80’s,nowadays a lot of kids do not even want to play past 12.

  29. Well I think you proved my point.
    I didn’t say the ’80s weren’t better…..I said they were gone and not coming back.
    I totally agree about the lack of justice.
    You actually think you are the only guy who knows NHLers?
    Lemieux won more cups after that…..

  30. Man, the more illiterate posts you make, the stupider you look.
    You are gonna stick up for Tiger Williams. The all-time PIMs leader. You think every one of his penalties was honourable? But the other team’s pest….. well he’s a piece of shxt. Laughable. No it’s okay, cause he scored sometimes. The guy played Flin Flon hockey. I think your credibility is showing.

  31. You are gonna stick up for Tiger Williams. The all-time PIMs leader. You think every one of his penalties was honourable? But the other team’s pest….. well he’s a piece of shxt. Laughable. No it’s okay, cause he scored sometimes. The guy played Flin Flon hockey. I think your credibility is showing.

  32. oops. Duplicate.

  33. I have read Tiger Williams’ book. According to him, he did some crazy dirty shxt in those crazy dirty games…..the good old days.