October 27, 2009

Matters of Weight - 10.27.09

If you are like me, you were really glad to see our second road trip out west (already) come to a merciful end on Sunday night. And I do mean merciful.  Because only the mercy of God can explain why Jason Chimera is not in a wheelchair right now.  There are actually a few things in life more important than a hockey game.  Yes, the health and well-being of your family and friends are two of them.  And the other is the health and well-being of the players who play hockey for your team.  So let's all take a moment and find some happiness in the fact that Chimmer appears to be OK, outside of some stitches and a bruised ego.

You've all seen the video, and if you haven't here it is in HD.  However, even the replays don't do justice to what happened to Chimera.  If you have the stomach for it, check out these still shots.  Yes, it does appear in the last photo of the sequence that Chimera's head separated from his body, but apparently it did not.  The fact that Chimmer was on his feet within 30 seconds of this collision is just plain unbelievable.  Almost as unbelievable is the fact that Rob Scuderi of the L.A. Kings, who delivered the cheap shot, did not receive a penalty. Instead, Derek Dorsett received a game misconduct and an early exit to the showers for leaving the bench to chase down Scuderi, who couldn't back-pedal from the scene fast enough.  The Jackets also received a two minute minor for having too many men on the ice, i.e., Dorsett.  And lastly, Chimera himself was given a 10 minute misconduct penalty for blowing a fuse and spraying everyone with a mixture of blood and spit while screaming about what a travesty of justice the whole affair had become (I'm paraphrasing quite liberally here).

In other words, Chimera and the Jackets got a very raw deal by the guys in striped shirts.  Verification of this came the next day when 1) Scuderi was fined for the hit by the NHL; and 2) Dorsett was not fined or suspended by the NHL for coming off the bench, which normally results in an automatic 10 gamer.  The proper assumptions from all of this are that 1) Scuderi's hit was not clean and should have resulted in at least one penalty; and 2) The Blue Jackets must have convinced NHL officials that Dorsett was on the ice after a shift change (as Ken Hitchcock claimed after the game) and therefore did not leave the bench to confront Scuderi.  In fact, if you watch the video clip (linked above) closely, you will see that right after the hit the Jackets indeed initiate a shift change seconds before the whistle blows.  It can be assumed that Dorsett would have been hit with some kind of penalty for his spot-on impersonation of the Tasmanian Devil and his grab-down of a ref, but it shouldn't have been for coming off the bench.  Also, if the NHL is buying the shift change argument, then the penalty assessed to the CBJ for too many men on the ice was bogus too.  Instead of all this, the refs should have penalized themselves for not having enough men on the ice.

Of course, Kings fan sees it differently. But the always-reliable Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy got it right.  One final thought on all of this:  if you are going to have rules to protect players, then the refs need to enforce them.  All of them, not just some of them.  The NFL has penalties to protect players, some of which, like the one that prohibits helmet-to-helmet hits, are very controversial.  But like the rule or not, the NFL refs enforce it because that is their job.  The NHL has a rule against clipping (Rule 49), and it seems very clear that Scuderi violated it.  But clipping never gets called in the NHL. Ever.  I love the physical aspect of professional hockey, just like I love the physical aspect of professional football  But you have to draw the line when it comes to the safety of the players.  The NFL gets that.  Based on what happened this past weekend, the NHL does not.

On to some other things.  I had the opportunity to talk to John Buccigross this past week.  Well, I didn't get to actually talk to him, if "talk" means what it meant when I was growing up, where one person speaks vocally and the other person responds vocally.  I "talked" to him if it means what it means to my 13 year old daughter (whose nickname is Texter, and whose bedroom we call Texter's Laboratory).  It was a "virtual" interview, meaning we exchanged emails.  Still, John Buccigross is a very funny guy and that shines through even in an email.  The way I read his answer to my question about the TV play-by-play job, it sounds like he would still love that gig.  But while he was emailing me and blowing sunshine across Columbus, he was really hacking off some Red Wings fans.  If he doesn't land Rimer's job, maybe he can run for mayor or something.

By now the trade of Stephan Legein to the Flyers for Mike Ratchuk is old news, but here is a nice look at the trade and at Ratchuk written by Lindsay Kramer of the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Before all the hullabaloo about the Scuderi/Chimera incident, I was planning on highlighting this organizational ranking of NHL prospects that was posted by Hockey's Future, which ranked the Blue Jackets 4th in the league.  But Mike McLean at The Cannon  beat me to it, and he did a real nice job with it.  Additionally, here is a more detailed organizational depth analysis of the Blue Jackets from the same site. 

Who would Steve Mason most like to check into the boards?  Read this interview with Mase to find out.

Team defense has been a big problem lately, and the barrage of goals scored on the Blue Jackets out west cannot all be blamed on Mason.  Still, he might want to spend some time with his mentor this week.

And those are the Matters of Weight for October 27, 2009.

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