Poor Steve Downie... Ok, bad example

You may have heard, but the Vancouver Canucks were involved in a bit of a dust up the other day. From said incident, resulted in a suspension of Brad Marchand, a lot of really bad blood, a Sami Salo concussion, and a whole bunch of people voicing their opinions when they probably shouldn’t.

My opinion from the Bruins game which definitely puts me in the majority: the Marchand hit was dirty. I don’t care how he rationalizes it, I don’t care how his employers rationalize it and I certainly don’t care how his fans rationalize it. It. was. dirty.

The Canucks, of course, agree with this point of view. Yet, in all of their infinite wisdom, when they finally have the opportunity to gain some favor from NHL fans at-large, they go and seriously toe the line.

First up we have a “low” hit from Dan Hamhuis Kevin Bieksa.

Now, strictly speaking, I don’t think there was anything wrong with this hit attempt from Hamhuis Bieksa. Optically, it looks bad given that his teammate is out with a concussion due to a similar hit. It also probably isn’t helped by the fact that Hamhuis has been accused of being a hypocrite before It was Bieksa and I made an error. At any rate, the hit didn’t hurt any one which is lucky for Hamhuis Bieksa.

Thought experiment: If he hits Moore clean there and hurts him because he faceplants, does he get a suspension? Based on that Shanny video from the Marchand play, I’m tempted to say ‘yeah, he might.’

For another ambiguous play we have an Alex Edler hit on Steven Stamkos. Stamkos left the ice injured from this hit, but did return for the third period. Give me your thoughts here:

Some initial reactions to this hit:
- I don’t like that Edler seems more interested in making contact with Stamkos than playing the puck. Typically speaking in this situation you try and play the puck up the sideboards or send it around back. Stamkos isn’t going to bury Edler here, that’s not his game.

-From a Vancouver perspective I don’t like the fact he played the puck to Marty St. Louis in the circle.

- The elbow looks like it pops up but I think it may actually be the shoulder blade that makes contact. The way it catches Stamkos either way is a dangerous motion, but that’s not necessarily Edler’s fault.

-If Stamkos ever gets hurt long term, we will all be beyond redemption.

My point with this line of thought is this: for a team which has been pretty public with its displeasure in hits against its players, the Canucks have this insane ability to toe the line. While neither of these were (strictly speaking) illegal, if I’m Alain Vigneault going forward I’m telling my guys to keep the arms down and hits above the waist for the next couple of weeks. Regardless of however you saw the Boston shenanigans outside of Marchand (because that was absolutely dirty) the Canucks did play a part, and are most likely being watched closely by the NHL.

Maybe I’m wrong. What say you, Backhand Shelfers? Let the world know. I will sit here and refresh the comments in anticipation of getting ripped for this, that or the other thing because I’ve got a feeling I’m putting myself out there.

I’d like to reiterate however: If Stamkos ever gets hurt long term, we will all be beyond redemption.

We can all agree on that.

Comments (33)

  1. I think Van throwing some “on the edge” but legal hits is the right move. The last thing they want is to appear to have softened after that Boston game. Going out and laying a spree of dirty hits is a fast road to looking like Mario wanting to take his ball and go home while paying an (at the time) extremely dirty Matt Cooke.

  2. That first video was Bieksa not Hammer for the record. You are just trying to stir the pot. Edler did not intend on hurting Stamkos but just playing physical and if you notice, he does actually touch the puck and look down at the same time.

    • 1) Error corrected, thank you for pointing that out.

      2) As far as “stirring the pot”, if by that you mean “start discussion over how a team should respond after a high publicized gongshow” yeah, I’m stirring the pot.

      3) I pretty much said the exact same thing about Stamkos.

    • On second thought, that check (elbow, give me a break) by Edler was no different than the hits that Kronwall does all of the time. Kronwall however, is traveling alot faster and jumps while driving his back into the faces of whoever he pinches on. Check the one on Kesler from a couple of weeks ago.

  3. Bieksa, not Hamhuis, in the first video. Also, considering he went in backwards with his behind at waist level, it’s not even close to being similar to the Marchand hit. It only looks bad because Moore jumps out of the way to avoid the hit. That same situation happens in games all the time with no one even noticing beyond the play-by-play man saying something about the guy avoiding a check.

    The only thing that could be argued is that he could have been called for tripping.

    Edler played the puck and hit Stamkos at the same time. Completely clean. You’re over-analysing two nothing plays.

    You wanted to know if you’re wrong on this: you are.

  4. Canucks are the worst kind of hypocrites, the ones that whine about the things they’re guilty of all the time.

    • Just curious: what are the other (presumably “better”) kinds of hypocrites?

    • If you’re referring to the Marchand/Salo incident, the Canucks have been called for clipping once in the past year. Yes, the Canucks do hipchecks (though very few these days), but that’s quite a different thing from low bridgeing a player from behind. Clipping and hip checking are not the same maneuver. So in this case they are not whining about things that they do all the time.

      Besides, it would be worthwhile for the Bruins organization to take a look in the mirror in this case (I assume you are a B fan). The Bruins are excellent at playing a very physical brand of hockey, but they flirt with the line. They have been given the benefit of the doubt on a number of cases (Lucic on Miller, Boychuk on Raymond, Chara on Pacioretty). This time they were reprimanded. The first example is particularly relevant as in that case, Lucic also pleaded self defense. Now, an objective viewer can tell that was not the case. Same with the Marchand hit, where leading up to the hit he met Salo along the boards nomally, proceeded to punch him in the face, then came back and went low. Maybe instead of making bogus excuses of ‘self defense’ (from Marchand to Julien to Chiarelli) they should take this as a learning experience.

  5. weak that is how i view your comment Hamhuis he let up on hit and no where near the same as that sneak marchand hit .Marchand plays the same dirty yappy style game after game and only early in his career.Hamhuis is not that style of player he is a well respected player ,you never here any negitive press about him, even before he came to van.very good defensive player and doesnt go looking for shit like Marchand .As far as stamkos hit, it looked like he hit a brick wall and he was ready for it by the way he got his shoulder into Edler Both going for puck and just a matter of one guy being alot stronger than other .If Edler left his feet and jumped into him, yes then i would consider it a dirty hit .To compare these two guys to Marchand in any way is a joke , i would compare him to some of his own teammates

  6. Didnt relize it was Bieksa ,doesnt really matter him or Ham.nothing like Marchand hit

  7. ” the Canucks have this insane ability to toe the line”

    To Lund: I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here. “this insane ability” is what confuses me. Because while you refer to 2 incidents from the Bolts game tonight, you seem to be alluding through those words to a larger pattern. You refer to the 2 immediate incidents, but seem to imply more (pattern/trend/whatever), if that makes sense. Maybe you don’t mean it that way, but if you do, I think you should provide evidence to support the claim. I’m being totally nit-picky here, but I think you should qualify that kind of statement, because the sentence sounds like a generalization.

    And for the record, I really like your writing, and appreciate that you’re willing to put a theory out for people to comment on. This is not intended to attack,

    P.S. Why does Stamkos have a mullet? ; )

    • Nat,

      That definitely was not as perspicuous as I would have liked it to be. I was more referring to the fact that the Canucks have the ability to play on the edge of tough/dirty while keeping the lineup free from suspension. The league-wide perception seems to be that the Canucks are soft, which is not true at all in the sense that they are tough, but does hold to a degree in that they don’t go seeking out contact/fights like a Boston or Philly does. I actually think this is one of the reasons why they play such an aesthetically pleasing style of hockey. One of the thoughts which prompted this post when I was given the footage was that had Moore or Stamkos (GOD FORBID) been injured we would have had an endless debate over potential Shanabans while pundits rush to get the Lucic/Marchand/Chiarelli reaction. It’s often said that the NHL is a reactionary to injuries and in a sense I think it holds true in this sense. Anyways, that was my original reaction to all of this and if I misconstrued that, it’s my bad. I didn’t mean it in a negative or positive way, just an observation.

      I appreciate the kind words re: the blog content, I’m mostly just interested in getting people talking hockey.

      To answer your final question: Stamkos has a mullet because mullets are awesome. They’re like a hood that grows out of your head.

      • “They’re like a hood that grows out of your head.” Okay, that’s awesome.

        I had a feeling you were hinting at something more, or at least some other thoughts that you hadn’t put on the page. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

        I do agree that the NHL is reactionary in regards to injuries. I don’t know if the NHL is watching the Canucks more closely right now because of the Boston game. Maybe I’m missing something though. Certainly if the team were to slip up so soon after the Marchand suspension (ie. injure someone), they would hear it from media for sure. If the Canucks want to come out on top on the public relations side of this issue (despite some unwise comments from the coach…derp), keeping it clean in the next little while would be key.

        Also: perspicuous. I learned a new word today!


  8. maybe the canucks don’t watch the score/tsn/sportsnet or read blogs from people like you who are nit picking plays that happen every game, and don’t think they need to “to keep the arms down and hits above the waist for the next couple of weeks” because they’re under the microscope

    • A couple reactions:

      “maybe the canucks don’t watch the score/tsn/sportsnet or read blogs from people like you”

      Why not? I’m a nice guy!

      “who are nit picking plays that happen every game”

      Stamkos has only left two games with face injuries to the best of my knowledge, ironically against the Canucks and Bruins respectively. He came back both times. Beast.

      “and don’t think they need to “to keep the arms down and hits above the waist for the next couple of weeks” because they’re under the microscope”

      I didn’t say they should because they’re under the microscope, it’s more to prevent injury, and silence Boston trolls. You know, the important stuff.

  9. @NAT–Well there was that time Burrows elbowed and left his feet to hit J.P.Dumont. If I’m not mistaken then next time they played one of the sedin sisters hit Dan Ellis and proceeded to give him the buisiness. of course there was that Bertuzzi incident. those are just off the top of my head. I don’t like the canucks and only see what nhl on the fly shows of them.

  10. It may be hard to support the Canucks, but it sure is fun and never a lame moment that’s for sure. This crafty edited playoff montage might change your mind http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzPwQYEOHVI

  11. I think you’re trying too hard to empathize with the broken thoughts of a large number of people beyond redemption. Both of the things you posted here are perfectly clean.

    Honestly, the two guys that get away with a lot of cheap shit that bother me are Kesler and Hansen. They never cross the line and do something to hurt someone, but I often find myself thinking “you dirty shit, I’m glad you’re on my team”

    • “I think you’re trying too hard to empathize with the broken thoughts of a large number of people beyond redemption. Both of the things you posted here are perfectly clean.”

      I’m not entirely clear on this point, but let it be known that it will be the opening sentence of dialogue in my forthcoming novel which you will be able to buy in a year or never.

  12. Neither the score, or tsn showed the bieksa hit, so clearly it wasnt that big a deal, and the stamkos one got showed only because its stamkos, mountains out of mole hills

  13. I used to be a Canucks fan, but the last couple of years were the last straw. I don’t care how “successful” they have been lately. They are a bunch of wining babies, and Gallager is absolutely right. They have NO toughness. If it wasn’t for the 6 powerplays they get every game they wouldn’t even make the playoffs. Signing Burrows and Lapierre was the start of the end for me, and after watching them last year I decided enough was enough. I used to be a fan and now even I hate them. Brad Marchand is a dirty player sure, but I still kind of like the way the Bruins play. Anyways I’m on the Jets bandwagon now. At least they have some toughness and don’t wine about every call and every team. I hope the Canucks never win a cup. GO JETS GO

  14. As a Lightning fan who actually watched that game sober I can only say:

    On the Bieksa “hit”–uh, what? We’re fussing about misses now?

    On the Edler hit–ohgodnotStamkospleasegodnotStamkosohthankgodherehecomeshesbackIloveStamkos

    On the hair–dude, really. Do something with that.

  15. The first hit is clean, kind of. He probably should be called for tripping. I do see what he was trying to do though. What do most offensive players do in that situation? Throw it down the boards and follow it in. If the Lightning player does that, Bieksa lines him up for a clean hip check.

    The second hit is a little more “toeing the line.” His goal isn’t to play the puck, it is to hit someone who doesn’t have the puck, which isn’t right. I don’t like how he shoulders Stamkos, but it’s not technically illegal. He should have been roughed up by some lighting players, but nothing more.

  16. As much as it pains me to say this because I absolutely hate Van and agree completely with the gist of this post. the Bieksa hit was nothing like the Marchand hit. Number one, if Bieksa makes clean contact its going to be hip to hip, not hip to knee. Number two, Bieksa did not make an attempt to get unreasonably low in the way Marchand did. He wasn’t ducking down, he was simply using his ass to make the hit, whereas Marchand basically dove at a guy’s knees.

  17. Nice too see that Lapierre is being feed enough that he doesn’t have to bite fingers so far this tear. The Canucks are the best for punching from behind while in a scrum, just watch the game in Boston in front of the Vancouver bench. ShawnThorton with 5 or 6 players, because 1 0n 1 the Van Duck are wimps.

    • if there was 5 or 6 Canucks on Thorton, someone would haVe been suspended…..this is why your opinions do not phase the mighty cancuks fan…

  18. I hope the rest on the NHL hates us, who cares. Hate is the result of jealousy. We live in the best city in Canada and have the best team in Canada. Vancouver fans, embrace the hatred, its the rest of the countries odd way of complementing us and our team. Besides, what else can they do? Go outside?, errrrrr too cold, Watch their hockey teams play? Errrr why would they want to watch that garbage….

  19. good thing the internet wasnt around when Scott Stevens or Vladimir Konstantinov were around you people would be whinin and cryin for weeks on here everytime they touched someone.. this thing says im spelling 4 words wrong, oh now 6.. damn you gordon campbell

  20. Every team has players that cross the line sometimes. The only difference is that the Bruins are big and strong enough for their “cross the line” plays tend to hurt people more than other teams’. Any time a team/player complains they look like idiots a week later when someone on their side does the same thing.

    The Canucks hip check and Marchand’s were the exact same hit, except Marchand doesn’t suck so his hit connected. That said, as a Bruins fan, I think he needed the 5-gamer to cool off. I love the kid but he needs to chill out before he does something REALLY stupid.

  21. Ah, you nailed me. ‘Tis true, I hate the West Coast. I’m on record as saying “who cares about mountains” while volunteer for Maritime Tourism.

    East Coast 4 Lyfe.

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