Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks

If you’re a hockey fan, you’re used to controversial hits.  They happen every night.  If you really wanted to, you could spend all day, every day, all season long doing nothing but watching videos of borderline thwacking and fighting with people on the internet about whether they were dirty or not.

But in last Monday’s Hawks-Oilers game, fans were treated to a rarer spectacle: a controversial non-hit. Nail Yakupov got the puck in the D-zone along the boards.  Daniel Carcillo lined him up from the circle.  Yakupov dished the puck up towards the blue line.  Carcillo decided to finish his check. Yakupov turned back towards the corner and ducked.  Carcillo launched himself, somewhat comically, into brainless glass.  And, at the next whistle, commentator Eddie Olczyk freaked out.

If you are Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers, you cannot do that to a player that’s coming. That’s a dangerous play by Nail Yakupov, because what happens is, when you duck like that, that player is going to go over the top of your shoulder and hit his face or his neck against the boards. To me, that should be a penalty on Yakupov. I see it at the amateur level; I’d like to see USA Hockey and amateur referees take control of that type of play. I hope it’s not being taught by coaches, but that’s a dangerous play. Somebody’s going to get really hurt when a player ducks like that.

Olczyk is right that Yakupov’s decision to duck is potentially dangerous for Carcillo.  If Carcillo is moving a little faster, if Yakupov is a little further off the boards, if the seconds and inches go wrong, Carcillo’s head could have hit that glass in a most icky way. Someone could surely have been hurt.

But, as I’m sure Eddie Olcyzk knows, hockey is always dangerous.  Someone could always get hurt. A guy could try to check you weakly, bounce off your body, hit his head on the ice, and get a concussion.  A guy could miss his check from pure ineptitude, slip into the boards, and get a concussion. You could bend over digging the puck in front of the net and a guy could come in too fast, trip, somersault over your back, and land right on top of his head. If ‘potentially dangerous’ was an adequate reason to ban something from the game, we would have done away with fighting, hitting, sticks, skates, and elbow pads long ago. If our major priority is to ensure that no human being is ever put in a position where they might get injured, we should give up hockey altogether.

So, logically speaking, the fact that we are still playing, watching, and enjoying hockey is proof that we are all willing to accept some levels of danger.  We’d rather go through the messy process of drawing imperfect lines between clean/acceptable and dirty/unacceptable violence, even knowing that sometimes players will be badly hurt on perfectly legal plays, than make the drastic changes that’d be necessary to keep everyone safe.  The question, then, is not whether or not ducking a check is dangerous.  It’s whether it’s unacceptably dangerous.

And it’s hard to know that.  Hockey suffers from a lot of dangerous-sprawl.  There are a few things (sucker punches, stick-swinging, slew-footing, checks from behind about three feet off the boards) that are dangerous and universally condemned.  There are other things (finishing your check, big open ice hits, fighting in defense of a teammate) that are dangerous and universally celebrated. In between is a vast space full of controversy.  There’s tripping a guy on a breakaway- sure, it’s illegal and could be dangerous, but sometimes you gotta do it.  There’s lifting into a hit with your shoulder- sometimes it’s concussive, but that’s how guys are trained. There’s staged fights- men ruin their hands, orbital bones, and brains doing this, but it excites the crowd and keeps fan favorites in the Show.  Every single violent gesture in the game will draw some commentator who thinks that’s what makes hockey great and another who thinks it’s worse than Bertuzzi.  So, since Olczyk has already staked out the “no place for that in the game” position on ducking, let me make the counterpoint:  ducking is an absolutely reasonable thing to do when one is being lined up from a distance, and particularly when one is being lined up from a distance by Dan Carcillo.

First of all, it’s not clipping.  Clipping is defined in the rulebook, quite explicitly, as ‘delivering a hit’.  Yakupov didn’t deliver shit.  He turned around and left.  It’s not the same play as intentionally running a guy at the knees, or crouching and then launching into an oncoming checker.  Yakupov did nothing whatsoever to Carcillo, therefore I have trouble seeing how the clipping penalty might apply.  While one does have a certain responsibility for the safety of one’s opponents in hockey, such duties mostly have to do with not intentionally injuring them in particular ways.  Nothing in the rules, either the letter or the spirit, demands that one take actions to prevent one’s opponents from hurting themselves.  Nothing asks that players put the other team’s safety ahead of their own, which  is fundamentally what Olczyk is demanding.

This demand is based on the assumption that,  while ducking a hit is unacceptably dangerous, taking a hit is unpleasant but basically safe. However, taking hits isn’t safe, and taking hits from Daniel Carcillo is especially unsafe.  Ask someone who thinks ducking is wrong what Yakupov should have done, and they’ll say, oh, he should have just taken it on the shoulder, the boards would absorb the force, no harm done.  But there is no way of knowing that this would have been a harmless hit. If you were a young skill player on an opposing team, and you saw Carcillo coming in on you, would you feel comfortable assuming he intends nothing more than a perfectly proper bump at the perfectly proper height?  And even if he did have pure intentions, guys get hurt on nice clean shoulder checks gone awry all the time.  Hell, guys get hurt on nice clean shoulder checks that don’t go awry.  The notion that there is no danger nor risk of injury in ordinary NHL checking is patently false.  If Yakupov takes that hit, there is a non-zero chance that it damages him.  And Yakupov allowing himself to get hurt is not only bad for him personally but bad for his team, making it wrong according to two different axes of hockey values.

So, to summarize, Yakupov is being asked to put himself in danger from a player who himself has a long, ugly history of unethical and illegal plays, possibly to the detriment of his team, in order to protect the other guy’s career.  Sorry, kittens, I hate to say it, but no one gets a guaranteed hockey career, certainly one not guaranteed by opponents at risk to themselves.  Carcillo, bless his black and withered heart, plays in a way that routinely treads very close to the possibility of ending all sorts of careers.  He often endangers other people’s brains and bones for his own benefit and that of his team, so it seems hypocritical at the least to suggest that others should sacrifice their bodies for his job.  You want to play hard, play fast, play on the edge?  Well, then sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. That’s the game.

And why, after all, is this potentially injurious play so much worse than all the other potentially injurious plays in the world?  Huge open ice hits, for example, are extremely dangerous. They send guys flying onto their heads all the time.  But you’re never going to catch Eddie Olczyk or any other played-the-game broadcaster saying, you can’t hit people like that, it’s not safe.  They’ll say, shit, well, it’s a physical game and sometimes that happens.

Why is the potential to hurt someone by dodging a hit less acceptable than the potential to hurt someone by delivering one?  Could it be, in part, an issue of machismo?  Research the question around the internet and you’ll find that critiques of ducking almost always involve demeaning the toughness, courage, or masculinity of a player who does it. Such players are called cowards, pussies, chickens. It’s not just that Carcillo might have been hurt; it’s that he might have been hurt because Yakupov did something unmanly. Hockey celebrates aggression and condemns evasion, therefore- for a certain self-consciously “traditional” set of fans, analysts, and broadcasters- active injury of an opponent is paradoxically more justifiable than the passive variety.  They’ll defend to the death a player’s right to finish his checks, no matter who is left sprawled and twitching on the ice after, because finishing your check is a sign of toughness and f**k the other guy if he can’t take it. Ducking a check, however, no matter how strategically sensible, looks like cowardice, and moreover, cowardice that might result in harm to the Good Canadian Boy who’s just Playing Hard like Coach Told Him To. Tough Guy Creams Skill Player is a classic scrap of hockey narrative, exactly the kind of thing we all expect and want to see. Tough Guy Bashes Own Face Into Glass in Unsuccessful Attempt to Cream Skill Player is less satisfying.  No wonder Eddie Olczyk hates to see it.

Comments (55)

  1. It’s not about being a pussy. If you have enough time to see a hit coming and duck, you have enough time to take it to the shoulder, which is a much safer play for the guy that is just doing to you what you do to the other team. Stop writing so many god damn words.

    • No, you stop commenting on posts that have more words than you want to read!

    • Yeah man, screw off with the words. You trying to act educamated or something?

    • LOL AT JON. (too many words?)

    • There were clearly too many words for you, as you skipped a whole bunch. A major point was that there is no “safe” in hockey hits. Perfectly fine looking shoulder-to-shoulder hits hurt players all the time. Another major point, is that its Carcillo, and Yakupov has no idea if he is going throw out an elbow or jump or something equally dangerous. If I’m him, I make sure that neither of those things happen.

    • God *damned* words.

      • whoops, my bad, god *damned* words.

        the thing about ‘skill players’ and ‘tough guys’ is that on any single given play, their roles could be reversed. if yakupov goes to hit carcillo later a second after carcillo dumps the puck, and carcillo ducks, what side would you be on? would you write 1500 words about carcillo doing the right thing because a separated shoulder could mean the end of his marginal career? ‘skill’ players are also perfectly capable of throwing the body around and hurting people (see: hall, taylor).
        not ducking is about respect for your fellow hockey players, because going low on a guy is significantly more risky than taking a shoulder to shoulder hit, whether you like it or not. if carcillo gets hurt on this play, does yakupov get to say ‘well i had to, he might have gotten his hands up on my head?’ not a chance.

        btw, i’ve hated the way carcillo plays since he was on the flyers, and since my sabres aren’t looking so hot, i think i’ll be rooting for the oilers if they go anywhere. it’s not like i have any interest in demonizing yakupov or anything

    • TL;DRYSCTAUO (Too long; didn’t read, yet still compelled to add uninformed opinion.)

      Get off the Internet, Jon. You’re contributing nothing to it.

      • tool long, read anyway, played hockey for 15 years and counting, contributed more to the discussion than you did, good job bud

        • As a general rule, anti-intellectual attention deficit disorder cases who leave jackass “TL;DR” type comments tend to subtract from the discussion, not add to it, and would be better served to pop a Ritalin and work on their reading comprehension rather than run their mouths. That said, your subsequent comment was much more substantive, so I take back my statement that you’re contributing nothing.

      • TEH NUMBER OF WORDS IN THIS ARTICLE IS TOO DAMNED HIGH

  2. #1, Carcillo is a Hawk…if he is an moron and gets seriously hurt by attempting (with what was most likely a cheap shot) to hit Yakupov and in missing, runs his face into the glass, that’s a reason for a party in most Blues and Wings fans’ books. #2, he is truly a known dirtbag, who not incidentally ended his own season last year on a dirty hit on which he was injured. #3, See #1 and repeat…seriously, Eddie O had little credibility for being unbiased before this, but now, I will lump him in with the other unabashed homers like the tools from the Blue Jacket’s TV team, etc…UGH! What an idiot (well, pair of them actually)!!!

    • Oh, and in my book, Carcillo is another Raffi Torres type player just waiting to get his own 20+ game suspension.

    • Many people have forgotten Marchand ducking a Sedin check in the cup final. Sedin went to finish a check and Marchand ducked the check. Sedin went over backwards and could have very easily landed on the back of his head against the boards. Eddie Olczyk also called it a dangerous play then so I wouldn’t quantify him as a homer on calling the same play dangerous just because a “Hawk” was involved.

      Here is a link to that video:
      http://youtu.be/2OLSS3hNNds

      I read the whole article and I’m still on the fence. I understand the risk you take in accepting a check against the glass. Sometimes ducking is purely reactionary and in the moment. However, I feel if you choose to play the game you choose to accept someone finishing a check on you.

      And I also feel it hits up against the “golden rule”. Pretty silly to speak about the golden rule when talking about hockey, but aren’t a lot of the unspoken rules and the “code” basically just that? What would happen in Edmonton if Yakupov went to finish a check and the receiving player ducked? Imagine if Yakupov got hurt because of it? I’m not sure I’d want to take a Russian freight train of a check any more than I’d like to get hit by Carcillo. So, to me imagining being a pro-level hockey player, do I want to get ducked when finishing a check? No because it’s dangerous with no controlled outcome. So would I then duck someone finishing a check on me? I would like to think I wouldn’t because of the greater potential danger.

      • Two problems regarding that comparison:

        1. The attempted hit that Marchand ducked came AFTER the whistle.

        2. “Distinct punching motion” Edzo was all but waving green and blue pompoms through that series. It got to be comical after a while.

        • Just so we can all recap, Eddie O is being accused on this page, granted, by separate people, of being both a homer for the Blackhawks, and a cheerleader for Vancouver.

  3. This goes to one of the reasons why checking is a part of hockey. Once they figured out guys on ice skates are going to hit each other it becomes nearly impossible to play without the hits (and still have an entertaining game). Delivering good checks is a skill. You have to be quick enough to contact the guy so its not a late hit. A timing element is part of the skill set. Expert checkers know how to check quick and shifty players. I guarantee Carcillo will remember this check. Either next time he will be quicker in order to make contact or he will just not risk injury to himself and not attempt the hit. No one is ‘free game’ to be checked. What about the skill involved in avoiding the check? Give Nail credit. Good play all around.

    • For sure. Carcillo makes a bad hockey play and botches the timing and coordination of his attempted check. Yakupov, a step ahead, simply makes a good hockey play and avoids it.

      Carcillo will now have to vastly improve the timing, speed and delivery of his checks, lest he continually telegraph them to more agile competitors, hurt himself, get sent down and end up in the ECHL.

      Jon is funny. Words wreck everything, Peer-reviewed science, too.

  4. Guys flatten themselves on missed checks all the time – And, yes, it’s comedic (as well as a self-inflicted danger.) See: Kaleta, Patrick.

    As my late, ever-obnoxious father used to say: “Chew baaaaaaaaaaaad.”

    Etchingham 1, Olczyk 0.

  5. Great read. Just enough words.

    So if dodging a check is being a coward, why is sticking a knee out to catch said dodgy coward, also a cowardly move? Wouldn’t it be the cowards fault for putting himself in a position to be kneed then?

    Isn’t being evasive a good hockey trait? Isn’t “hard to hit” along the lines of “hard to play against”?

  6. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the play in question:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdZvHHqYjow

    My two cents: I disagree with Ellen (particularly on this play). I have no problem with players moving before being hit – if you can evade contact, cool, go nuts. But you can’t go low like that. Carcillo is lucky Yakupov is as close to the boards as he is. I’ve seen players get ducked on farther from the boards and almost break their necks (one incident in practice was particularly concerning. I thought the dude died).

    It’s a cheap play and Carcillo has no chance to avoid the play after committing to the hit, which we should recall, is a legal thing you’re allowed to do in hockey. Some guys go so low so often (I remember Nick Licari of Wisconsin used to do this when I was in college) they put knees in danger when it happens in open ice. There are other ways to avoid that hit, one of which is to move your feet up the wall. Not taking a hit isn’t being a “pussy.” But ducking and putting your opponent in a vulnerable position like that…kind of is.

    • I disagree because Carcillo was late and appeared to be launching high. If Yakupov had time to dish the puck and duck, Carcillo shouldn’t be throwing such a late hit and he should take his medicine if his intended victim is quick and savvy enough to get out of the way.

      • Fair ’nuff – I guess I’d just add that I think “his medicine” for a late hit doesn’t need to be teeth (or potentially vertebrae) being compressed on the glass.

        For what it’s worth I should add that I enjoyed the post, and think it’s a reasonable take.

      • Carcillo was too slow and clumsy on this play. You don’t stand, brace and wait for a badly timed, glacial check to hit you. Carcillo needs to get faster and better at checking because he plays in the NHL.

    • Help me understand.

      Why does Yak have to take the hit just because Carcillo committed to the hit?

      If Carcillo committed to the hit in the wrong place, that’s his fault. Why is it up to Yak to save Carcillo from himself?

      Makes absolutely no sense to me.

      • The problem is going low. If he has time to make an evasive maneuver, choose a different option.

        • I still see Carcillo at fault.

          Take your medicine for trying to make a late hit.

          If Yak had hopped to his left, and Carcillo still slammed face first into the glass trying to make the hit, would it really be any different? The result would be the same.

          Of course, it may be my bias because it’s Carcillo and it’s a late(ish) hit.

          • It wouldn’t be the same. There’s a big difference between skating into the boards because you missed a hit and being sent airborne head-first into the boards because another guy took out your legs from under you.
            I’d like to see Carcillo get his just desserts as much as the next guy (maybe more), but missing a hit and slamming into the boards is “taking your medicine”. Being sent flying because the other guy chose to put both of you in increased physical danger isn’t.

        • What if Yakupov had the puck along the boards, ducked a bad hit (which a hit that gets ducked has to be, right?), went in and scored a highlightreel goal. Then it would all be like “wow what a play, he totally makes a fool out of the d-man” (when I imagine this I can’t help but picture Dion Phaneuf tumbling into the boards, get hurt and miss 20 games).

          It’s a tough call of course, I find myself thinking that a hit that you can avoid must be a bad hit. Blindside hits though are unavoidable and are the opposite of good hits.

          I don’t really know where I got myself with this rant.

        • One thing nobody has mentioned thus far – This is an 18 yr old kid in his rookie season, straight into the NHL (via KHL) from his draft year. With experience, would he do something differently? Maybe. Speaking as a non-hockey playing person, Nail’s reaction seems perfectly understandable. Damn rights I’d duck a hit from a bigger, arguably dirty player. Maybe that reaction will be coached out of him. Either way, Carcillo might think twice about lining Nail up against the boards again.

    • Looked to me like Yakupov dodged sideways about as much as he ducked.

      • exactly. Its a matter of degrees, literally…but he was moving to the side and down. He wanted to get completely out of Carcillos path, not sit down. He’s in stationary, in front of the “ACT” of the advertisement when he starts to move, and completely to the left (our right) of the word when Carcillo misses the hit.

    • To me it looked like Yakapov was trying to move to the side, realized he couldn’t get away before Carcillo’s elbow got him in the head, so he ducked while Carcillo was jumping. It wasn’t like he saw the hit coming and ducked. He took a step to the side and ducked/slide away.

    • What if Yakapov slips by accident while trying to dodge the hit? There is no intended malice in that situation, sh*t just happens sometimes.

      Also, looking at the clip, it looks like Yakapov starts to move away from the hit, but then realizes his head is about to meet Carcillo’s elbow, and then ducks more. Actually it looks like Carcillo’s elbow reaches out (to me).

      Also Carcillo starts leading in with his knee as soon as Yakapov tries to avoid the hit. If he was being smart about that play he’d notice that Yakapov is moving away from the hit, he’s not going to be able to hit cleanly, and he would just veer off and hit the boards next to Yakapov. But, as has been said before, Carcillo is “locked in” to this hit and goes at it without concern for the consequences.

      Personally in such a case I’d just have the guy eat my stick or forearm… I guess if I was being nice it’d be two hands instead of my actual stick. But I have no issue at all with this move.

      • Well, intent matters.
        If Yakupov was trying to sidestep, slipped, and while he was going down Carcillo made contact, flew over him, and smashed into the boards, well, that falls under the “sh*t happens” category.
        But Yakupov deliberately chose to duck, which means he deliberately chose the option that put both himself and Carcillo in the maximum amount of physical danger.

        • I’m not going to suggest that what Yakupov did was a good idea, I just think he was surprised and reacted badly. The way he moves doesn’t look like he planned what he was doing.

          He seems to be learning quickly so I suspect next time he will have a better plan.

          However I don’t put any of the blame on Yakupov. He’s a rookie and they do dumb things sometimes.

  7. this was controversial? i live in edmonton and there was no mention of this aside from a quick comment on the play by play, fuck Ed Olczyk im sick of these sensationalist commentors making a big deal out of nothing, total homerism

  8. Your last paragraph gets to the heart of Olczyk’s issue. For some reason, a large number of hockey fans (and former players) have so much personally invested in being a fan of/part of a game that is seen as so macho. I dont understand it. Maybe its that I grew up in NYC, and not the frigid plains of Alberta. But at the end of the day, the hockey world will be better off when we get past these outdated notions of who deserves respect and praise for being “tough”.

    One thing I think we need to be careful of in this discussion – Yakupov’s play was smart regardless of the player coming at him. Carcillo may be a dirty guy, and that may add to the risk of injury to Yakupov when taking a hit. But if I am a player and someone is trying to hit me, its in my interest to not get hit.

    • Sure, but my (badly made) larger point is that the idea that it’s safer to take the hit than to duck assumes that the hitter is going to make a clean hit, and Carcillo is ample evidence that not all hitters intend clean hits. If contact was universally “safe”, then ducking might be an unacceptable risk. But when there is so much intentionally dirty play in the League, we can’t expect that the danger to the checker from ducking the hit is greater than the danger to the checkee from taking it.

  9. Olczyk is an asshat. Props.

  10. This is exactly why I absolutely hate to watch Blackhawk games when Edzo is commenting. He somehow manages to suck on the entire Chicago roster during the game while doing so. They cannot do any wrong, and the opposing team is filled with the dumbest jerks who ever laced up a skate.

    I’m usually ok with homer announcers, but even on a homer broadcast they tend to be a little more even-keeled than that. Detroit’s announcers are pretty homer-y but even they give a fair shake to bad penalty calls, or good moves by the other team.

    And on a national broadcast? It just makes watching the games so painful.

  11. I think this is simpler than a lot of people are treating it. Avoiding a hit is fine, but doing so by putting yourself in a position level with the checker’s knees is not. Whether near the boards or in open ice, ducking is an unnecessarily dangerous way to evade the hit. I had my femur broken in three pieces because someone decided to go kneecaps on me when I stepped up on the blueline to throw a hit. Go left, go right, spin, hug the boards, put your hands in his face if he’s coming high (I’ve seen Bourne write about that before), whatever. Ducking isn’t cool.

  12. For me It’s not about danger to Carcillo but danger to Yakupov. By falling he puts his head in the path of an elbow (that was at waist height). It trips hitter, possibly getting a skate to face and the awkward fall and getting a 200 lb guy to land on you leads to injury. It’s a dangerous move not just for hitter but for the guy being hit too.

  13. If Yakupov had enough time to duck he also had time to square up and dish his own punishment out to Carcillo. Instead he took the option of ‘duck’, which I DO think is the biggest pussy move he could choose of his 4 options (duck, move/take hit, hit back)

    i also don’t think it looks good to his teammates on the bench. Delivering punishment back at Carcillo, that would amp up the team. Ducking away from a hit, my first thought would be, pussy Ruskie.

    His middle option that no one would think twice about, side step the hit/lean up against the glass and bounce him off. Apparently he had time to duck so he could have easily moved or got into position to absorb the hit as well..

  14. I dont think people have issue with players trying to avoid hits, it’s ducking specifically that is the issue. And to rationalize it as acceptable because the other guy has a history, or everything is potentially dangerous is sort of ridiculous. Every player is expected to play tough, hard nose hockey. And sometimes guys get hurt. But they are also expected to play “clean”. You aren’t supposed to try to injure the other guy. When you step over those bounds, you get penalized. You aren’t supposed to hit a guy from behind into the boards. You aren’t supposed to hit a guy in the head. And you aren’t supposed to duck hits because the potential for SERIOUS injury is magnified.

    I honestly dont see how this is a discussion. Rationalizing dirty play because other guys play dirty is lame.

  15. I wholeheartedly disagree. There is a HUGE difference between ducking a hit and sidestepping a hit. When I grew up and first learned the ropes of body contact in hockey, we were taught to never, ever duck hits. Brace yourself, side-step the hit, whatever. Do not duck hits. Hitting is a part of hockey; players are taught to always finish their check. Ducking a hit is dangerous. It’s cowardly. It’s not “hockey”.

    Other than a blatantly dirty move, one thing that universally pisses off players at ALL levels is seeing someone drop to their knees at the sight of an oncoming hit. Chickenshit.

  16. good for yakupov. I’m tired of our skilled players being taken out by nickel and dime goons. not to mention he was taught by a Russian system.

    looks like we need more Semenkos to protect the fast little scorers that we all love to see.

  17. Eddie O.-do you mean Yakupov should have let Danielle Carsilly do what he did when he boarded Tom Gilbert of the Oilers and injured him,getting suspended in the process.As you may have suspected I am not a Carcillo fan by any means. Didn’t like him as a Junior with the Sarnia Sting of teh OHA (also Yakupov’s Jr.team) and I didn’t like him with the Flyers -and he is up to the same sh!t with the Hawks.

  18. Ellen convinced me, then Justin brought me back.

    Not all “dirty” plays are illegal, as has been pointed out. A big part of what makes a play dirty is that it’s unnecessarily dangerous, and takes liberties with other players’ safety.
    While it’s true that no hit is perfectly safe, and that every NHLer assumes the risk of getting hit by another enormous dude travelling at high speed, I think you need to think about the LEVEL of danger involved.

    So if we assume that Yakupov couldn’t get cleanly out of the way – i.e., that contact of one sort or another with Carcillo is inevitable – what’s more dangerous:
    - Taking the hit in an “expected” way, even if it’s in your head that your hitter might be out to actually hurt you; or
    - Doing what Yakupov did?
    Of course you have no real obligation to protect the other guy. But strictly speaking in self-preservation terms, at least if you take the hit you can take it on your own terms – you can brace, you can prepare, you can get your hands up, you can put your body in the best position to deal with the impact. But if you duck down, suddenly your head is at hip height – or worse, knee height, you can’t position yourself as easily. Look at the video and see if you think Yakupov was at all in control of his body once he decided to go down. So it’s a bad idea.
    Then you have the fact that there’s a Reasonable Expectation (to use legal jargon) that the other guy has a MUCH greater chance of getting injured if you duck. And THAT’s what makes it dirty to duck. You don’t gain much in self-preservation (in fact, I’d say you lose on the deal), and you put the other guy in not only a more dangerous situation, but a situation where injury could be expected. Physics says that Carcillo’s going to fly over Yakupov’s body, and in the direction of a pane of Plexiglas. This is predictable and dangerous, and therefore dirty in the same way a hit from behind is dirty (and the NHL wasn’t always so intolerant of that until recently, BTW).

    So I don’t think it was cowardly, or pussy-ish, or chicken of Yakupov to duck the hit like that. It WAS dirty.

  19. Obviously if Eddie Olczyk wants to say something a player does goes out of bounds of what is accepted in the hockey fraternity, I’ll take his word on it. However, in this situation I feel like he was acting like more of a color guy taking a somewhat homer-ish view of the situation.

    It’s another one of those moments where, if someone (usually from the media) hadn’t felt strongly enough to point it out the supposed transgression, we probably wouldn’t have thought about it. Sort of like, we probably wouldn’t have thought much about Daniel Sedin throwing a shoulder check on Duncan Keith until it was replayed several (hundred) times as a justification for Keith’s subsequent elbow to the noggin.

    Plus it’s Dan freaking Carcillo. He’s like Matt Cooke before the ‘reformation’.

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