gryba eller

I didn’t come across too many people saying it last night, but there were definitely those that were sharing their thought that Eric Gryba should’ve recognized a vulnerable Lars Eller and let up. I’m not exactly sure what “let up” means, but assume it means something along the lines of “sidestep a player and let him start an odd-man rush.” Maybe it means wrap him up with a bear hug and take a penalty. …You can probably guess the stance I’m going to take here.

In college we used to do a drill where two forwards would skate from the neutral zone down into their defensive zone, regroup, take a pass from a coach, and head the other direction for a two-on-two rush. The d-men popped out at the same time the forwards left center to head into their own zone. The fun part was that the drill was meant for the defenseman to work on their gap control, so the forwards didn’t have to just swing into the d-zone, cross and rush.

Sometimes one guy would stretch the far blue, sometimes the guys would curl up the wings, or cross in the middle, or do whatever the hell they wanted. It was on the d-men to communicate and kill the rush. I’d say forwards got shots on net roughly half the time, probably less when the d-men were on.

The best defenseman at the drill was a smaller guy who skated well and hit like a ton of bricks, because he could use his wheels to get up on that initial pass and play a tight gap, and if you happened to be looking back at the coach who was passing the puck out of the corner, would occasionally put you on your ass (much to the team’s – and his – delight).

The thing for the forwards is, most defenseman back off and play it safe, not wanting to take the chance of whiffing on the hit and letting a rush start the other way. It’s a small risk, but if you time it well, you can nip a rush in the bud, create a turnover, maybe throw a momentum-altering big hit, and get the puck back. Instead of the play heading into your own zone, you can get it back and go on offense.

When Eric Gryba reads the Rafael Diaz pass to Lars Eller, he absolutely does the right thing by trying to do what I’m talking about. If his job in the Canadiens’ neutral zone defense is to be above the opposing center, to see that play coming and stop the rush before it starts is a perfect read. And as a physical guy (one of the reasons he’s in the NHL in the first place), darn right you’re going to look to pop a guy. The next time a Canadiens forward comes through the neutral zone he might be looking over his shoulder a little bit more and miss a pass. You don’t want the game to be easy on your opponent, or you end up looking like the Islanders and Leafs did in Game 1. Fear is a very real thing.

You can advocate for him using a pokecheck there, but that’s upping your risk factor monumentally. If he misses that three-inch-wide puck with a poke, he’s already committed to letting the body by, and so it goes – bye-bye. It can hop, get redirected, be one-touched, it can do a million things, and it might. But if you’ve ensured that the opposition is going on a rush with one less player, you’ve done your job. And as a d-man not exactly at the top of the depth chart, doing your job is sort of a no-brainer.

I like to think I’m a fairly progressive guy, but just because Lars Eller doesn’t know Gryba is pinching doesn’t mean Gryba shouldn’t be allowed to hit him. In that instance, it’s on Eller to try to make the breakout, not be given it (well actually, in this case it’s on Rafael Diaz to not make the pass, but I think you get what I’m saying). If the policy was that you can’t hit guys who don’t expect to be hit, the least aware players among us get rewarded. That’s not how the Darwinian evolution of professional athletes plays out.

You can debate the contact all you want. You can decide for yourself whether you think he should be suspended or not. But it’s not up for debate whether Gryba should’ve stepped up and made the hit. He made a great read, and was aiming to stop a team breaking out. It’s just unfortunate it played out the way it did.

Comments (143)

  1. Or, he could have stepped back, let the play develop, and play defense in the NZ like it happens on 99% of the plays where a puck is being moved out of the defensive zone.

    All of what you say is correct. But it doesnt get to the larger point that if we want players to be protected, the game will need to change in some ways. And getting rid of huge open ice checks where one player is defenseless and vulnerable, and his movement is stopped dead in his tracks by a 6′something, 200 lb guy moving in the opposite direction, is one of the most obvious ways to change it for the better.

    • On 99% of the plays, that pass wouldn’t/shouldn’t happen. Diaz should have realized that Eller was too high on that play. Either Eller has to swing lower on the breakout (leaving a gap between him and Gryba) or else that pass needs to go out to the wing who can chip it up to Eller (or off the boards) who is puck support.

      Dmen only back off and let the play develop when there’s enough of a gap between the onrushing forward and themselves to make an attempted hit too risky.

    • We can’t be protecting guys who are going to skate with their heads down while receiving a break-out pass. That’s just idiotic and rewards players who can’t look up. Either Diaz needs to make a pass to someone who isn’t about to get hit by a truck or Eller needs to look up and step around Gryba.

      The idea that this kind of hit needs to be protected is difficult to swallow because this is a prototypical hockey play. Everyone knows what happens if you skate with your head down while recieiving a pass like that.

      • It’s long past time to stop using “he had his head down” as a free pass/justification for blasting people’s brains out. It flat out ruins people’s lives. And the evidence is overwhelming.

        • I think that the problem here was that Gryba tried to let up, realizing that Eller was in a vulnerable position. In so doing, he brushed by his shoulder, but unfortunately, the head was down in front. What he should have done is just pop him straight out along his side. It would have hurt Eller, but maybe not cause the big head hit that it did. I truly believe that it was his attempt to brush Eller rather than hitting him straight on which led to the severity of the check. Gryba should not have received a suspension on review.

    • So what’s the rule change? No open ice hits? No hitting at all? Sounds like a phenomenal game. I’ll be sure to pick up season tickets for that.

    • Create your own sport then bud, in hockey neutral ice hits are part of the game, and one I admire as fan and participated in on both giving and recieving ends as a player (who wasn’t being paid millions). No need to target the head, no need to ruin the game of hockey as we know it. People who think anything of this besides that two Montreal players created a vulnerable situation with a stupid hockey sequence are whats wrong, and why i’m scared for the future of the best game on earth. Be progressive and learn not to do stupid shit that leaves you unconcious and eliminate dirty plays… it’s a proactive double edged sword, focusing on accusations after the fact and stiffer punishment for guys doing what the coach says is a reactive and in my opinion, stupid approach.

    • Players need to protect themselves.

      Eller knew Gryba (6’4″ 222lb monster) was on the ice, so did Diaz. And yet, he makes that pass, and Eller takes it without looking up. Both players, I’m sure, have been aware of the concept of the suicide pass since they’ve learned to skate, and have seen many players get seriously hurt by legal hits on careless offensive plays like this.

      It was a really unfortunate result though, and I hope Eller is ok.

      • if you like playoff hockey (with body checks) listen to NHL hockey !
        If you like hockey with no body checks then listen to European hockey!
        it was a clean check, get over it, you can listen to soccer if you want

        P.S. Gryba`s hit WAS NOT TO THE HEAD, Lars stop looking down at your puck to stick handle and look up.

        good luck Lars hope you`ll be ok.

    • Not surprised these are the responses.

      (1) “Keep your head up” might have been a neat way to sound macho 30 years ago, but that was a time when people didnt wear helmets, and its a different time.

      (2) People who think that the sport will “change” if we take out freight-train hits are over-blowing it. These running the guy over hits happen, MAYBE, once a game. The “Game” is not going to change significantly.

      (3) I dont care what you call the penalty. Call it roughing. Call it charging. Call it unsportmanlike conduct. Call it “illegal check.” But let’s change the mindset that vulnerable players dont need to be protected in some situations, and that the best people to give that protection are the other players.

      • I look forward to the new unassailable offensive strategy:

        Get the puck, skate foward until you’re making out with the goaltender, and no matter what, stare straight down at the ice because it’s two minutes for stopping you.

        There is no scenario in which what you’re proposing doesn’t either immensely complicate the officiating, or destroy contact in hockey all together.

        You want to decrease injuries and protect players? There are about fifteen more feasible and more effective ways I can think of off the top of my head.

      • Please define vulnerable, and do so in a way that can be consistently enforced on split second high speed plays.

      • How about these guys don’t make themselves vulnerable by keeping their head up. Maybe these idiots shouldn’t throw suicide passes up the middle? Backing off of that hit could have resulted in a goal. Go watch figure skating because it sounds like that’s what you are looking for.

      • it was the teammates fault and ellers fault for eller being vulnerable, gryba had no control over this factor and neither does anyone who ever goes in for a body check. Making a rule to stop this would definitely change the game because it would tell players not to hit which is essential to the sport

    • This is patently ridiculous. Basically you are telling players not to make contact with each other, to not cause turnovers, and basically, to not do their jobs.

      You want to make a difference? Clamp down on fighting. What you’re proposing is some other game that isn’t hockey.

    • Why do you think scott stevens had a career? This was a great hit and all fault sould be put on Diaz and Eller. Keep your head up

    • but there is no rule against what Gryba did. under the rules that we CURRENTLY have it was a clean check, therefore the suspension makes no sense.

    • How about instead of ruining the game by removing one of the most interesting parts, you educate players so plays like this don’t happen? The Habs may be supporting their player in front of the media but behind closed doors they all know what happened. Diaz made a stupid suicide pass that even my kid cousin who plays minor hockey knows not to make, why is that? Because you are taught from a very young age to not make that pass in minor hockey. The idea is to pass up to a winger who can either chip the puck in or make a safe pass to the center. Diaz knows in his heart what he did was wrong, the real problem is the NHL bowing to the media pressure and suspending Gryba for a legal hit.

    • There is no such thing as vulnerable once you have possession of the puck.

  2. Onus remains on Gryba to not aim high, which he did. If Eller is unaware of the pending contact, a hip check can work just as well as a shoulder hit that went high. This was a play that can be argued to have gone wrong but Gryba had options for contact and he knew aiming high put Eller in far more danger than aiming his check lower.

    • How do you make a hockey play here? Hug him? He came in reeeeeally low actually.
      Seriously, guys are trying to win hockey games and playing with instincts and it’s not Gryba’s fault Eller was skating through no no land with no spatial awareness and Diaz hit him with the dumbest pass ever. I don’t care what anyone says every defencemen at any level should step in to the guy in the that circumstance and in no way did he target the head. Aside from cheering for the Habs or not understanding the game I fail to see an arguement that this play was dirty in any way. Watch another sport if you don’t like open ice hits and the blood that results on occasion. Smarten up.

      • He came in “low”? He made contact with the head, so maybe you need to open a dictionary and figure out what the word low means.

        • Show me one still of head contact

          • The very first thing that happens when contact is made is the head popping back, then the contact moves down the body like a wave. Have no idea how this is not clear.

        • Gryba is hunched over and leading with his shoulder. His skates stay on the ground. He makes contact at the hip. His elbow is down. Had Eller not been craning over to see Diaz’s suicide pass, it would have been a jarring hit to the lower chest at best.

          Your suggestion that Howedy’s diction is lacking could not be any further from the truth, and your comment is trite and silly.

          I’m sorry Eller is hurt, but Gryba did literally nothing wrong here.

    • Aim high? Are you on bath salts? He hit him square in the chest. Would you rather he go low and take out his knees?

      • Great Comment, Robert cheers for the Habs or is delusional.

      • Eller was out before he hit the ice. A hit to the chest doesn’t knock you unconscious.

        • How exactly do you know he was out before he hit the ice? I’ve taken a shot straight to the chest that knocked the wind out of me so bad that I may as well have been unconscious as I couldn’t move at all. Likely would have been a similar result as Eller if I wasn’t in a cage.

    • If you want to see high hits watch Subban smash Neil. He came across and launched himself at Neil, and if you have the time to search through footage you will see him make that play over and over. Not just in this game either, that’s what Subban does and we all love it. Gryba’s knees were bent, elbow tucked, shoulder dropped; classic body check being taught to every kid learning the game now. To say he aimed high is straight up wrong, you can see in his interview after that he did not mean to take Eller’s head off the way he did.
      Oh, and Scott Stevens made a career on hits identical to Gryba’s. The game hasn’t changed THAT much since he retired.

    • What do you mean aim low ? Gryba has like a foot on eller the fact that all contact wasn’t shoulder to head means that he did aim low. While restricting hitting should we limit height to ? and hey while were at it lets limity weight and say only people under 5’10 and less then 150 pounds can play ? sounds great. Aim low what a joke . tell me this how is gryba supposed to avoid all head contact when ellers head is square in his chest cause hes looking down. The only reason and i mean only reason a suspension was dolled out on gryba was so the NHL refs didn’t look bad calling a penalty. Eller broke his nose when hes head bounced off the ice. Yeah the blood looked bad doesn’t make the hit illegal. If thats an illegal hit how about when matt cooke cut Karlssons Tendon maybe he should have aimed lower? haha the NHL is a joke for making this a suspension and not suspending cooke. Tell me how much pressure does someone have to apply to cut 70% of some ones tendon . The answer : too much for it to be accidental.

  3. Couldn’t agree more!! Complete clean hit, just unfortunate outcome, but that’s hockey.

    • ditto. I have zero problem with his overall intent to step up and make the hit/play.

    • Clean hit !!! Are you serious. The guy is knocked out , fractured face and a concusion and you say it was clean. That is not hockey and thys not whats its all about.

  4. Wings fan here. If you want to penalize that hit, you might as well take hitting out of the game. Checking someone is not only to get the puck loose from the player. Checking is to hurt the guy. To make him a little slower, to make him hesitate, to get under his skin. I am all for not allowing hits to the head, but this was a clean hit to the body of a guy who was playing the puck. I hope he is okay, but that is the game. These hits are a part of the game. Pain is a part of the game, and the players are well compensated for their pain. Want a safer job, go flip burgers at McDonalds for minimum wage.

    • Man, I was just going to post a similar comment! Your spot on, these guys know that these things can happen in a game, dirty or not, and get paid millions for the risk. Like you said, you want a safer job, go work at the Gap….

    • Bang on. The face hitting the ice and likely the visor were the factors to the pool of blood on the ice. They showed the replay of the hit repeatedly and it’s clear that Gryba did NOT come in contact with Eller’s head. There was NO elbow raised at all and Gryba’s feet never left the ice. It was Gryba’s shoulder hitting Eller’s chest. Other contributing factors: Eller was not expecting the hit and I think one could even say that it was a glancing blow, which spun Eller around causing him to lose blance and fall face first onto the ice.

      I don’t see a suspension based on the hit and Gryba’s record but… the one conistency about NHL discipline it that it’s inconsistent!

  5. Agreed. Well said. And as much as I hate to say it, Fraser did a good job in analysis.

  6. 25 years ago, I think it would have been much more likely that that hit would have been much lower – think hip check. I wonder how much of our problem has to do with teaching shoulder checking to the exclusion of hip checking. Personally, I’d trade a brain injury for a leg injury any day…

    • This is incorrect. I did a quick search and found this amazing video recapping the 1988 playoffs. If you scroll to about the 5:40 mark they show a few hits and every single one of them is a shoulder-check aiming high. I think if you want to see more hip checking you need to go back to the 50s or 60s? I don’t even know. If you ask Ellen Etchingham she may tell you that players have been head-hunting with their shoulders since before the NHL existed.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSs3Z7L1Wgw

  7. The only problems here are a size disparity, something you can’t change and equipment. Shoulder and elbow caps need to be looked at.

    Saying he shouldn’t have made that check? Go watch soccer or basketball.

  8. Come on, Justin! There are other options than a poke check attempt, or a bear hug, or what Gryba did. You can block a player, you can bump a player while using your stick on the puck. You can check a player without laying all you’ve got into him when he’s in a vulnerable position. Nobody expects Eller to get a free pass because he’s vulnerable, but there’s a line that’s crossed when you’re looking to hit to hurt. Gryba could have chosen a number of other ways to separate Eller from the puck. He chose the one most likely to injure. Judging a player’s intention may be difficult, but it rarely gets easier than it is in this case.

    • Why is it Gryba’s responsibility to play differently instead of Eller and Diaz’s responsibilities not to put Eller in that position.

      Let’s be clear here. Gryba’s intention is clearly to seperate Eller from the puck in a violent physical manner. But he comes in low and gets a solid body check on Eller. The result is unfortunate but this is hockey. We’re not trying to legislate hitting out of the game, just head-hunting. This isn’t head-hunting and it isn’t even a dirty hit.

      • Then why call checking from behind near the boards? Any player who puts himself in a vulnerable position should just accept that he might be checked from behind into the boards. Why should a defender be expected to act differently just because an opponent chose to put himself in a vulnerable position.?

        • Guys turn at the last second and put themselves in bad spots along the boards all the time. It’s the same BS. thanks for leading to that relevant comparison.

        • Huh? Let me get this straight, you think the rule should be based on the perceived vulnerability of a player? So if I skate through the neutral zone Lindros style with my eyes glued to the ice I’m now untouchable? That’s the obvious result of your argument, my head is down, I can’t see hits coming and I’m incredibly vulnerable. If i have quick hands I just deal with the poke check attempts and waltz in on goal. Rewarded for being unaware, what a brilliant standard.

          • Your consistent failure to recognize the difference between “untouchable” and accomplishing the same result with “less touching” leads me to believe you’ve never actually been in a stripclub.

          • Yes…I would expect all players to skate looking at their feet the entire time…because that is a very effective way to see the ice and teammates and make and catch passes.

        • Hi Dale McCarthy,

          So we’re clear, Rule 43: Checking from Behind, applies to all areas of the ice, not just along the boards. To further elaborate however, the difference between being hit from behind and what happened here to Eller is that Eller could have looked up and known what was about to happen. He was vulnerable because he was playing with his head down. If he was facing away from Gryba, then the only way we could expect Eller to avoid the hit would be to have eyes in the back of his head, which he does not. It’s one thing to expect a player to keep his head up, like Eller should have done on this play. It’s another to expect them to have eyes in the back of their head.

          The specific penalty you’re actually thinking of is Rule 41: Boarding. This is what happens when a defenseless player gets violently checked into the boards. It’s important to note the distinction between “defenseless” and “vulnerable” in regards to a Boarding penalty. Players have been provided explanations of what this distinction is and know that a player near the boards with their back turned is “defenseless” and shouldn’t be violently checked into the boards.

          Again, Eller is certainly not defenseless. He is accepting a pass high in his defensive zone and is doing so as part of a break-out play. He does this with his head down, making himself vulnerable, but clearly not defenseless. If he has his head up, maybe he misses the pass, but he easily avoids the oncoming truck of Gryba. Vulnerable, but not defensless is a huge part of what defines a Boarding penalty.

          I hope this has cleared things up for you!

          • I think you intentionally missed my point.

            I hope that clears things up for you.

        • Oh so that’s your argument Dale, that players are supposed to just rub up against each other all nice and soft and tender? I suppose that they should be skating slower as well, because of course if you’re moving at a high rate of speed and your opponent is also moving at a high rate of speed those collisions may not be so soft and tender. Either that or you’re advocating that players make decisions in a humanly impossible time frame or defy the laws of physics.

          Just genius arguments all around here.

    • Give me a break. This isn’t amateur ‘everyone gets a ribbon’ hockey. This is the NHL, these are professionals and this is the playoffs.

      You want Gyrba to go up there and “bump” him? First, what does that even mean? Is that like the little bit of touching you’re allowed at a regular strip club versus that allowed at a Montreal strip club?

      You’re asking players to make decisions that are humanly impossible. You’re asking Gyrba to make a read, step up to the pass, take away time and space and at the last second decide ‘does he see me?’ and then determine what degree of force is allowed. Not only is that an impossible human reaction, it also discounts the laws of physics. Both of these guys are moving with speed, and you somehow want the collision to be decreased at the last moment. Perhaps that will work if the NHL expands to Melmack, but it ain’t going to fly on earth.

      • You don’t think Gryba saw that play develop? You don’t think Gryba knew Eller was in a vulnerable position? You think Gryba had only two options on that play; either back off and let Eller take the pass or do what he did? Gryba knew what he was doing. He timed it perfectly to avoid interference. I disagree that the head wasn’t contacted, but that’s another argument. Gryba contacted all of Eller’s torso AND the head. It caused Eller’s head to spin around and knocked him out. He was unconscious before he hit the ice.

        I’ve read your previous comments so your reply to this is predictable. Nobody is asking for the elimination of hitting, but there is a line that is crossed when you take advantage of a vulnerable player. Deciding not to take advantage of a player in a vulnerable position is possible. Players read plays and see them develop and decide what to do. Gryba saw the play developing and made a decision. He timed it so it wasn’t interference. He kept his elbow down. He didn’t jump. He didn’t target the head, but there was contact with the head. It was a great play if hurting Eller was the objective.

        And you really don’t know what bump means? Or was that you just trying to work a stripclub reference into your post?

        Here’s a list of things Gryba could’ve done:

        - pokecheck
        This is a risky one because there is a wide margin for error.

        - lift Eller’s stick
        This is an option but again it carries some risk because you could miss or time it wrong.

        - back off into neutral zone
        This is the usual play, but dmen will pinch to prevent the rush when they think it’s safe to do so.

        - pick/bump/check Eller
        If Gryba basically puts up a pick play there then he separates Eller from the puck and breaks up the play. He could’ve used a combination of body contact and stick play. He had position on Eller so he could’ve rode him toward the boards where Eller was heading anyway. I doubt Eller is even able to hold onto that puck if he knows Gryba is right there.

        - Gryba could have said “boo”
        I’m being facetious here, but I figure trolls will need something to focus on. Basically if Gryba says “boo” when he’s next to Eller then he breaks up the play because Eller would be too busy shitting himself to accept the pass cleanly.

        - Gryba could have laid his full weight into a vulnerable player under the guise of breaking up the play with the added bonus of likely injuring Eller.
        Ya.

        And by the way, there is a rule that says you cannot hit a player when he’s in a vulnerable position. By common sense standards Eller was clearly in a vulnerable position. However, by NHL Rulebook standards, once the puck touched his stick he wasn’t considered to be in a vulnerable position. To the rulebook it doesn’t matter that Eller’s body position hadn’t changed. It only matters that the puck touched his stick. That’s ridiculous. The NHL changed the rules to address the situation where Sean Avery was waving his arms in front of Martin Brodeur. This is another instance where they should be making some changes.

        But instead, let’s blame “player 61″ for the pass. Let’s blame Eller for putting himself in a vulnerable position. Let’s talk about the devastation that concussions cause, but let’s not do anything about it because that was a “good, clean hockey hit.”

        bye

        • It was a great play if playing hockey was the objective. Your argument ends right there.

        • Hi again Dale,

          So we’re clear, there is no rule in hockey that prevents you from hitting a vulnerable player if they put themself in that position. Rules that deal with this, such as Boarding and Checking from Behind, specify that the player must be “defenseless” in order for it to be a penalty and continue to explain that players who put themselves in a vulnerable position prior to being hit are not defenseless.

          The bottom line for me on this hit is that the NHL should not be protecting players who skate up-ice with their heads down. It’s as simple as that. Rule 48 protects them from being hit in the head as the “Principle Point of Contact” but that’s as far as we need to go. The debate on whether or not this hit violated Rule 48 is one that the Dept of Player Safety will need to review, but otherwise I don’t see any reason why the league should protect Eller from being run over by a freight train because he had his head down.

          Why should Gryba make any other decision than to barrel through Eller? Eller is receiving a pass with his head down. He’s basically asking Gryba to skate right through him. Also, as Bourne discussed, if Gryba makes a stick play he is putting his stick-handling skills against Ellers and why on Earth would he want to do that? He’s also completely removing himself from the play if he doesn’t come up with the puck. It’s really just a dumb decision.

          If you think players skating up the ice with their heads down need to be protected from clean checks then you are off your rocker.

          As far as the contact to the head goes, the league has already made it perfectly clear that incidental contact to the head that results from a body check is fine. Unless you remove hitting from the game completely you really can’t do anything about incidental head contact.

          If you think the contact to the head was intentional and was the principle point of contact I encourage you to argue that position, because it’s the only way this ends up being a dirty hit. Otherwise you’re just advocating for removing hitting from the game and rewarding bad hockey players like Eller for skating with their head down.

        • Dale obviously Gryba knew exactly what he was doing. if you played any sports other than soccer or figure skating you know that a hard hit like that is called setting the tone or sending a message. The reason Gryba was brought up to play for this game was because we wanted a physical presence that he provided. Just so were clear this entire taking advantage of a “vulnerable player” is a joke . that is like saying oh the cops should shouldn’t stop that armed robber because hes vulnerable. Gryba had a job to do , defend the goal. Eller had a job to do, score a goal. The fact that Gryba waited so it wasn’t interference is a good thing because that’s an illegal hit. waiting until a player skating up the middle of the ice with his head down to touch the puck and then making a perfectly clean hit theres nothing wrong about that. Yeah eller got hurt that’s what happens when you dont play smart hockey. That was the best and most efficient option for Gryba to stop the play from developing. Lets look at it from a sport your used to watching, soccer. Should a defender not slide tackle the ball away from a striker because hes “vulnerable”? should the goalie not jump up and knock the ball away cause the striker looks “vulnerable” ? i didnt think so.

        • Perhaps he should have tickled him to death

    • Ok so while you are in the middle of an NHL game (for those clearly unaware, they are fast paced) you are worrying about whether the guy on the other team knows you are coming to hit him (Instead of focusing on not letting a world class talent make you look foolish if you miss)?
      And while playing said fast paced game you are expected to determine if this individual who has played the sport for 12-13 years minimum is puting themselves in a vulnerable position?
      Then, if during this split second determination, you think he may be oblivious to his surroundings like you would expect of someone who has played the game for 12-13 days, you at that point just don’t do your job as a defender?
      Seriously folks, if this hit is wrong in your eyes… stop watching hockey and stop trying to change the game. Softer ice is the only thing that could have saved Eller, the result is terrible but the act was a great hockey play.

      • Thank you. The refreshing thing about this whole situation is that there are three opinions being expressed. One, the hope that Eller is okay is universal. Two, that this was a great hockey play by Gyrba that lead to an unfortunate result. Three, that NHL playoff hockey should be more about hugging and being nice to each other. Fortunately the third one is in the vast minority.

        • I don’t see where anyone suggested hugging. Your need for hyperboles only weakens your argument.

      • Yes, it’s a face-paced game. Gryba was able to recognize that it was one of the few times he could safely pinch and hit Eller because Eller wasn’t looking, but Gryba had no idea Eller was in a vulnerable position because it’s a face-paced game so he times it perfectly to avoid interference and lays into Eller with all he’s got making contact with the body and the head, but we should accept this because it’s just a part of hockey and skating with your head down is a free pass for others to attempt to injure you and if we take this type of play out of hockey then we’ll have a bunch of players skating around with their head down so anyone who doesn’t like this play should watch soccer and and players who can’t accept that other’s on the ice are predators and are looking for an opportunity to strike should just go flip burgers for minimum wage. Ah, I see.

        • You’re great at incomprehensible run on sentences.

        • You’re 100% correct about the vulnerability thing Dale. I’m not going to argue with you on that. I don’t think anyone really can or they’re being dense Eller is in an incredibly vulnerable position and no matter how fast the game is you’re absolutely right that Gryba recognizes this (a la Scott Stevens) and decides to take advantage of it. I hope I didn’t come across earlier as disagreeing with this point because I do not, I am with you on this.

          Where we differ in opinion is whether or not it’s okay to hit a vulnerable player the way Gryba did. It’s very circumstantial but I think that we need to come to an understanding on the different ways a player can end up in a vulnerable position. The dept. of player safety has the responsibility of making this distinction.

          In today’s NHL, the general idea is as follows: A player who is in a vulnerable position because of their positioning is not fair game for a hit. This includes players who have their back turned because they are making a play for the puck along the boards, or for any other reason really (Rule 43). This also includes players who are otherwise defenseless for various reasons. Perhaps they are already falling from another hit, or are on their knees from being tripped. Regardless, the point is that they are in a vulnerable position because they are playing hockey and ended up that way. In this case, the onus is on the checking player to minimize the impact.

          The other kind of player who ends up in a vulnerable position is one who puts himself there. Most commonly we see this in players who turn their back into a hit. Eller, who skates with his head down is also in this category.

          If we start protecting players who put themselves in vulnerable positions then we’re going to see way more injuries as players will put themselves in those positions in order to draw penalties and that won’t help anyone.

    • So Dale,
      You have confirmed in all our minds that you are from Montreal, and know much more about strip clubs than hockey.
      We get it, and if you comment on a blog regarding strip clubs I will take you seriously, but for this hockey blog, I don’t respect what you are saying as it is not in the least bit realistic.
      Good Talk

      • I’m not from Montreal and I haven’t been to a stripclub in about 15 years. Does that make you an ass?

        • No we are pretty well still at the point where myself and several others are correct, and you are not.

  9. Well written, agree totally.

  10. “…there were definitely those that were sharing their thought that Eric Gryba should’ve recognized a vulnerable Lars Eller and let up. I’m not exactly sure what “let up” means, but assume it means something along the lines of “sidestep a player and let him start an odd-man rush.”

    well said JB

  11. He definitely has a right to hit, and hit hard, but may be to the shoulder instead of the head. He will have a hearing, we will see if he gets anything.

  12. Definitely the right play in theory. Not too crazy about him lining up a hit in front of his body into his jaw, instead of square into the body. Maybe Gryba just missed, though.

  13. Here’s a question: even if Eller has his head up, what the heck can he do?

    If Eller sees Gryba and doesn’t reach for the puck, best case scenario is that the pass goes through both of them and goes for icing – and Eller gets yelled at for being soft and for bailing out of a hit.

    It may be that Gryba, given his momentum, crushes Eller anyway regardless of whether Eller touches the puck – Gryba has clearly lined up the hit and is not playing the puck, Eller may be able to brace better knowing that the hit is coming… or it might end up like Stevens-Kariya, who knows.

    It may be that Eller backing away or changing his trajectory results in Gryba intercepting the pass, leading to a blue line turnover – Gryba’s got the inside line there.

    I don’t think this is a case of Eller being unaware, as much as Diaz putting Eller in an unwinnable position.

    • He can go low. Malkin does so frequently without being infracted and Shanahan’s been happy to look the other way when a guy about to get trucked breaks a rule defending himself, as long as the guy doesn’t go so low he’s shoulder to knee..

      • Goes low, doesn’t reach for puck, Gryba picks off the pass because he has the inside line.

        Goes low, gets crushed ala Hamhuis.

        Goes low, misses the puck, down the ice for icing.

        It’s great self-preservation now that we know the outcome of the actual play, so we can say “anything is better than…” but at the time, none of those outcomes are that attractive either.

        • All those outcomes are better than the risk of being out for six months.

          • But if we go by the narrative that it’s a legal hit gone freakishly wrong, there’s no way Eller can predict that he’d be out for 6 months.

    • Couldn’t Eller just deflect the puck into the Neutral Zone and then step around Gryba or at least minimize the impact? This puts the puck in the NZ with at least two Montreal forwards against one Ottawa defender (since Gryba has completely removed himself from the play). Maybe Gryba ends up still getting hit, but then it’s clearly interference and Montreal gets a 2-on-1 and a delayed penalty.

      I agree completely that we need to put a lot of blame on Diaz for making that pass, but I don’t think Eller is completely helpless if he looks up. All it takes is a little sidestep and the right positioning to really embarass Gryba.

      • I don’t think it would be a 2 on 1 since Galchenyuk is in the shot at the top of the page and I’m betting Gorges is on the opposite side, so we have three Habs below/equal to the hashmarks.

  14. “I’m not sure where the contact was, but obviously it wasn’t a clean play. It’s something you’ve got to take out (of the game),” winger Rene Bourque said.

    That is hilarious from the slashing/ high sticking queen of the NHL. (Flames fan)

    • It’s hilarious that you try to diminish Bourque’s comment by bringing up something completely irrelevant.

      It’s what children do.

      • Ya it’s the new and improved game of hockey Dale. Don’t throw clean hits use your stick and take out eyes and teeth (sarcasm).
        Seeing the comparison here little buddy? Is it relevant now?

  15. ‘Hawks fan. Also, played D through college. I agree entirely with the article and in my opinion, this is a textbook play by Gryba.

    It isn’t Gryba’s job to look out for the health and welfare of the opposing players, particularly when making the correct play. What if Gryba had “let up” and made a good pass leading to a MTL goal? Diaz has to have better vision before making what turned into a suicide pass.

    The result, however, was very unfortunate. But, no suspension should be issued.

  16. One thing Eller could have done was not turn directly up ice – if he begins to cuts parallel to the blue line as he receives the pass instead of directly up ice, the impact is far less.

    And I’m a habs fan.

  17. Wow. The Yahoo Tough Guys are out in full force on this one.

  18. He could have hit Lars Eller’s close shoulder or his far shoulder which naturally his chin on the way. He makes the big hit, to flatten the guy and knocks him out. Maybe a harsher result than what Gryba wanted it to be but he still did it and you have to take responsibility for your decision. He could have made just as good of a “hockey play” without targeting the far shoulder.

    You guys are idiots.

    • He stepped in front of the guy and stopped his forward progress, really hard and by the book.
      Don’t think at these speeds anyone is pinpointing the exact part of which shoulder or the chest to target (especially when he isn’t coming straight up ice), but since the head wasn’t targeted and you’ve said as much it’s a clean hit.

      I like the “You guys are idiots”… sounds like a great Email signature line. Might change mine from “Best regards”

      You guys are idiots,

      Geoff

  19. I understand the “part of the game” argument. Yes, hockey is hard hitting and that is in part why we all watch. The problem is it isn’t a video game. Guys are getting hurt long term. And this (hopefully) not being a barbaric society, we have decided it is not worth our entertainment to allow head shots to be “part of the game”. I mean people used to watch people fight to the death, which was “part of the game”. Doesn’t make it right.

    I think that 1) clearly there is a head shot here. Ellers was knocked unconcious before he hit the ice so there must be some impact to the head, even if it was incidental. 2) there was no intent to injure but intent to impose physically, close to the head and he ended up hitting the head. Also, this was the smartest play if all you are considering is stopping the puck as Justin outlines here (and not looking at protecting players). 3) under the new age NHL, Gryba must let up. Its a new game. Justin is saying the best play was to hit him and the alternatives were less than optimal. Well guess what, get used to that. Learn to contain without making that hit. That hit is no longer an option.

    Look at the NFL. Safeties/corners used to BLAST defenseless receivers up the middle. It was part of the game. Now it isn’t. Defenses have learned not to make that hit and do the next best thing possible. Has this hurt a defense’s ability? Of course. NFL passing is up like crazy. But you still can’t make that hit because it has been taken out of the game. NFL would no longer tolerate having its players get hurt for entertainment.

    Enough with the “its part of the game” arguments. Scott Stevens style head shots were part of the game too. Now they aren’t. Has the game suffered? I would say hockey is better now than in the Stevens era. Yes, at some point you have to allow injuries and physicality and yes, players will get hurt. We have to find that line. But I think hockey fans need to accept head shots are no longer part of the game. And that is ok. There will still be big hits, open ice and along the boards. The game will still be fast and exciting.

    • Please, for the love of god, watch the video and look at the frame by frame stills. There is no head shot. It’s incredibly clear.

      • Are you blind, or just an idiot. Or, perhaps both?

        • Let’s see the evidence Murray, you twit.

        • LOL @Murray — what an idiot. Where’s the head shot Murray? Take a screenshot of the exact moment the Sen makes head contact with the Hab…where is it??? TWIT

      • My evidence is circumstanial like I said. He was knocked unconcious before he hit the ice to clearly there was some contact with the head.

        • You are allowed to have contact with the head. As long as the head isn’t the principal point of contact (and I don’t think it was in this case), the hit doesn’t fall under rule 48.

          So, you can hit a person in the chest. If their head snaps forward and down and their chin hits your shoulder, it is a legal check.

          If you hit a person in the torso, chest and head, all at the same time (which I think is what happened here), the head is not the principal point of contact, and the check is legal.

    • And try watching a few NFL games, you can still blast guys across the middle and you see it every week. What you can’t do is target the head. Just like in the NHL.

    • +1, generally. People need to relax…change isnt always so bad.

      • Change to remove head shots has been pretty much universally accepted. This was not a headshot. This was a clean hockey hit that had a bad result. If you want to wrap the world in bubble wrap go ahead, but the rest of us are a bit more reasonable.

        • I don’t know how reasonable it is to accept players getting concussed for our entertainment.

          • Overall, the arguements for this being a dirty play which needs to be removed from the game by means of enforcing the “Gryba” of every situation seem to be very thin and not very rich with knowledge of, or experience playing, hockey.
            The most factual, intelligent arguements have been for this being a great hockey play with an unfortunate and very rare result, and many contain the words “when, I, played” in some variation. I include JB who wrote the original piece and has always been very aware and thoughtful towards protecting players, especially against headshots.
            It is very understandable that a physician, hockey mom, or someone comparing NHL hockey players to regular occupations would take a stance that hockey injuries should never happen and it must be the guys who hits the injured guys fault if they do.
            I would bet most NHL players who don’t play for Montreal would blame 1)Diaz 2)Eller and then 3) Gryba in that order… but more likely just say that it is in fact “part of the game”, and an unfortunate occurance that is extremely rare.
            (I am a Flames Fan so no bias here) Habs fans, you already recieved a 5 minute power play which you under no circumstances deserved and still lost the game. I understand you being upset over everything, but to say you would think Eller should be suspended if he hit Gryba in the same way would be a lie. Don’t jump on the side of ruining the best game on earth due to bias towards your team in an isolated circumstance.

    • Did you watch the linked video, particularly the last 20 seconds? In the NHL you are allowed to make contact to the head as long as it is not “targeted and the principal point of contact.” The TSN folks did a good job explaining how Ellar’s head was not the principal point of contact.

      Right now, that hit is legal. If you want to talk about whether we should have that hit in the game, that is fine. But, right now, that is a perfectly legal hit.

      • The fact that you have to go frame by frame to see if what is the first point of contact and the fact he appeared to be knocked out from the hit (and not the subsequent fall to the ice) tells me that 1) even if the head wasn’t the first point of contact the ensuing head shot was inevitable due to the speed of the players and their positions and 2) the head contact was not incidental. Just because I graze your hip then explode to the head shouldn’t be the determining factor.

        Anyway, I can see where people are arguing with this hit being legal. I don’t think it was intent to injure. But saying “it is part of the game” just irks me because we create the rules and decide what is in the game and what isn’t. Anything that can lead to this, other than a total accident, shouldn’t be in the game. I also realize we all want to be as close to the acceptable line and not cross it.

  20. And this is why J.B. is the best hockey writer out there. Justin, can you have a baby with Elliotte Friedman please, so it can grow up to be the Jesus Gandhi Buddha of hockey writing for the rest of my lifetime and the lifetime of my newborn son?

  21. Barely capable and under sized defenseman who was only a decent hockey player through high school because I usually made the right decisions on the ice. I have my share of concussions. I’ve been clocked skating the puck out of the zone with my head down, I’ve been hit skating down icing calls. Hits happen in hockey.I don’t blame Eller or Gryba. I’ve also had a few big hits in my day too. This is squarely on Diaz. It’s up to your teammates to communicate and put you in a safe and advantageous spot on the ice.

    Diaz had the option to skate the puck, go high off the boards, make a risky pass to his right wing or left wing (probably the highest risk-reward option as the left wing pass leads to a 3 on to 2 or is stolen by the backchecking forward) or pass to Eller. He chose poorly and Eller got lit up for it.

    I also don’t blame the refs as it’s a bang-bang play and it’s easy to over-react when you see a guy down and you see blood.

    Gryba shouldn’t be suspended for this.

  22. The answer is simple: Robot hockey. No one gets hurt.

  23. What I don’t understand is why no one is looking at the context around the hit?
    Think of it this way. You’re in Gryba’s shoes. Your team just had one of the shittiest power plays and let the home team tie up the game. After Subban’s monster hit on Neil, your squad seems to have lost their legs. And your a bottom line defence man, in your first ever Playoff game.

    You know your role, and you realize that there is a chance to make a big, open ice hit (within said role) to give your team some spark. So, you go for it.

    I’m a basketball player, and even I get what he was thinking. It’s the same in any sport, for a young guy in a play off game to want to swing momentum and re-inspire his team. The worst case scenario happened, something that would only happen .0008% of the time. The blow (to the head or the chest) stunned Eller enough that he wasn’t able to block his face hitting the ice.

    It’s sad. I hope he heals quickly. But to blame Gryba for a hit like this, hell, to blame anyone totally (Eller for his head down, Diaz for the suicide pass) is a mistake. The entire circumstance was a rare occurrence. Let’s leave it be and move on to tonight’s game, which should be, in a word, EPIC.

  24. Looks like a hit Matt Cooke would make, has made and is considered a “dirty” player for making. Stop the double standards!!

  25. Agree with this article 100%. I wish everyone would realize that you can hurt people with clean ,legal hits, in both hockey and football. It’s a contact sport.

    Also I wish the NHL would start penalizing intent not result..

  26. If you feel that was Gryba’s only alternative and the hit, “in today’s NHL” and under the “present” rules was legitimate then you are something akin to a moron. Blindside hits are not allowed. Hits on unsuspecting at their merct hits also no longer allowed. hits to the head. Not allowed. Oh. and fo rthose who say he wasn’t hit in the head, how might I ask was he knocked out prior to planting his face into the ice. Ridiculous. The stupidty never ends.

    • You’re right, stupidity never ends….the proof is your little 200 word ignorant assessment of what happened, and how you interpret NHL rules. A) If the principle point of contact is not the head, then it is not a headshot. Upon watching the replay with your eyes open (try it this time) you can see that contact is mostly in the lower-body/hip region and only towards the end is there contact higher up. B) When a player has touched the puck, he loses his ‘vulnerable’ status and is responsible for his own safety. According to NHL standards, the player is then to expect being hit regardless of where he is on the ice, and should make his decisions accordingly. Replay also shows that Eller has touched the puck by that point. C) None of us can tell if he was knocked out before hitting the ice, but the major blow definitely came once he hit his face on the ice. I don’t see any blood on Gryba’s jersey, which would indicate that the injury came from the hit, do you? So next time before calling other people morons or idiots, make a little research and speak with your head instead of your heart. I agree that player safety is important, but instead of blaming players doing their job, like indicated in the article, blame the NHL for not having come up with softer, more hit-friendly (gel) equipment that doesn’t amplify collisions.

      • It was a head shot. 2 games. Try watching with YOUR eyes open this time.

        • To @Raidershine & @Murray — I agree with Lou on this one. You guys are idiots.

          I just watched the clip again from 10 different angles, where’s the headshot Raidershine?

          Just cause you want there to be one doesn’t mean there is.

          And Murray…sounds like you pulled half those rules out of your ass..again, just cause you make a statement doesn’t mean it holds any weight. For example, the word “Blindside” or “Blind side” isn’t used — where’d you get that one from Murray? What’s the actual rule you’re referring too say? I bet it’s not as black and white as you’d like it to be.

          Well put Lou – these guys are idiots…probably Habs and Leafs fans.

          Here’s the rule book for you:

          http://www.nhl.com/nhl/en/v3/ext/pdfs/2012-13_RuleBook.pdf

  27. In PTTs defense: the current rules of hockey allow for actions with a high probability of permanent injury (especially at NHL size and speed). That’s dysfunctional. The reason a game has rules in the first place is to a) ensure fairness and b) provide for the safety of players.
    Watching/encouraging other people to risk their neck for money is big business, be it NHL, Big Air or UFC. That doesn’t make it right.
    Would I take the risk if I had even half of the world-class reflexes and hockey sense of a guy like Eller? Would any of us internet all stars? Maybe. But I bet we’d be hella less cavalier about it being “part of the game”.

  28. Clean hit…Period.

    If Crabs players don’t like it they can play lawn bowling. Crabs shouldn’t complain anyways…Subban was taking runs at vulnerable Sens all game long…payback is a bitch.

  29. Who is saying that Gryba shouldn’t make that hit? Nobody. Hit legally lol. He coulda sent a message and knocked him straight on his ass with a shoulder to shoulder LEGAL hit. He didn’t. He chose to target the head and eliminate a superior player. That was his strategy, that is how is played out and now he can serve his 2 games. In the long run the dirty play pays off b/c Eller will likely be out longer then 2 games. Unfortunate but true.

    • Did not target head, Eller would be dead if so. Media, soccer moms and ignorant part time hockey fans will ruin this game in our life time.

      • You are uneducated, blind and bias. 2 games for you.

      • How does a pro athlete fall to the ice face first, unconscious,without contact to the head? Smarten up.

        • Was he knocked out? Or just a sack of hurt from getting smashed in the hip and shoulder and/ or chest? Did you ask Eller? Ever been hit hard in the torso anywhere, had the wind knocked out of you? You aren’t doing much besides thinking “fuck that hurt” and the fast approaching ice isn’t really on your radar. All the facial damage everyone is using to make this clean hit seem like the kind we are trying to remove from the game comes from the ice.
          And most importantly, no bias at all… was cheering for the habs until I have seen how unreasonable and soft skinned the fan base is. Now i’m buying a Gryba jersey, he rules, love his body checks. Have to enjoy big hits before they are removed from the game, I guess players can just stare at the ice when they have the puck until it’s time to shoot or pass and no one can hit them.

        • Also really hope you aren’t actually a Raiders fan. I am a huge one, from this I’ve learned relying on the officials and league to save you is not a solid option. It is admittedly working for the Montreal Canadians in the last 24 hours.

          • Ummm This may seem like a strange question at this point in time, however it must be asked. Have you actually seen the play? Seriously. Did you watch the hit? Did you see Eller put his hands out to protect his face? Even in a moment of intense pain, surely you put your hands in the way of your face smacking the ice. Clearly he was out. You should buy that jersey. I’m sure you’ll be even more popular every where you go LOL Go Raiders. Go Education.

          • I’d buy him a beer if I saw him wearing it. Then we could laugh at how ridiculously your brain processes visual data, and how you can make these statements that are nothing but assumptions. You’re basically implying that you know how he was feeling and what was going through his nervous system at the moment of impact. You’ve assumed that he was knocked out at moment of impact with Gryba. Your proof being that he would have had the presence of mind to protect his face. You also seem to think that the speed of the game is a lot slower than it actually is. As someone who has been hit open ice more times than I’d like to remember, I can assure you that the amount of time you have to do anything before you’re on your ass (or face) is next to nothing. Now, throw in not knowing you’re about to get hit and its basically obliterating your ability to process what’s going on before its too late.

            It was a clean hit. Stop crying Crabs fans!

    • Wow…speaking of someone being blind. If you think he actually targeted the guy’s head then you’re clearly just a pissed off Crabs fan….game time soon, we’ll see how this plays out. Ellen is more of a loss than Gryba on his best day so I won’t notice him missing from the line-up

  30. Eller’s head was the first part of his body to snap back, and he was unconscious before he hit the ice. Undoubtedly that’s not what Gryba was trying to do, but that’s what happened, and he should be suspended for it.

    High sticking someone is a penalty regardless of what you were trying to do with your stick, so why are hits to the head viewed/treated differently?

    • When you are in a car accident what snaps back? Your back, your chest, your shoulders or…….. maybe your head. The only part of your body capable of “snapping back”. Every person who thinks this is a dirty head shot has said some ridiculous ass stuff and it’s time to wake up and go play badminton. When playing badminton be careful not to run into the net with your head down causing your head to “snap back” and knock yourself silly causing your head to hit the badminton court. Two games suspension for the net?

      • His head ‘snapped back’ because a large man, with very hard plastic drove a shoulder into his chin. Maybe you should ‘snap’ out of it and wake the f up kiddo

        • Ok so his shoulders, chest or any other part of his body could have snapped back?
          Are you a Habs fan? Have you ever played hockey?
          I have watched this replay countless times, and began commenting on this blog several hours ago, long before the BS suspension ruling and all the little Crabs creatins (ok so basically just you) had come pouring out of the cracks with 20/20 hindsight. Each time the focal point of contact is not the head, NHL felt obligated to suspend due to people like yourself seeing blood and panicking with panties in a bunch. Plenty of “educated” people who also know hockey (that is big part of not sounding stupid on a hockey blog) have been of the same opinion, you just chose to come in at the end and attempt to sound intellegent. give the whole comment section a read and understand I’m not the only one trying to stop hockey frm being ruined by this kind of crap. It was a good play and an unfortunate result. Sens in 5 games, save the rest of your PMS for elimination day bud, kiddo, sport, champ, guy, friend, dude.

          • You guys say you have watched the hit? Where do you see head contact before his face hits the ice? I’ve seen the replay about 10 times including the 3 minute tsn explanation video. Its clear the initial contact of the hit is made with the hip and he explodes out with his body. Anybody who has ever open ice hit somebody who is that dumb to put themselves into that bad of a situation knows, that was as clean as that hit could have been. Younger forwards / defencemen need to be continually taught how to hit, how to be hit. Even our young children are forced to take hitting clinics and are taught this. It’s clear something needs to change with the terrible hits, but it shouldn’t be through changing the game for the worse. I believe yearly hitting education should be mandatory in NHL to prevent these incidents. An educated player is a safe player, who isn’t skating over the blue line taking a pass with his head down.

          • Your simply a clown. A disappointment to your parents and an embarrassment to yourself. There’s an old saying, never argue with an idiot. I obviously made this mistake. Learn the sport. Watch the replay (maybe it takes you 10 times, before it sinks in) and then tell yourself there’s absolutely no contact with Eller’s head. Then ask yourself if you are a man with integrity. I feel sorry for your family.

          • Your simply a clown. A disappointment to your parents and an embarrassment to yourself. There’s an old saying, never argue with an idiot. I obviously made this mistake. Learn the sport. Watch the replay (maybe it takes you 10 times, before it sinks in) and then tell yourself there’s absolutely no contact with Eller’s head. Then ask yourself if you are a man with integrity. I feel sorry for your family.

            My mistake this was originally posted under the wrong reply. 2 birds, 1 stone.

    • I can almost hear the french accent from here. I must of really hurt your feelings to suggest your precious habs made an awful play that resulted in a brutal hit. Considering you had to result to shaming attempts. I’m sorry I do not share your viewpoint, and never will. Solid hit on somebody who put himself into that situation with poor hockey sense. Like I said, children know not to cross the blue line carrying the puck (or even accepting a pass) with your head down. So next post try to maybe express a point of view, not a hatred for mine.

      • Not sure why you jumped into the middle of a conversation, but my viewpoint was intended for the howdy dodee character. As a fan of hockey and former player and assistant coach. We teach our kids not to hit hard if they can see the numbers on their opponents back and to not hit heads. For the safety of the kids in your rink, I hope you teach the same.
        With regards to a french accent, what does it matter to you? Why is it a language issue? Are you threatened by a french accent? Offended? Jealous? LOL Maybe my message was intended for you after all.

  31. That statement that the Eller hit was a great play is the stupidest comment I have heard on a hockey blog. I hope that whoever wrote that never gets to write again for the Score or I will delete this app. What type of assholes write this crap.

  32. I think characterizing this as a “great” hockey play is a massive error in judgment by a writer I normally agree with…

  33. He hit Lars in the head, not the body. That’s against the rules.

  34. I played till modget AA, so I know a bit about contact hockey, more then 90% of people I’m guessing, if he hip-flips him, it’s still makes the highlight reels, he goes for the left shoulder or rib area Eller is also toast; but he stands up into the hit…if you played then no further explanation is needed….

    habs fans were pissed because the last time we were also told it was a “hockey play gone bad”….

  35. awesome fucken hit

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