jersey tuck

I saw the above while watching the Oilers/Rangers last night. It’s going to be a bizarre year in the NHL if linesman are pulling guys’ jerseys out of their pants to help them avoid penalties.

You’d think having your fight strap done up would be all you’d need to show that you’re not trying to have a tucked-in jersey, but no-no. Not good enough, you crazy kids.

***

With the official rulings on fines and suspensions finally coming down from the league, hopefully we’re able to put the Sabres/Leafs brawl behind us. It feels like this has been going on for weeks.

Welp, once more unto the breach, dear friends – here’s what the League decided:

Sabres coach Ron Rolston is getting fined for “player selection”

Basically the league means that Ron Rolston is getting fined for leaving John Scott on the ice after the Jamie Devane/Corey Tropp fight (that saw the latter, smaller combatant knocked out), because the league believes Rolston used Scott as a nuclear option to make up for what they deemed to be an unnecessary fight.

I’m fully on board with this, because as I wrote on Twitter yesterday, Rolston is the guy who handpacked the snowball and rolled it down the hill. A consensual fight took place, someone lost, that should’ve been it.

Yes, John Scott was on the ice prior to this all happening, but it’s pretty clear that at the whistle there was some directive (or at least implication) about what Scott’s job was to be. And if you’re the guy who pushes the button to launch the missile, it makes sense that you should be punished when things get messy, not the missile.

It’s not a “dangerous precedent” as some people are claiming. It’s not playing one-dimensional goons whose job is to fight that’s the problem. It’s situational, and Brendan Shanahan and people at the league who’ve been on benches when you get the tap, or the look, or the whatever from coach know how non-optional what comes next is. In this case, a piddly fine isn’t going to sink anyone, but hopefully it sends the message that when things go wrong, exacerbating the problem by throwing gas (or goons) on the fire isn’t okay. It’s not like they suspended Rolston.

And speaking of precedent: my Dad was fined for the same thing in the IHL about two decades ago (I believe when playing a Randy Carlyle coached team), and he knew it was justified. He was trying to get his team to start trouble. So, here’s your fine, fair enough, moving on.

***

Phil Kessel is suspended for the remainder of pre-season (three games)

I wrote this as a quick reaction for theScore yesterday, so apologies if you’ve already read it:

Phil Kessel received a three game pre-season suspension, which carries with it the weight of a third-grader being sentenced to eating cupcakes for punching his bully. Be that as it may, the punishment is still entirely fair because it makes him an “offender,” which means he’s now at risk of being a “repeat offender,” which means that the next time he crosses the long arm of the NHL law, he could find himself in some real, actual trouble. Best-case scenario: maybe he’ll think twice next time he envisions someone’s ankle as a Titleist.

Kessel’s pre-season stick-work has been the stuff legends are made of (he really needs to put Colton Orr on a leash for Halloween, call him his Big Blue Ox, and chuck on some overalls), which is neither meant as a compliment to the Leafs’ star nor an insult. Truly, they’ve just been remarkable. And for as violent as they’ve appeared, credit to him for landing them places (pants, back of legs) that send the “quit annoying me” message without risking too much damage to his opponents.

It’s no secret that established players have next to no use for pre-season hockey games, and since teams use the contests to evaluate and develop their youth, it’s unlikely that Kessel or the Leafs miss each other much over the next week. But he is on a watch list of sorts now, which seems to me a pretty just punishment for the second whack he took big John Scott’s legs.

Here’s the suspension video, for those who haven’t seen it:

BTW, Clarkson isn’t appealing his suspension for leaving the bench to join the scrum.

Enough on the Leafs/Sabres already, I know.

***

Get those kevlar socks, y’all

Flames enforcer Brian McGrattan tweeted this out yesterday, and given how many serious cuts we’re seeing over the last couple years, I thought I’d share it:

***

Cory Schneider’s off to a decent start

In last night’s game against the Flyers Kimmo Timonen scored with 91 seconds left to break Schneider’s pre-season shutout streak of 158:29. Martin Brodeur has already been named the opening night starter (despite clearly not being the better goaltender, but whatever), but it shouldn’t take long for Schneider to take over.

What did the Devils’ new tendy have to say about his streak? He really doesn’t care.

“We were kind of joking that maybe it’s good to get it out of the way so you don’t have to carry it into the season and think about it. It doesn’t really count. Come the start of the year no one is going to care what happened. They’re going to care going forward.”

Man, what a bummer situation for him. “You’ve been amazing like always! But yeah, you’re still not the starter.

***

Nifty mitts

James Van Riemsdyk (dammit I said enough Leafs, Bourne) scored a pretty slick goal last night, taking a pass below the goal line, pivoting out to the front of the net, and tucking it under the bar. I swear he did this last year too, I just can’t remember when.

***

News and notes:

* The players are going to vote on hybrid icing Monday. I mentioned it yesterday, but I like it, I just think the ice should be better marked for the sake of fan understanding. Here’s a thorough look at it with some player opinion – reviews are mixed, to say the least.

* Sam Gagner’s jaw recovery time is pegged at two months. As someone who’s badly broken their jaw playing hockey before, I gotta say, I was not comfortable returning that soon, even though I was given permission to play. “I can’t bite this apple without feeling like my jaw’s going to give like a dry twig, but sure, put that jaw thing that limits my vision on my helmet and chuck me into a hockey game.” You could’ve got me on the ice, but it would certainly not have been the best me.

* The Devils signed Damien Brunner to a two-year deal worth five million. For a team (that I think is) sorely lacking offensive depth, this was almost mandatory. That should be a steal of a contract for them.

* The Center Ice Package is going to run you about $159 dollars and change this year. It really is so, so worth it. It’s like $20 on your cable bill over the next eight months. If you can swing it, you won’t regret it.