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Blog Entry

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
 

By Brian Stubits

Brendan Shanahan's verdict is in for Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and his clipping on Vancouver's Sami Salo: It's going to cost him five games.

Here is the very interesting explanation from Shanahan on the ruling.

On Sunday, Marchand said that he was defending himself on the play, echoing the comments of his coach Claude Julien. Citing that he's a short player, he was trying to avoid what he thought was a hit coming from Salo. In a few videos this season, Shanahan has explained that he believed the player's assertions on their intentions. Obviously that's not the case here.

Shanahan called the hit "predatory," nothing that they believed he had no intention on the play but to hurt Salo with the hit. That mission was accomplished, by the way. Salo was diagnosed with a concussion after the game.

"While we understand that in certain circumstances, a player may duck or bail instinctively in order to avoid an imminent or dangerous check, we do not view this play as defensive or instinctive," Shanahan explained. "Rather, we feel this was a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over him.

"Further, Salo is not coming at Marchand with great speed, nor in a threatening posture. He does nothing to indicate that Marchand is about to be hit illegally or with excessive force. To be clear, we do not consider this to be a defensive act where there were no other options for Marchand."

It's a very detailed explanation, even including the 20 or seconds before the hit where the two collided on the boards in a much less vicious manner. Marchand then threw a couple of jabs at Salo's back, something that Shanahan took note of.

A short while later, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli released a statement expressing the team's frustration with the ruling.

"While we respect the process that the Department of Player Safety took to reach their decision regarding Brad’s hit on Sami Salo, we are very disappointed by their ruling.

"While we understand that the Department of Safety is an evolving entity, it is frustrating that there are clear comparable situations that have not been penalized or sanctioned in the past.

"It is equally disappointing that Brad sought the counsel of the Department this past Fall for an explanation and clarification regarding this type of scenario so as to adjust his game if necessary. He was advised that such an incident was not sanctionable if he was protecting his own safety.  Given our feeling that Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep, today’s ruling is not consistent with what the Department of Player Safety communicated to Brad."

Remember, too, that Marchand has a history of disciplinary action. He was suspended last season and was fined earlier this season for a slew-foot.

This puts a wrap on really a weekend full of Canucks-Bruins. The animosity between these two teams is astonishing.

UPDATE: Marchand is apparently doing a season-long diary with ESPN Boston. Here is his most recent entry that he posted late on Monday night after the suspension. Among the highlights is Marchand insinuating Vigneault has a lack of class and denying he plays to hurt people.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:15 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

I get what you're saying and I agree. The only thing I would take issue with is to say I'm not quite suggesting they treat these cheap shots like something that happened off the ice outside of hockey. I mentioned the real world just for context, not to suggest that cheap shots in the NHL be treated the same as similar offenses off the ice. In the real world, those cheap shots would land someone in prison for assault and battery. I wouldn't advocate putting these guys on trial in a court of law for what happens in a hockey game (though, I'd make exceptions for the extremely egregious things that are beyond any realm of acceptability, whether in general or in the context of hockey....Marty McSorley comes to mind). However, I really don't have a problem if they start banning guys for repeated cheap shots, particularly those ones that result in longterm or permanent injury. That may seem harsh, but it's really not because, off the ice in the real world, losing our jobs would just be the beginning of the consequences if we were brought up on A&B charges. So, banning them from the NHL, when put in context, is actually not that harsh IMO.

Hockey obviously is an inherently violent sport and, while there is an extremely thin line between what's okay and what's not, these guys are professionals who have been playing a long time and should have figured out by now where that line is and how not to cross it. For the guys who repeatedly demonstrate they can't toe that line and continue to injure people longterm with cheap shots, maybe they just don't belong on the ice and I'm okay with that regardless of how skilled they may be. And I'm guessing the first time a guy gets banned would wake a lot of other guys up.

As for your boys, I wish you luck, but I'm guessing you don't need it. It can be a scary and confusing world with all the mixed messages out there, but your boys are blessed with a father who, while he may have faults like anyone else does, his heart seems to be in the right place. Based on what I see on the bus everyday to and from work, that's not as common as it should be.

Finally, thank you. I've really enjoyed our conversation!



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:03 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, I don't know if this says something bad about me, but I make a huge distinction between fighting a guy face to face and cheap shotting a guy. I don't like fighting in general, but it bothers me less in a hockey game.......I know it's hypocritical to an extent and I guess I'm lucky in that I have the luxury of not having any kids to raise and have to struggle with what I teach them versus how I feel about hockey fights, but what can I say? lol

Don't get me wrong man, I agree 100 percent.  There is a massive difference between fighting a guy face to face and a cheap shot, no doubt about it.  All I'm really saying is a couple things.  One, we can't really say a person that does something stupid and ends a career on the ice should be treated like somebody off the ice or on the street because the NHL as a league is ok with some violence. When you allow fighting and other acts that could be considered violent to not only occur but just call it part of the game you'll occasionally watch a player lose his mind for a split second and do something stupid.  The only other thing I was getting across is the league can't allow cheap shots to occur daily and pretty well do nothing, yet suddenly suspend somebody for a year just because somebody got really hurt this time.  It sends a mixed message.... I don't like it.

I have 2 boys, and it's pretty tough raising kids these days for a lot of reasons.  The hockey part is easy, you tell them it's a game with its own rules and regulations.  What happens on the ice really has nothing to do with what happens or what's accepted by society or what's right or wrong off the ice.  The tough part is a lot of other things out there......  As adults we all do some stupid things.  Some of us smoke, some of us gamble, some like their dope, some like to drink, some like to do it all. LOL .....  I smoke cigarettes and make the odd bet, the trick is to convince them to only follow in your footsteps when you're doing the right thing... not the wrong thing..

That part is tricky... lol 



Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:46 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, I don't know if this says something bad about me, but I make a huge distinction between fighting a guy face to face and cheap shotting a guy. I don't like fighting in general, but it bothers me less in a hockey game.......I know it's hypocritical to an extent and I guess I'm lucky in that I have the luxury of not having any kids to raise and have to struggle with what I teach them versus how I feel about hockey fights, but what can I say? lol

As for what you've said about Marchand, it pains me to say it because I love his game, but I can't really disagree with you about the extraneous stuff. Hopefully, the fact that he's getting these suspensions early in his career, whereas Cooke often didn't even get penalties for some of his most egregious acts, will get him on the right track and he won't be continuing to follow in those footsteps.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:07 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

I know freak stuff can happen where the same exact cheap shot that resulted in no injury in one instance, can be very different the next. To that I would say, "Oh well, they should have thought about that in the first place." If they get unlucky and unintended consequences occur......well, they shouldn't have put themselves in that situation to begin with.

Here's the thing, I think the only way you can for example punish a guy like Bertuzzi for what he did long term is if you bang fighting altogether.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want the NHL to ban fighting but remember what we're talking about here.  This is a league that's basically telling a player:

"Force a guy into a fight if you want and during the fight if you get an opening, punch his head in as many times as you can before the refs break it up.  If it results in the other player being brain dead or if you accidentally punch his temple in and he actually never breaths again,  it is what it is. You'll get an instigator penalty at most and that'll be the end of it.   BUT.... if you lose your temper for one second and punch him from behind, then that's where we draw the line.  We'll suspend you for life for doing that.... even help the police charge you off ice. But a face to face battle?  We're cool with that and don't really care if the guy you beat up ever plays again"

I know I was pretty extreme there but seriously, it's kinda weird if you ask me. LOL.   You're right that in the real world you don't get to commit a capital crime or most of the time any crime at all and tell the judge, oops, my bad, it's my first time.  But the difference is in the real world it's made very clear you aren't allowed to ever be physical with anybody so there is no second chance.  

Cracks me up when people on these boards were saying Harrison on the Steelers should be out of the league for hurting players and that you can't get away with intentionally hurting somebody on the street.  True enough, but try running up to somebody and tackling him on the street or clotheslining somebody and see what happens.  Two different worlds. 

My biggest problem in the NHL is what you said, guys like Cooke that think every year they can just destroy at least one player with a hit from behind or an intentional elbow to the head.  Marchand in my opinion is slowly approaching Matt Cooke status, and when you consider how young he still is he's definitely making ground.. catching up quickly.    Those are the types of players I don't like... funny thing is I actually like both of them as PLAYERS... I think both are awesome at what they do and if not for the stupid stuff I'd take both on my team any day.  But the hits from behind and elbows drive me nuts....

 



Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:45 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, true.....all true. I guess the way I see it is, it doesn't matter if it's a star player and if the NHL can only maintain whetever popularity it has by continuing to allow guys who have a history of cheap shots to play, then maybe it the NHL doesn't deserve to be popular.

That said, you bring up a good point with Bertuzzi.....stuff happens in the heat of the moment and guys do stupid things sometimes. I don't think he should be banned, but if he did something like it again, I wouldn't have a problem with him being banned then. Same goes for any other player, star or not. I'd rather lose one star to protect the rest of the league and all the other stars from one person's repeated stupidity. Then again, people don't get off for a capital crime just because it's the only time they've ever committed a capital crime. Ending a guy's career with a cheap shot is the hockey equivalent of a capital crime IMO, so I'm torn.......

Maybe added punishment for the consequences of a cheap shot could be limited to the real severe cases where a guy misses a full season or more. As you've mentioned, holding a guy out for a few games just to add time to another team's player's suspension is a real possibility, but I can't imagine too many players would allow their team to sit them for a full season if they were able to play no matter how much it might help the team. It seems like that would eliminate most of the potential corruption you are reasonably concerned about while also addressing the real egregious instances.

I know freak stuff can happen where the same exact cheap shot that resulted in no injury in one instance, can be very different the next. To that I would say, "Oh well, they should have thought about that in the first place." If they get unlucky and unintended consequences occur......well, they shouldn't have put themselves in that situation to begin with.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:34 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, nice post, all very good points. To be honest, I get what you're saying about faking or embellishing injuries and I honestly don't have an answer. However, it burns me when one of a team's star players is out for an extended period of time after a cheap shot, while the cheap shot artist is back out on the ice in 5-10 games in most instances. Guy's 's have been ended while the guy who ended someone else's career gets to continue to play and, in many cases, continue to deliver cheapshots.

You're right though, it would be almost impossible to implement a policy like that without having corruption involved. Still, it really ticks me off. Particularly with a guy like Matt Cooke, who not only is still playing, but he is receiving huge amounts of praise recently for behaving himself this year. I don't really see anything that special in a guy like Cooke finally behaving the way he should have behaved from the beginning.

Bizona, there really isn't an easy solution to this problem, if there's even an answer at all.  I agree with what you said about Matt Cooke though, that's for sure.  Yeah, he stayed clean this year so far but that guy was out to hurt people for so long I don't know how he's allowed to still play hockey.  That being said, he's also a good hockey player so when he doesn't try and hurt people he has a purpose.

Look at that Moore incident when Bertuzzi punched him from behind.  Moore's career is over, yet it's the only blemish Bertuzzi has in a very long NHL career.  So what do you do there? Believe me, I'm a Wings fan but I don't care if the Wings cut Bertuzzi tomorrow so nothing anybody says will offend me nor am I defending him just because he's on the Wings now.  That being said, I've seen dozens of NHL players over the last 30 years blindside somebody with a punch to the back or side of the head or a stick to the head and everything else you can imagine.  Freaky things happen, but those things don't usually end careers.

So I don't know.... it's a tough one.  And we haven't even gotten to other discussions we could have.  Like what happens if a Sydney Crosby or a Malkin or a Datsyuk does something stupid once?  Do we ban a superstar that puts asses in arenas everywhere from the game?  What does that do to the NHL if that happens?  It's already the least popular league out there.....  I doubt that would help. But you couldn't just ban the Matt Cooke's or Bertuzzi for what he did.... You'd have to ban the Ovechkins and Crosbys and Datsyuks as well...

Tough one... 



Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:08 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, nice post, all very good points. To be honest, I get what you're saying about faking or embellishing injuries and I honestly don't have an answer. However, it burns me when one of a team's star players is out for an extended period of time after a cheap shot, while the cheap shot artist is back out on the ice in 5-10 games in most instances. Guy's career's have been ended while the guy who ended someone else's career gets to continue to play and, in many cases, continue to deliver cheapshots.

You're right though, it would be almost impossible to implement a policy like that without having corruption involved. Still, it really ticks me off. Particularly with a guy like Matt Cooke, who not only is still playing, but he is receiving huge amounts of praise recently for behaving himself this year. I don't really see anything that special in a guy like Cooke finally behaving the way he should have behaved from the beginning.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:11 pm
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

That's not right and intent certainly needs to be the biggest influence on how long a player gets suspended. That said, I do think there's some room to consider whether there was an injury and how severe. There should be a baseline for what the punishment is, then added punishment can then be considered for what the end result of the cheap shot was. Kind of the same concept as being brought up on assault with the intent to murder charges versus murder charges.

Bizona. I'm not sure but maybe you and I did talk about this before.  That being said although I respect your opinion, I will also respectfully disagree with what you're suggesting because I simply don't believe it would work or be good for the game.   I think a hit from behind into the boards is a hit from behind into the boards.  A guy sticking his knee out that goes knee on knee on somebody is easily enough noticed.  A crosscheck to the head is a crosscheck to the head.   I can barely handle how "intent" plays a part in the NHL's thinking because most of the time it's impossible to prove intent.  

In my opinion the NHL should punish the act itself, end of story.  Hit somebody from behind face first into the boards, get suspended. The first time you do it you get x games.  The second time double the suspension and the third time quadruple it or suspend the guy for a calendar year.  Same thing for other crazy things players do... hold them accountable for their actions.  It seems to be the same players sticking their knees out when a guy gets around them, they say it was "instinct" and they don't mean to hurt anybody but I couldn't care less.  Stick your knee out and go knee to knee on somebody, suspension. That's it. Do it again, double it,, and so on.

Yzerman played 20 games in the NHL and didn't go knee to knee or crosscheck anybody from behind into the boards.   Lidstrom has played that long as well and won multiple Norris trophies without doing these things.  I use Detroit players as examples because as a fan I know them best, but you know what I'm getting at.  In my opinion a player always knows what he's doing.....

The problem I have with suspending players for more games if the opposing player is badly hurt is it will allow for corruption we've never seen before in the NHL.   If I'm a player in the eastern conference and a star from a contending team hurts me, what's to stop me from making my injury appear to be more serious then it is?  With concussions you can't prove a player is lying.....  what happens if an opposing player gets crosschecked from behind by Lucic on Boston or Malkin on the Pens or Giroux on Phili?  Maybe the hurt player is kept out so a rival's superstar sits longer?

Too confusing... I'd like it to be simple.  Screw up, get suspended.  Do it again, burn for more.  Do it a 3rd time, lose a year. 



Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:37 am
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

redwings, I think we may have had this conversation before, but I'm not sure if it was with you, so.....

I agree with you that the NHL can't base their punishments on the result of a bad play. In other words, you can't base the severity of the punishment on how bad an injury is or isn't because, as you say, two guys may commit the same cheap shot, but one gets lucky because the guy they went after doesn't get injured. That's not right and intent certainly needs to be the biggest influence on how long a player gets suspended. That said, I do think there's some room to consider whether there was an injury and how severe. There should be a baseline for what the punishment is, then added punishment can then be considered for what the end result of the cheap shot was. Kind of the same concept as being brought up on assault with the intent to murder charges versus murder charges.

I definitely think both intent and consequences should be taken into account. I don't think anyone is suggesting that a cheap shot shouldn't be punished if no one gets injured.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:26 am
 

Brad Marchand suspended five games for clipping

I think the suspension was a bit excessive. That wasn't a dirty-I'm-gonna-hurt-this-guy hit. It was a low move, but it wasn't done with any obvious malintentions in my opinion. 2 games should have been plenty. I'm sure he only got it because the guy got hurt.


I think there was 2 reasons he got 5 games.  One, he's a repeat offender developing a terrible reputation around the league and in the league offices.  And two, I have to admit unfortunately you're right about the getting hurt part.  I don't understand the NHL basing a ruling on how hurt somebody is, that's ridiculous to me.  So what the league is saying is you can smash a guy face first into the boards but if he plays 30 minutes later it's not so bad, but if you break somebody's neck it's a longer suspension?  Not right... intent is intent. Either the league wants to get rid of the crap or they don't.....  if the NHL can't handle this or do it right, then stop trying and make changes.  Put the center ice line back in play, let goalies play the puck again, stop calling every little hooking and little touch calls and slow the game down.  Then get rid of the instigator penalty and some of these things might go away or at the very least improve.


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