Enough is Enough!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The New York Rangers have a few days to rest up after a not so successful Western Conference swing through Canada (1-2-0). The final game of the road trip proved much more damaging than Rangers fans could have imagined. News that Brandon Dubinsky will be out for around 6 weeks with an apparent broken bone in his right hand surfaced after the game. The injury was sustained after blocking a shot in the game against Calgary. Chris Drury was also KO’d in the same game by a hit from Curtis Glencross (Who has recently been suspended 3 games) early on in the contest. Drury has not yet been ruled out for this upcoming Thursday’s contest- there is word that he may be able to give it a go. Here is the perfect point where I might as well vent about how I feel about the state of the Rangers…


It’s time for the players to understand that this is a team and these are your teammates that are getting hit! The Drury situation really bothers me. The hit by Glencross was cheap and nasty- period. The hit was very early in the game and there was about 59 minutes or so of hockey left to be played. Yet, there was no response by the Rangers as a team. Sorry, but Glencross needed to be dealt with sometime before the game ended. The Rangers find themselves being the target of most of the big hits, rather than being the ones that are dishing them out. It’s time for a pack mentality to set in for the Rangers and they have to stick up for one another. If not, this kind of thing will happen again and again.

Now, on to the other part of the problem: The NHL’s rules. The NHL thought it would be neat to take away obstruction-type plays and place the instigator penalty for those who felt like taking the law into their own hands. I wonder if the NHL has taken a hard look at how common it has become for hits from behind and head shots since they tried to “clean up” the game. More and more players are getting plastered all over the ice and I think I have a few thoughts that might make them re-think a few of their cherished revisions.

First off, obstruction. What a joke that has been. It hasn’t opened up the game or given the NHL that huge explosion of offense that it was supposed to create. What it has done has gotten the players in trouble with hits from behind at high speeds. In my day, we would shield a player just enough so that kind of play rarely happened. I’m not saying reach and extend your stick to obstruct, what I’m saying is to let the players slow down an opposing player who is coming at a high speed and chasing a defenseman/forward for the puck. I don’t recall as many hits from behind in the “good old days” as there are in today’s NHL.

As for the headhunting that is surfacing, that has a lot to do with the lack of respect that the players have today. There is no payback with the instigator rules in effect and the huge fines that hit the players and organizations in the pocket. I would definitely think twice if I had to pay a huge fine and possibly be suspended. We used to police our game by ourselves back when I played and believe me, if you had the balls (which some did) all hell would break loose! Overall though, headhunting was not quite as evident as it is today because there is no payback. Therefore, there is no respect amongst your peers. The NHL has had a lot to do with all these cheap shots and injuries that have been occurring. Constantly trying to “improve” the game is noble and I’m all for change when it works out the right way. But it takes a big man to admit when they are wrong. Do you think the NHL ever will? Enough is enough! Over and out!

18 comments:

Pauly D said...

Some GREAT points!Something has to change before a career ending incident takes place.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Paul D, I agree the NHL can't afford a major "Disaster" on the ice from a cheap hit period.

greg m said...

kotsy,
i cant imagine the embarassment the ranger players must feel,that the league had to step in and take action, where not one teamate of drury had the kahonays to do so.teams can run at there goalie, blindside there captain, and its ok.and altho im not a former nhl'er(and i say that respectfully)there wasent a game i played in from pond hockey thru peewee bantam and right up the line that , win, loose or draw, someone wasent going to square off with glenncross.even if it went up in to the stands,and back in the day sometimes that happened.but never ever did a guy get away with such a cheep shot.
i think the nhlpa and the league it self has to get together and resolve some of the "other part of the problems" that you spoke about as well.
lets just hope before lace there skates up thursday, that they all remember to strap there BALLS on!

Kotsy's Korner said...

greg m, What Happened to Drury was a cheap shot period. What happened after was inexcusable. There should have been retribution... but there wasn't. That mentality has to change.

As for the NHL and their constant gripping about "Hits from Behind" and "Headhunting". Man up and take some responsibility because you created most of this mess. Fix it.

Jason said...

What I saw happen in Calgary is exactly what I feared. A Sutter-propelled team trying to take the Rangers' heads off and meeting next to no resistance. There has been talk of Torts specifically instructing the players not to retaliate against Glenncross and even some suggestions that the players were not so quick to stick up for Drury, because they do not respect him as Captain. The former is a bit easier to swallow, but the latter is downright disturbing. I just hope it is no so.

I think, overall, the BC/Alberta trip was a Ranger season in a microcosm. When allowed to skate without too much physicality, as in Edmonton, the Rangers excel. When they are pressured, as in Vancouver, the team offense stalls. The physical play forced by Calgary is also something the Rangers have not excelled at so far this season (or for some time).

Also, in Calgary, the importance of Lundqvist being on top of his game and lack of secondary scoring have been demonstrated again. Kiprusoff simply outplayed Valley (who was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, just not good enough that night). When Gaborik is on the ice, I feel like the team has a decent chance to score. When he goes off, not so much.

Overall, the team has some soul searching to do before they lace 'em up again on Thursday. Both the players and the coaches have some thinking to do. The players have to decide how they are going to deal with the opposition, which seems intent on physical intimidation, because they see it working (just wait for the first game against the Flyers). The coaches may have to tweak the style of play a bit, because lately it has been working only on some occasions. Perhaps throwing pucks at the net and then crashing down low is not such a bad tactic, especially with the speedy players.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Jason, I think you and I have just about covered all the bases. This team needs to learn that it "MUST" stick up for one another.

If Tort's laid down the law like you suggested then I have to respectfully disagree with him.

As for Thursday's game against the Thrashers. I'm hoping for a Ranger squad that is rested and ready to play... But who really knows?

Mr.Greek said...

Hey Chris it looks like the Leafs fell flat on their faces last night against the wild. After back to back wins i thought last night was two easy points. Backstrom played well last night. We have the Black Hawks on friday night, wait and see i guess.

Kotsy's Korner said...

Mr.Greek, I actually watched some of the game. Backstrom played well no question. I thought the "Monster" played very good as well.

Only time will tell if the Leafs are on the right track. Next year will be the key.

JohnM said...

Well ,the west coast nightmare is behind us. When the puck drops in MSG Thursday, the Rangers will have to come out pedal to the metal. Drury and Dubinsky are not a factor. Thats one good thing about Tortarella. He will not allow the team to 'depend' on any player individually. That's why different players lead the team in ice time each game. I'm hoping that the coach lifts the restrictions on the d-men so they can once again be free to roam. The heck with the 2 on 1's against. Score more ..Win More!

Kotsy's Korner said...

JohnM, I agree, Time to get back to work for the Rangers. Had a few days off should be ready and willing to engage the opposition in all aspects of the game. Nice to hear from you .

larry o'connor said...

Great post, Kotsy. Really smart.

I'm not a player, but a serious fan, the author of the novel The Penalty Box, whose protaganist is a retired hockey player like yourself.

You're right to say that we can't afford to have a "Disaster" on the ice due to the cheap-hit problem. But I'd have to say we are at a point where it is a Disaster. We are only six weeks into the season and pretty much every club has a serious marquee player down, or top ones playing hurt. I mean you could make the case that the league's number of concussions is verging on the criminal.

While the "opened up" style has allowed for faster with-the-puck action in the neutral zone and around the net, if has led to that troubling byproduct that you so correctly write about: a rise in unavenged without-the-puck headhunting.

Most players and fans are writing that it is up to the guys on the ice to avenge the guy who's geting whacked. This is right, but it won't address the distressing rise in serious injuries, both seen and unseen. I know I might be dreaming in technicolor but what this requires is a sea change in thinking -- either in the corporate head offices on Sixth Avenue or in the clubs' head offices across the US and Canada.

This a problem that needs to be addressed. Thanks so much for putting it out there.

Good luck with you blog. I'll be watching.

Best, Larry

Kotsy's Korner said...

larry o'connor, I just think it's time for the NHL to take a hard look at some of new ideas that they have implemented since....really the mid 90's. and carried it over to post lockout NHL.

The Instigator, Obstruction and even the Trapezoid rules need to be changed back to the way it was back in my day and those who came before me.

The players have some blame as well. They respect level has deteriorated greatly and it is sad to see.

Larry, thank you for the positive response.

larry o'connor said...

Kotsy,
I'm with you. I do think the NHL needs to revisit these post-lockout rule changes. At the very least, by doing so, they acknowledge there is a problem, which thinking folks that follow The Game have been saying for a long time.

Alas, one would say that the NHLPA should weigh in on this. But that is one body whose credibility has been shot to smithereens.

Larry

Kotsy's Korner said...

Larry, The NHLPA is a joke at this moment. So I wouldn't count on anything coming from them of substance.

What's sad it's the fans who get screwed in the end. They see what's happened post lockout and the NHL dragging their feet to fix it.

The fans are not dumb and they put their cash on the line and they want a viable product in return. Is it too much to ask for? LOL.

RJC said...

Kotsy: You may remember you and I spoke about just this same topic: team toughness, at the outset of the season, when you and I laughed at my old man's comment that the NHL isn't "couples only" skating. Well our worst nightmare has come true, and before we blame the coach (who does have some responsibility), let's look at the GM. To enter a season with only one true fighter (be it Orr or Brashear) is a disgrace. Again, as we said months ago, the great Ranger teams were not filled with goons but with one or two of such AND ALSO WITH A NUMBER OF TOUGH PLAYERS WHO WERE MULTI TALENTED. This season, Brashear is out there alone, when he is even out there. No tough defenseman, no supporting cast for Brashear. A disgrace and, quite honestly, a disrespect to the talent players on the team. Shame on you, Slats.

RJC said...

Kotsy: You may remember you and I spoke about just this same topic: team toughness, at the outset of the season, when you and I laughed at my old man's comment that the NHL isn't "couples only" skating. Well our worst nightmare has come true, and before we blame the coach (who does have some responsibility), let's look at the GM. To enter a season with only one true fighter (be it Orr or Brashear) is a disgrace. Again, as we said months ago, the great Ranger teams were not filled with goons but with one or two of such AND ALSO WITH A NUMBER OF TOUGH PLAYERS WHO WERE MULTI TALENTED. This season, Brashear is out there alone, when he is even out there. No tough defenseman, no supporting cast for Brashear. A disgrace and, quite honestly, a disrespect to the talent players on the team. Shame on you, Slats.

Kotsy's Korner said...

RJC, Can't disagree with you on this one. Unfortunately the "Team" is what it is.

If the "Team" does not take it upon themselves to stick up for one another barring changes in personnel it will be a weakness that teams will exploit.

I still love the "Couples only Skating" line. Still makes me laugh.

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