Puck Podcast – October 31, 2009

On this week’s show we’ll debate, discuss, dissect and perhaps argue about SEVERAL controversial hits that made headlines this week as well as update you on some big name players who are missing time due to injuries and of course we’ll tell you about all the big goals, saves and fights this week around the NHL. We’ll also have a special interview with LA Kings star Anze Kopitar, read some great e-mails from this week and a whole lot more.

MP3 File

About Doug Stolhand 27047 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.


  1. The mere mentioning of checking rule changes and you can hear the collective cries from NHL “intelligentsia”. You see the vast majority of Canadian Hockey players come from armpit small towns who’s most loved citizens are those that win fights in hockey rinks and the local watering hole. Most don’t make it to NHL and are therefore deeply bitter because they can’t even earn minimum wage yet look at their acquaintances earning millions for doing what they did, drink, fight and fart.
    Why is it that NHL always seems to cater to the lowest of their fan base? Because NHL brass and people behind the scenes still have that loogin mentality.
    Hockey is also a beautiful game when you see skilled players apply their skill. But they are few and far between. Possibly this is an indication we have too many NHL franchises. What would happen if 10 franchises where eliminated? Could you imagine how this game would improve? More skilled players, less goons.
    My point is lets focus on the skill of the game. Stop listening to the small town brain damaged vocal minority and greatly reduce the unnecessary watering hole type activities and remove loogin behavior. A new generation of high skilled players are beginning to emerge and I want to see their skilled hands flourish. Not to see their faces firmly planted on the ice “just because he should have known better” or any other excuse to justify taking responsibility away from the perpetrator and putting it on the victim.
    Hey why don’t the loogins start their own league. Let them get all the juice train wrecks they can handle and keep it out of the professional NHL. Then we would satisfy everyone concerned.

  2. I don’t know if it’s a small-town mentality that is at heart of this rule, but whatever it is it’s wrong. I would simply ask the following question: Is keeping such a rule on the books worth jeopardizing a player’s future and perhaps even his life? One of these days someone will get killed in the NHL. Will we just say that it’s part of the game or that it was a case of bad luck?

  3. In case anyone is interested, the OHL enforces a penalty for hits to the head. I’m not a huge OHL fan, so I’m not sure how accurate my comments are, but I do watch the odd game. From what I’ve seen, the games still have plenty of hitting, and the fact that head-hits are outlawed isn’t significant to even notice.

  4. Doug and Eddie,

    I do not listen to the NHL on the radio but I just might because the last couple of episodes you have played clips of horrible mistakes. I absolutely love the sound of the crowd when these things happen. If the announcer wasn’t explaining what was going the play you would think that someone just got shot on the ice. The sound of horror from the crowd is hilarious.

  5. Re: hits to the head

    Yes, it’s unfortunate when a player gets hurt, but a clean — not leaving the feet, no elbow/stick involved, not late — hit should never be penalized. If they bring in a penalty for hits to the head, this won’t significantly reduce these incidents. In fact, it will lead to more players skating with their heads down because they have the “safety net” in place knowing that there will be a penalty called if someone hits him.
    This happened when they first started calling checking from behind. Before this rule, when a player skated towards the boards, he would keep in mind that someone might be coming, so he would stay alert and brace himself, or better yet, not put himself in a vulnerable position, to protect himself. Once the rule was on the books, more players put themselves in these positions because they knew now that “It’s illegal.” It might be illegal, but it will still happen. Now the players aren’t protecting themselves, and it leads to more injuries.
    Another issue — and this has been brought up COUNTLESS times — is the instigator penalty. When a dirty player takes a star out with a “questionable” hit, there’s no accountability for it anymore. If there was no instigator rule, someone from the opposing team could make him pay for that. Let the players police and protect themselves in situations like this, and there won’t be any more cause for discussion.
    Calling hits to the head, too, is a difficult thing. If a player is aiming for someone’s shoulder, but then the “victim” leans forward, all of a sudden, it’s a hit to the head, even though that wasn’t the intent. What if someone like Zdeno Chara hits someone? He’s 6″ taller than most other NHL players, so if he’s aiming to hit someone, his shoulder will almost inevitably hit someone in the head. Suddenly, the suggestion is that Chara shouldn’t be allowed to hit anymore, which is completely wrong.

    I agree completely that the repeat-offender comment is ridiculous, but we all know it’s just the NHL’s excuse to not penalize star players (See Malkin in the ’09 playoffs). There needs to be a system in place for suspensions that takes the subjectivity out of it. You do something contrary to the rules of the game that’s serious enough (so not for tripping, hooking, etc.), whether or not there’s an injury or a penalty in the game, it should be an automatic suspension, and the suspension should increase for each related offense. Someone hits someone from behind into the boards? 5-game suspension. The next time he does it? 15 games. No appeal. No question. This would stop the dirty players from doing this on a regular basis.

    Still love your show. I find it interesting that you guys are based in Southern California but you give a more in-depth and unbiased view of the NHL than most of the sources in Canada! Keep it up!

  6. It is a joke that the NHL has the “repeat offender” crap. Doug hit the nail right on the head. Whether it is Ovechkin throwing a hit or George Parros, the act was done and the person should be punished for it.

    Along those same lines, I remember last year in the playoffs when Colin Campbell was throwing out fines and suspensions left and right for “sending a message in the last 5 minutes of a game.” In the finals after game two, Evgeni Malkin skates around the net to find Henrik Zetterberg in a scrum and jumps him and starts throwing punches to stir up trouble. He gets thrown out of the game, yet the NHL deemed there to be no suspension. I have gotten in arguments with people about this before; if that is Steve Ott doing that, his coach is fined and Ott is facing a possible suspension. Guess what? Because of this blown call, Malkin helps lead the way for the Penguins and they capture the Cup. When punishment is being blown in the league because of star treatment and it is causing changes in the Stanley Cup Finals, that is when it has become a major problem.

  7. Campbell has to be pulling his hair out because any time they use a no-tolerance rule a star player goes and does the exact same behavior.

    They hit someone up for slew-footing and then AO goes and slew-foots someone. They suspend someone for getting an instigator in the last minute and Malkin gets an instigator in the last minute of a game.

  8. Mike S,
    Thanks for the comment. I plan on reading some of it during our next show. (BTW, we have another hit to talk about this week Steve Wisniewski on Shane Doan) Thanks for the kind comments at the end of your post.

    I have been practicing my Chewie for many years and have only now just perfected it.

  9. I agree that not penalizing someone because there is no “history” present is ridiculous. However, as I believe Doug mentioned on the show, the idea that the SEVERITY of a penalty should reflect a player’s history is a viable one.

    Rob “Overpaid-eri” has no history of cheap shots. He has not recieved game misconducts and suspenions before. While he should have been suspended for what was a dangerous move last week, I don’t think he should recieve the same punishment as, say, Steve Downie or someone who has a history of cheap hits. If Overpaideri has another couple of incidents this season, he should recieve exponential suspensions for each.

  10. I understand the logic behind increased punishments for repeat offenses. You punish them in hopes that they no longer engage in the behavior and if the first punishment didn’t teach them that lesson your only recourse is to increase the punishment.

    What I do not like is the, “get out of jail free” card. That only teaches players that it is OK to engage in the behavior as long as you don’t have anything else on your record. It also gives the NHL an excuse to avoid suspensions for star players.

  11. So I just finished listening to the show; it’s been a rough week. And, Eddie, yes, hippos are indeed some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth. In fact, as I search the web, the hippo is listed as the most dangerous animal on the African continent. Unless you count the disease carrying mosquito. Hippos are extrememly aggressive and will defend territory, even from other species, charging humans and attacking boats.

    What does this have to do with hockey? Nothing. But, if we are going with Doug’s idea of Mike Lange starting to educate the people with his inane gibberish after Sidney scores, I think he could use this info.

    Better than: “Kunitz scores and…” Oh, wait. That never happens. Nevermind.

  12. The Pens are really starting to feel the pain of not having Gonch and Malkin. On top of that tonight they were also without Max and Kennedy. The injuries so far this season throughout the NHL has been terrible. I like to see full teams play against full teams.

  13. Last week had Doug describing driving in a snow storm as “being in hyperspace” and this week we had Eddie’s Chewbacca impression. I’m lovin’ all these Star Wars references on the show lately. Just another reason why you guys are the best.

  14. Don’t forget the “R.J. Umberger in Carbonite” reference, Adam. The first time I heard that, I was listening in the back seat of a moving car and laughed so hard (and so suddenly) that I almost caused the driver to swerve off the road! The mental image of that line is absolutely amazing!

    And, though I agree that the Pens’ injuries are starting to catch up with them, they do possess more depth than most other teams. This seemed to be one of the strengths of Detroit teams in the past. When one player was lost to the team, someone else was able to be plugged in and could achieve many of the same results. Obviously, there is no player in the league, besides maybe Ovechkin, that can come close to matching Malkin’s talent level, but the Pens are not bereft of decent centermen. The real fear is their first loss when leading after two periods. They were ahead of the Kings 2-1 Thurs night and proceeded to give up FOUR in the third period. I thought the Kings were already dominating the second period when the Pens scored, but it did not seem to give Sidney and co. the momentum I thought it should. Instead, it felt as if it really got the Kings’ fire going and they came out in the third and just punched the birds in the mouth.

    There was an “All Injury” Team featured on a “NHL On The Fly” broadcast this week and, sure enough, that team could give anyone in this league a run for their money. Just a top line of Savard, Ovechkin and Malkin (playing out of posistion, of course) could be unstoppable! Not to mention the top D pairing of Markov and Gonchar are not too shabby, either. That’s be some PP, too!

  15. Doug, I agree with most of your sentiments on the intentional hits and the ‘repeat offender crap’, but I don’t think it’s fair or possible for the refs to make calls on the ice based on the their interpretation of the “intent” of a player. I am sure it’s hard enough out there to call the tangible stuff but adding even more interpretation into the calls is only going to add more controversy and inconsistent calls. Sure, sometimes it is quite obvious. But I don’t think there is a place in the NHL for Hate Crimes legislation…. I think all you can do is judge the action and interpret it according to the rule book. There is illegal and there is poor sportsmanship – that stuff, I think, should be worked out on the ice by the players.

  16. Ah, thanks for the reminder of the carbonite joke! I was on the bus when I heard that one. There was no swerving, but some odd looks.

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