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Monday, 14 November 2011

Goalie protection

When it comes to head shots, concussions and the game of hockey, the NHL is desperately trying to rid the game of both, but it seems there is a double standard when it comes to goalies and concussions.
If you are a fan of the Boston Bruins, I suggest, you stop reading right now! I don't have too many nice things to say about your team (or your city for that matter) so it would be best if you guys left this blog, before it gets ugly!

Now I, like many other hockey fans, jumped on the Bruins bandwagon, during the Stanley Cup final as I did not want to see the Canucks win a cup, but on Saturday night, I was reminded just how much I have always disliked the Bruins! When a dirty cheap shot artist like Milan Lucic hits someone, you know he generally, accidentally, on purpose meant to do it, as was the case with his open ice hit on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller!
His hit was dirty and uncalled for, Lucic had tons of time and space available to avoid the hit with Miller, but chose to go full out and deliver and elbow to the head of Miller. Watch the video, he explodes his arms through the hit. Lucic broke an unwritten code and a long-standing rule in which players do not purposely target a goalie out of their crease. Unwritten, what am I talking about, it is written! In the NHL rule book it clearly states a goalie is not fair game just because he is outside the crease. NHL rule 61.2 Penalty – In all cases in which an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, whether or not the goalkeeper is inside or outside the goal crease, and whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a penalty (minor or major, as the Referee deems appropriate). In all cases where the infraction being imposed is to the attacking player for hindering the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely in his goal crease, the penalty to be assessed is for goalkeeper interference. I was quite upset that Lucic was allowed to continue playing in the game, he should have been kicked out, for intentional contact to the head! Goalies have never and likely will never be fair game to hit, no matter where they are on the ice; Lucic claimed he had his head down and never saw Miller, but again -  look at the video, Lucic was looking at the puck, and had to have seen Miller going for the puck, even the fat slow dim witted Lucic would have been able to slow down or avoid contact with Miller, but instead the 220 pound moron decided he would run over the 175 unsuspecting Ryan Miller! There was no question the hit was deliberate and in no way incidental, look at the replay he put his elbow up to hit Miller, there is absolutely no doubt that Lucic went into that play with an intent to injure Miller! Miller had already played the puck, so additionally, the hit was a little late. In my opinion, a player that needs to wipe out a goalie to prove their toughness needs to grow a pair and shouldn't be playing in the NHL! The Sabres and Miller were in complete control of the game, before the hit, and after the hit the Bruins took control; as someone tweeted me the other night "nothing inspires a dirty team, like a cheap hit" Lucic is having a suspension hearing with Brendon Shannahan, and I highly doubt the league will do anything with Lucic, because he plays for the Bruins, the NHL's favorite team (remember the Chara hit). But what they should take into account is Lucic history of cheap shots; he sucker punched Victor Hedman, at the end of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, then again sucker punched Freddy Myer, and had an incident with the police where he played the "do you know who I am card?" Anyways I'm not trying to to focus on Lucic, this blog is for goalies. The sad thing is the Bruins team is filled of cheap shot artists much like Lucic, it's disgusting! Ryan Miller sustained a concussion due to the hit, the NHL needs to do something to protect and stand up for goalies, or we are going to see more and more goalies, being knocked out of games with concussion. "If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury. And not just injury, but concussion," Regier said. "... When I look at the position of goaltending, in a lot of ways it’s not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished." Not to mention this is Miller's 2nd concussion in the last 8 months. Many Bruins fans were wondering why Miller continued playing even though he was concussed, here's your answer "What happened was that he gradually got worse until he was removed from the game and diagnosed by the Boston doctors," Regier said. "I’m not in position to disagree with the doctors or the league protocol. He’s better (Sunday) but still, hopefully it is not severe and hopefully it is not long-term." Now, Miller's comments on Lucic post game were a little drastic, but I don't completely blame him, anyone that just got smoked like Miller  by a cheap shot artist like Milan Lucic.
So in my opinion Lucic should be suspended! “I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of (crap) I think Lucic is,” said Miller. “Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that? It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he plays. That was gutless. Gutless piece of (crap).”

Now for all the people freaking out because Miller was so far out of his crease; how about the elbow to the head of James Reimer from a couple weeks ago against the Habs? Reimer was in his crease and totally unsuspecting of Gionta elbowing him. It would appear that even when goalies are in their crease they are still not safe. It is in all likely hood that James Reimer suffered a concussion from the elbow delivered by Brian Gionta of the Montreal Canadians, now it was deemed accidental contact, but Gionta did slightly stick his elbow out, so it was kind of incidental accidental contact on the part of Gionta. Reimer was clearly injured on the play, as he was seen grimacing in pain, and took several minutes to put his helmet on and get back to his feet. Now Gionta did receive a minor penalty, but no more supplemental discipline was given! Reimer has missed the last 18 days due to his injury and has been suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Goalies are not nearly protected as well as they should be. Players, are allowed to freely hit goalies and injure them, while only receiving a minor penalty. Who know's how long it will be before we see Reimer and Miller back in between the pipes for their respective teams.

Goalie's are a vital part of the game of hockey, perhaps the most important part to a team; General Managers, start with the goalies, and work their way out when building a team. Even the best offensive teams need a solid netminder, or their offensive power is all for not (just ask the Capitals or Flyers last couple seasons).
I don't care that goalies have the most equipment on the ice, nothing can help stop concussions, unless stupid players like Lucic smarten up and play the game of hockey properly. Besides, the goalie equipment is not designed for taking hits, it's designed for stopping pucks! This is not old time hockey, and the way the Bruins play is disgusting and a disgrace, and we wonder why there are so many dirty hits and concussions in all levels of hockey! If this was old time hockey, Lucic would be in the hospital right now unable to move for his stupidity!  So all you haters, saying goalies deserve to be hit and are proud of the way Lucic and other players like Matt Cooke play, I'd like to invite you to put on some goalie equipment and get run over like Miller was, then see how you feel about the hits! The NHL needs to do something to protect goalies, it's not funny, it's not cool, its horrible when goalies, just get run into and nothing happens! The NHL needs to get serious about protecting goalie's, more so even than any of the other players on the ice. Even though they are, in fact, tougher, would you stand there while a 90 mph slap shot is coming your way? I didn't think so. So when goalies, are hurt, you know something is wrong! They need to show that it is unacceptable, to run goalies.
anyway's we will see how the Lucic issue is handled, but I hope he has to sit at least 2 games, I would never wish injury upon any player, but maybe if someone sucker punched Lucic, the person hitting him would get a good laugh on the way to the box!

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