Vancan Outta The Blue


The Devil’s Advocate on Lucic
November 14, 2011, 14:51
Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Replace The KB | Tags: , , ,

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!

This post is on a non-assigned day for Josh in the competition, so instead of being posted on the Province Website with a thumbs up/down button, please hit the FB Like button on this page instead.**

By Josh Hall

Our good friend Omar, a fellow Replace the KB Competitor, over at HeadToThe.Net posted most recently Monday night on why the non-suspension to Milan Lucic makes no sense whatsoever.

Well, as there is for everything, this story has a flipside. There is role to play here as devil’s advocate, so I present to you the post from HTTN, advocated devilishly, but as friendly as possible.

HTTN – “This is straight from rule 42.1, and it’s enough.

“A goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease.”

What else needs to be said?”

JH – It is what it is. Theoretically, the punishment for breaking this rule is subject to the opinion of the punisher, that being Brendan Shanahan. Obviously, he saw not enough wrong with the play to suspend Lucic. Frankly, neither did I.

HTTN – “Ryan Miller was outside his goal crease and Milan Lucic ran him over.

According to the rule, a goalkeeper is not fair game. Lucic should have tried to avoid the hit, and he should not have taken straight aim at Miller’s body.

But instead of making any attempt to sidestep him, Lucic followed through on Miller’s head with his arms. If you’re still arguing that, watch it again.”

VIDEO – Lucic Hits Miller

JH – Ryan Miller was outside his crease. Lucic did not try to avoid the hit. Bang on sir, congratulations. However, Lucic had lost control of the puck, had tried to retrieve it and in the meantime, Miller had collected it. If you continue reading as to why I believe the rule should change, you’ll see why I believe Miller, or any goalie in this situation, should be fair game. It’s the same for any other player too. If a player is playing the puck or did so in the last split second, it’s okay to hit him. Anything more than a second, it’s deemed late. This hit, regardless of the rules, was not late.

Furthermore, in my opinion, he did not “follow through” as you put it, on Miller’s head. Initial contact is clearly with the shoulder area of Miller and not the head. Any head contact that was made, which I believe was minimal was not intentional. In fact, I would put any head contact just on the momentum of the contact between Lucic and Miller. Obviously his mask had to come off somehow, but that’s also partially due to the velocity that Miller was spun around.

HTTN – “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Lucic is a “piece of sh**” like Miller did. I’ve seen him at bars in Vancouver during the summer, and he seems like a nice guy to be honest. But what he did on Saturday – definitely a “piece of sh**” move.”

JH – Agreed – not that I can say I’ve seen him in bars during the summer, but I believe it. Yes, what he did was a move straight from the Dummy’s Guide on Douchebaggery. That being said, even if he was a nice guy, I probably wouldn’t give him the time of day given what happened this past June.

HTTN – “Of course the debate about whether a goalie should be fair game outside his crease has resurfaced, as it does several times a year – everytime there is a questionable hit on a goalie.

So what, the goalie, who is weighed down by twice as much gear as any skater, who, aside from being able to do the splits in those pads, has limited mobility because of them, he is supposed to be able to throw a bodycheck and defend himself?”

JH – First of all, this debate doesn’t happen “several times” a year. I can’t remember the same time something like this got this much attention. If anyone can name me more than two occasions from last season, then props.

Yes the goalie does have twice the amount of padding but I think people arguing FOR Lucic don’t necessarily cite that as the reason goalies should be fair game. If you’re going to phrase it this way though, let’s look at a teammate of Lucic. His name is Tim Thomas and this past June, he cross checked/pushed/punched Henrik Sedin straight in the chest because Henrik got to close to his crease. So just because Henrik was near or in Timmy’s crease means he gets to knock him over. There was no penalty on the play and though there was an uproar in Vancouver (due to obvious bias), the play wasn’t illegal. So hypothetically speaking, the goalie is allowed to knock a player over if he is in his crease? Is that right? Well if it is, then shouldn’t you argue that a player should be allowed to knock a goalie over when the goalie is in the player’s regular area of play? Goaltenders have the same equipment and as mentioned, even more than a regular skater. Therefore, they should be able to defend themselves if they decide to come out and play the puck 15 feet from their net.

HTTN – “Do you know how ridiculous that is?”

JH – It’s not ridiculous if you look at it the way I just did.

HTTN – “Many people would like the goaltenders to stay in their creases. Once they step outside, they should be treated like any other player.

Thing is, he’s not any other player. Like a quarterback in football, the goalie is the most important position in hockey. Just look at what happened to the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning or the New England Patriots without Tom Brady.

If a starting goaltender goes down – like James Reimer in Toronto – the team struggles to find a replacement in the same way.”

JH – You chose Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as your examples, so respectfully, I will stick with them as well.

I firmly believe that even if a QB in football isn’t of All-Star calibre, they can still have an All-Star season if they have the right supporting cast. This theory was proven in 2008 when in Week 1, Tom Brady went down with a knee injury and was sidelined the remainder of the season. Matt Cassel stepped in and led the Pats to an 11-5 season. He didn’t do this by himself. Look who he had for receivers, namely Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Receivers have to be good enough to get open for a QB to pass to. Wel Welker was selected to the Pro Bowl that year and Moss caught for over 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Needless to say, Matt Cassel had some help that year.

Now we look at Peyton Manning and his situation this year. Obviously he hasn’t played a single snap so far this season, and obviously, the Colts haven’t won a single game. They have used three different quarterbacks, none of whom are household names. Furthermore, Indianapolis has no one, at least not on my radar, in their receiving core that you could say is a household name or has any chance of being one anytime soon, at least not without Peyton Manning passing to them.

So as it is clear, a backup is as good as his supporting cast. I think most people in Vancouver would agree that if Luongo went down, we’d do quite well with Cory Schneider backing the Canucks up.

HTTN – “This is why it’s not free season on goaltenders when they’re outside their crease. This is why rule 42.1 is there in the first place.”

JH – You’re probably right, that is why the rule is there. Obviously the makers of this rule would disagree with me that the rule should be changed, but again, that’s subjective and the makers of this rule are all old fashioned. This is a new game, with new idiotic rules like a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass.

HTTN – “Somehow, Brendan Shanahan missed rule 42.1 and didn’t suspend Lucic. And now, as was the case so many times under ex-NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, a muddy precedent has been set.”

JH – Again, it is subjective. Yes, Lucic did hit a goalie, which by the letter of the law, is illegal in the game of hockey, in the NHL anyways. But again, it’s subjective and in this case, it is nothing to do with a Boston bias. Campbell is gone from that post.

You say it’s set a precedent but really, shouldn’t this rule in the first place have told goalies that they can skate up no further than center ice with the puck, and remain untouched? Do they? NO!

**You can see the original post and scan over HeadToThe.Net by clickingHERE!

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