Adam Proteau will return Jan. 9. In his absence, the The Hockey News.com will feature several guest bloggers. Up today is THN.com editor Edward Fraser:
Â• The fact Scott Nichol received only a nine-game suspension for his sneak attack on Jaroslav Spacek Dec. 21 was appalling.
So what's a good word to describe Colton Orr's five-game punishment for his cross-check on Alex Ovechkin or Donald Brashear's one-gamer for his sucker punch on Aaron Ward?
Absurd? Ludicrous? Asinine?
Let's go off the chart and use mind-bogglingly baffling.
The league can't have it both ways. You can't remove the system (i.e. fighting) that was once used to protect the game's stars without installing some other form of protection (preferably through harsh suspensions).
One-dimensional thugs like Orr Â– or any other form of player for that matter Â– can't get off with a simple slap on the wrist for blatant attempts to injure; especially when the player they are attempting to injure is the new face of the NHL.
Â• With all their injury woes up front, I wonder if the Senators regret shipping prospect Brandon Bochenski to the Hawks for Tyler Arnason.
Arnason, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Avalanche during the summer, failed to score a goal in his 19 games after the trade, didn't dress for a single playoff contest and wasn't given a qualifying offer after the season.
Bochenski, meanwhile, is a classic boom-or-bust prospect with the potential Â– under a best-case scenario - to be a 75-point guy, according to The Hockey News.com's fantasy expect Darryl Dobbs. The 24-year-old Bochenski has nine goals and 18 points in 48 career NHL games.
Â• There's no doubt Chris Pronger's foot injury will hurt the Ducks, but don't look for them to go into the tank in his absence. Anaheim is a well-rounded squad with depth far beyond the two-headed beast of Pronger and Scott Niedermayer.
* Don't look now, but the Vancouver Canucks seem to have finally found their scoring touch with a total of 12 goals in their last two games (victories over division rivals Edmonton and Calgary).
If Vancouver can continue to find the twine and captain Markus Naslund breaks out of his 14-game scoreless slump, the Canucks will find themselves as the team to beat in the very tight Northwest and Roberto Luongo will get to see the playoffs for the first time in his career.
What difference does it make who you hit in the head weather it a fourth line energy skater or as you say "especially when the player they are attempting to injure is the new face of the NHL." A hit to the head is a hit to the head no matter who the hittee.
- John Gilday
If you saw this game you would have seen the Caps taking liberties with Jagr all night long. The Rangers have been berated for not standing up for their own. So the first time they do it they get the stiffer suspension. It figures. I agree the league cant have it both ways. They should never have touched this part of the game in the first place. Let the players police each other.
- Paul Paluscio
It seems to me that Orr got a five-game punishment because of who he hit, not what he did. I think if he had cross-checked anyone else, he might have gotten off with less. I didn't see the games, but I think the calls need to be fair and players treated equally.
I was at the Preds game and Scott Nichol didn't cold-cock Jaroslav Spacek for no reason. Nichol was sent flying into the goal by Spacek where he could have easily sustained a serious neck injury, broken collarbone, etc. Although his actions were regrettable and deserved suspension, I don't blame Nichol for being irate. If I was Spacek, I would've kept an eye on the guy I just sent barreling toward the goal post. If he (A) doesn't trip up Nichol and (B) expects there might be a retaliation as a result of A, then it wouldn't have happened, possibly a fight at the most. Maybe next time he'll think twice. ONLY a 9 game suspension? Give me a break.
- Chris B.
Although I've never been a fan of the idea of carrying a goon-for-hire, I believe that fighting is part of the game and should remain so. Many a highly skilled hockey play has also been able to handle himself in a scuff-up. Regarding "fans and fighting," I'm always amazed at the positive response to a fight. I recently attended a game in LA and the fans went wild when two players went at each other. So, who doesn't want fighting in the game? The fans, or the critics.
- Rick Flanagan