Should Souray Be Suspended?

Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009 12:37PM

Souray fights Weller

By now, we’ve likely all heard about the suspension to Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec for slewfooting Denis Grebeshkov on Wednesday night. As Jason Gregor reported yesterday, Grebeshkov is going to be out for a minimum of two weeks, and likely longer with a high ankle sprain. Plekanec will be ineligible to play for two games, in accordance with the Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice.

With both Grebeshkov and Visnovsky injured, the blueline corps has been transformed from a strength to a weakness; Jason Strudwick and the recently recalled Theo Peckham are simply not of the same calibre as those two players.

Things could be worse, though. Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild sent a new video of Sheldon Souray’s fight with Craig Weller to the NHL, based on a close-up angle from FSN’s coverage of the game. According to the Wild, it’s conclusive evidence:

The replay shows Souray throwing four "punches." Each time, Souray, instead of leading with his fist, turned his left wrist and forearmed Weller in the face. Weller sustained a serious concussion and hasn't played since.

Souray already met with Colin Campbell, who warned him that fighting while wearing the wrist guard is illegal. This video is hardly conclusive (Note: this isn't the close-up the Wild sent in), but it certainly seems possible that Souray was hitting Weller with his wrist guard. The Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune, who reported this story, says it’s “hard to imagine” Souray being disciplined, given that the incident occurred a month ago. Souray

Maybe it’s just me, but if the video is conclusive in showing that Souray intentionally hit Weller with his wrist guard, I’d like to see a suspension. Russo’s likely right that the league will chose to do nothing, especially given their rather lax disciplinary policy (exceptions: if you insult your ex-girlfriend on TV) and the length of time that has passed. Even so, it’s impossible to justify Souray using his wrist guard as a weapon, and if that is what indeed took place here, he deserves punishment.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Smokey
February 13 2009, 12:48PM
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Minny's nuckin futz. Just want a playoff spot. Someone should tell them the trap is dead,and nobody but stupid minny fans want to watch bottled up neutral zone traps. Snore

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#2 Greg MC
February 13 2009, 12:52PM
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Looks like Souray was giving him the forearm to the head. I agree with your position that punishment is deserved for that.

As for the Plekanec slew foot on Grebeshkov, I have a couple of concerns. It looked like a deliberate attempt to injure an opponent. The on ice officials did not see it that way. Plekanec should have been dealt with physically after that play. Hemsky has been hit dirty and no one has stepped up to that either.

Need some character on the Oilers to stand up for their teammates.

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#3 Greg MC
February 13 2009, 12:53PM
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FMNF - sorry.

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#4 Madman37
February 13 2009, 01:10PM
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Not only do the Oilers miss Grebs for awhile, but the 2 game suspension of Plekanec keeps him from playing against 2 Northwest teams, Vancouver and Colorado.

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#5 Teufel
February 13 2009, 01:12PM
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If there is conclusive proof that he intentionally caused injury to an opposing player, then yes, he absolutely deserves a suspension. That said, I don't think anything will come of this since it looked pretty inconclusive, although it's definitely something Souray needs to be mindful of when he drops the gloves in the future.

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#6 Jason Gregor
February 13 2009, 01:13PM
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JW,

Souray already had a meeting with Campbell regarding this at the All-Star break. Campbell wanted to see the thumb/wrist guard to see if was that dangerous.

Campbell concluded it wasn't and Souray said that Campbell wanted to see it himself so he could make a better judgement on it in the future.

As for Souray intentionally hitting Weller with this, I'm not sure the evidence is conclusive enough to state that.

However, I'm not sure how many fights you've been in, but guys don't want to try and hit a guy purposely with their thumb. You don't generate much leverage, plus the chance of hurting yourself is increased greatly.

Souray said ideally he doesn't like punching with his left because he is still a bit concerned about re-injuring it. He did in this case because Weller had his right tied up he said.

I've seen the guard up close and when on his wrist/thumb it rests right on the thumb knuckle. He would have to turn his fist to the side to have a direct hit with the guard, and that would be awkward and more dangerous to him than actually hitting his opponent with the guard.

He won't be suspended, nor should he. From the video you watched you can't even see where the guard sits, so how can you say confidently that he should be suspended?

And the fact he has met with Campbell over two weeks ago now, there is zero chance he will be suspended by the league. Campbell didn't tell him that he can't fight with it on in the future either.

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#7 The Towel Boy
February 13 2009, 01:20PM
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Who saw this coming?!?

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#8 Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009, 01:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He won’t be suspended, nor should he. From the video you watched you can’t even see where the guard sits, so how can you say confidently that he should be suspended?

I can't. If, however the close-up video the Wild sent in shows it conclusively, that I would be in favour of a suspension.

Jason Gregor wrote:

And the fact he has met with Campbell over two weeks ago now, there is zero chance he will be suspended by the league. Campbell didn’t tell him that he can’t fight with it on in the future either.

I couldn't find any post-meeting stuff, but the pre-meeting stories seemed to indicate it was illegal. I take it you have more recent information?

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#9 Jason Gregor
February 13 2009, 01:39PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I couldn’t find any post-meeting stuff, but the pre-meeting stories seemed to indicate it was illegal. I take it you have more recent information?

We spoke with Souray the minute he returned from the All-star break. He has been using a guard for five seasons, and every year it gets smaller and more compact. The reason Campbell didn't deem it a weapon was due to where it sits on his thumb/wrist.

The angle would be almost impossible to use it as a weapon without Souray, exposing himself his hand in a vulnerable position.

I will search through my archives for Souray's exact quote. But paraphrasing Souray, Campbell said he wanted to see it first hand what the guard looked like so he could make a better judgement in the future if a complaint came in. Souray said he would not be punished due to this, and there is no chance the league goes back on their word, especially since so much time has past since the incident. It would look ridiculous.

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#10 Jason Gregor
February 13 2009, 01:41PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I can’t. If, however the close-up video the Wild sent in shows it conclusively, that I would be in favour of a suspension.

If they had conclusive evidence don't you think they would have sent it in by now? The Wild are really searching for something in my opinion. They had ample time to look over the tape.

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#11 Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009, 01:42PM
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I'm quite certain the rule Campbell wanted to discuss with Souray was the following:

47.15 Any player or goalkeeper wearing tape or any other material on his hands (below the wrist) who cuts or injures an opponent during an altercation will receive a match penalty in addition to any other penalties imposed including for fighting under this rule.

From your description, I think Souray's wrist guard would qualify.

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#12 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 13 2009, 01:44PM
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Why is this even a discussion? We know the league is gutless in regards to handing out disipline. You get the same suspension for paralysing someone as you do for slew footing them. BUT those suspensions are less than if you insult some chick on TV.

Nothing will happen here.

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#13 Marc Pooalot
February 13 2009, 01:46PM
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@ The Towel Boy: HA! Good plug.

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#14 Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009, 01:48PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Ignore comment #11, I wrote it before you explained. And yes, if Campbell has already told Souray he won't be punished, I very much doubt the league goes back on its word.

As for the Wild, according to Russo's story, the close-up footage was discovered accidentally by the Wild's TV producer while he was putting together a highlight package in preparation for the last Oilers/Wild game. Russo says in his blog that the new video is "damning" and that the Wild were unaware of it until just a couple of days ago.

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#15 Enter Name Here
February 13 2009, 02:16PM
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FMNF - I find this curious at best that the Wild discover this additional Souray video within days of the Oil losing two of their top four defensemen to longterm injury. The fact too that it is the OIL that they are in a playoff battle with... hmm, who kenw?

Hopefully Souray will use his right hand the next time he has to fight a WILD player as it is obvious that they prefer their lunch minced before it being fed to them...

Should make for a good WILD rematch.

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#16 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 13 2009, 02:18PM
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Yeah im sure its "damming" Its easy to say that knowing it will never come out.

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#17 nullterm
February 13 2009, 02:19PM
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Interesting timing given that Edm and Min are both fighting over the same playoff spot. If Min could get Souray out for a few games chances go up for Edm missing a few points minus their #1D.

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#18 Wej
February 13 2009, 02:23PM
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This is utter nonsense. He didn't intentionally do it. When those guys are tossing haymakers that fast, there's no way that they can control exactly where they land.

Plus isn't it a rule that the NHL can't suspend a player after he's played the next game?

It has to be effective immediately and before the next game as far as I know.

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#19 Wej
February 13 2009, 02:23PM
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What I saw from the video is an old school beat down.

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#20 Colin
February 13 2009, 02:28PM
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I call BS, its just too convenient.

Wrist guard my ass, pussy got pounded is what happened, he went down faster than the girls on 118th on a Friday night.

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#21 Greg MC
February 13 2009, 02:37PM
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FMNF - Souray clearly hit him with his forearm, why would he do that, just saying...

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#22 OilFan in Calgary
February 13 2009, 02:41PM
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BOOOO. Home town reporting only.

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#23 raged
February 13 2009, 02:44PM
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Easily the stupidest blog of the season.

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#24 tricksnard
February 13 2009, 02:50PM
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OilFan in Calgary wrote:

BOOOO. Home town reporting only.

Hahaha, high-five!

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#25 Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009, 02:57PM
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OilFan in Calgary wrote:

BOOOO. Home town reporting only.

I'll say whatever the hell I want, and I'm not going to slant it in favour of this team just because I happen to follow them. "My country right or wrong" is intellectually dishonest.

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#26 JRocks247
February 13 2009, 03:00PM
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This is concerning. But something i found more concerning after attending the 7-2 beatdown, was the faceoff to start the game, and subsequent save by Rollie. I was sitting in the attacking end directly behind Price and from my seat i could look over the balconey and clearly see some (insert french canadian insult) using a laser pointer to distract Horcoff and then Rollie. Both player went wild and the ref immediately skated to our end and directed security to watch out for it. How often does this happen and can this ever be completely stopped?...disgusting

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#27 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 13 2009, 03:01PM
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How is it hometown reporting when hes actually calling for a suspension if given proper evidence?

OilFan in Calgary, are you Deep Oil in disguise?

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#28 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 13 2009, 03:05PM
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@ JRocks247:

That goes along with what the Canadiens production company was trying to pull. They had a big spotlight shining through the stands in the direction of Roloson.

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#29 Greg MC
February 13 2009, 03:05PM
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FMNF. Some people just try to push buttons because they are assholes with nothing to add to a discussion.

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#30 Bruno
February 13 2009, 03:32PM
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This comming from an orginization that has the biggest GOON in the leauge . He just barked up the wrong tree.. BooooHoooo

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#31 Jonathan Willis
February 13 2009, 03:34PM
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In fairness, Russo's a very respected hockey journalist with better than a decade as a beat writer, most of that spent following the Panthers. His opinion that the video is "damning", while not conclusive, is significant.

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#32 raged
February 13 2009, 03:52PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Youve definitely earned thatt right but

1. The two players willingly engaged in a FIGHT, nothing like the slewfoot on grebs which ocurred during a normal play.

2. The Wild obviously have ulterior motives than pure justice.

3. Where was this article when the fight happened, the fact that the wild player got hit with the wrist guard isnt recent news.

4. Home town reporting only. We just lost two of our three best dmen and you write a post about losing the other one for the next couple games, just because minnesotta whined. stupid.

This is oilers nation, not wilisnation.

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#33 OilFan in Calgary
February 13 2009, 03:53PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

What I meant was that there should only be hometown reporting allowed after a 7-2 win. Let the knives come out after a terrible effort in LA tomorrow.

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#34 raged
February 13 2009, 03:54PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

“My country right or wrong”

Souray wasnt wrong just for busting skulls in a fight

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#35 Dennis
February 13 2009, 04:01PM
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This WIll be a major story if the new video makes the Weller thrashing a suspendable offense but my new favourite story is how Smid is a blossoming defensive dman.

Is that for real or is just how you spin a guy who was supposed to be a two-way guy when he was acquired for Pronger?:)

The kid's playing better than he did last year but he's still only 17/21 in terms of GF/GA and 'all of this;)' while playing the softest minutes on the blueline.

Now, it isn't a sexy or selling story to write that the Oilers are basically shagged if they are depending on him to handle top four min but I found it odd that today was the day we found out that the kid might be close to arriving!!

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#36 Milli
February 13 2009, 04:07PM
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Souray is a BEAST!!!! I hope he kills there whole team next time!!!!!!

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#37 Cam
February 13 2009, 04:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I’ll say whatever the hell I want, and I’m not going to slant it in favour of this team just because I happen to follow them. “My country right or wrong” is intellectually dishonest.

I seem to remember their biggest player running our best players and knocking them out for a number of games. I hate to see a guy get hurt, but he was playing for the wrong team...

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#38 Jason
February 13 2009, 04:27PM
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I hope this video is made public, I'd like to see it.

If it is blatantly obvious that he did something like that then he should absolutely be punished, regardless of how long ago it was. That won't actually happen, but it should.

I've seen a few people mention that the Wild are doing this to attempt to screw of a NW rival. I don't think that's necessarily the case; if they actually have a tape that shows Souray using his wrist-guard as they allege, then they absolutely should be pushing for some sort of penalization. I would expect the Oilers organization to do the same.

But until we see their tape we don't really know anything. Maybe it's a legit complaint, maybe it's BS. Who knows.

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#39 Ender the Dragon
February 13 2009, 04:49PM
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For everyone who is ready to throw this story in the trash out of hand, in fairness ask yourself this question first;

If the Oilers had just last week come up with 'damning evidence' that Andrew Brunette had deliberately attempted to injure one of our players last month, would you be just as adamant that the Oilers throw the tape in the trash and let the whole thing go, or would you suggest that the Oilers send the tape in to the Commish and see if anything came of it? Most of us, if we're honest, will admit that the Wild only did what we would have expected any team in their position to do.

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#40 Tankit4Tavares
February 13 2009, 04:55PM
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If the wild were really that upset about the "wrist guard incident" henceforth refered to as WGI, they would have found that angle within hours of the game. Its very odd it was found accidentally weeks later They have people who are paid to review footage on staff and if they were worth the salary they are paid they would have found it within minutes of WGI. I don't believe for a second that this is them merely trying to see justice served, they are angleing to sink the Oil and its a bunch of BS IMO.... FMNF

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#41 B-rad
February 13 2009, 04:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, Russo’s a very respected hockey journalist with better than a decade as a beat writer, most of that spent following the Panthers. His opinion that the video is “damning”, while not conclusive, is significant.

JW,

All though his accusation is significant, it is wrong. When it has been deemed safe by the discipline czar, before his "damning" comment, you have to agree...it is wrong. Or mis-guided, I would have to say, that these people seeing it in person, rather than what it looks like on tape, would be as conclusive as it needs to be. Send him a link to the Gregor comment above.

Tell him to print that in his paper.

I think maybe if it was the other way around, we would do the same thing though. Would you have sent a tape Gregor, if it was Brent Burns wearing the wrist gaurd?

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#42 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 13 2009, 05:06PM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

There is damming evidence every game where is an intent to injure. Every time Boogard goes after Hemsky hes intending to injure him. The league does not care about stuff like this. They dont care to deal with it, they dont care to enforce it, they just dont care.

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#43 Oilersordeath
February 13 2009, 05:06PM
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Come on! Anyone who's been watching hockey the last 10 or so years know's that Souray is not that type of player. He's a tough hard nosed in your face Canadian who happens to knock mutha fu__as out when he has to fight. Its pricks like Phanuf, Burrows, Tootoo who are the ones always looking to injure opposing players. Those assholes are the ones the league should keep an eye on not Souray!

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#44 rOILty
February 13 2009, 05:29PM
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In all fairness, i can see how this should have been considered an infraction and punished appropriatly, but looking back at that game i remember Weller was being a big pest, and, in this sport if you talk the talk you have to be prepared to face the consequences.

He had it coming. You can't expect men to fight on skates and never get injured. Its part of the game and part of the sacrifice one makes to be an NHL'er.

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#45 stratedge
February 13 2009, 05:33PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf88PiiVnVo

Look closely when they show it in slow motion before the fight, you can clearly see that the plastic guard on Souray's forearm only covers the TOP. If he is indeed hitting him with his forearm, he'd be making contact with the bottom, which is 100% exposed.

That having been said forearms in fighting is just an occupational hazard, and having been hit with both I can tell you that a forearm doesn't hurt any more than a fist, but in fact it increases the likelihood of a wrist injury to Souray. Which might explain something...

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#46 Adam Dyck
February 13 2009, 05:56PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

OilFan in Calgary wrote: BOOOO. Home town reporting only. I’ll say whatever the hell I want, and I’m not going to slant it in favour of this team just because I happen to follow them. “My country right or wrong” is intellectually dishonest.

-BEEP BEEP-

What's that sound? Is it? Yes, I think it is...

My sarcasm detector is going off!

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#47 Dave
February 13 2009, 06:11PM
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I think the suggestion that Russo's characterization of video footage as 'significant' suggests it may have a bearing on the outcome of this process and that is laughable as well as being a testament to the culture of entitlement that permeates the blogosphere. The NHL could give a rats ass about what bloggers or journalists think and I doubt they would allow anyone outside the boys club to sway their opinion.

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#48 Robin B
February 13 2009, 06:18PM
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OilFan in Calgary wrote:

BOOOO. Home town reporting only.

Who are you to tell Willis what to write? If his take on this doesn't hold up, it's because he didn't have all the information -- which he's already acknowledged. It's a legit topic, given the follow-up from Russo.

Dennis wrote:

This WIll be a major story if the new video makes the Weller thrashing a suspendable offense

At least you snuck in 17 words on the actual topic before treating us to, surprise, more of your insight on how the MSM won't tell the real story and is putting the "spin" on Smid.

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#49 OilFan in Calgary
February 13 2009, 06:24PM
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@ Robin B:

Well, Robin B, I happen to be an Oilers fan who realizes that two of our best D-men are out of action for a period of time whilst the Oil are in deep trying to make a playoff spot. Are you saying that I can't write to tell someone what he shouldn't write?

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#50 Robin B
February 13 2009, 07:30PM
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@ OilFan in Calgary: No, I'm telling you to argue the merits of what is written when the question of a suspension to Souray is raised instead of making like a Fan Boy and chastising Willis for giving his take on the issue. Writing: that's what writers do.

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