Disagreeing with Greg Wyshynski

Jonathan Willis
May 13 2009 08:46AM

But this Ducks/Wings fight shows us the difference between sending a message and "message sending." This was a nasty but emotionally organic bit of olde tyme hockey; none of the players on the ice were knuckle-dragging goons looking for a target at the end of the blowout…. The NHL's disciplinary system would become a parody of the joke it is if any of these players are suspended for Game 7.

Greg Wyshynski is the editor of Yahoo’s excellent Puck Daddy blog, and an irreverent and outspoken columnist who has far more good points than bad ones. On this point though, I think he’s letting Perry and Getzlaf’s point totals blind him just a little bit.

It looked to me like Perry and Getzlaf were looking for targets. Here’s a quick glance at three numbers from their two bouts: size, penalty minutes, career fights:

Getzlaf vs. Hossa

Size: 6’4, 221lbs vs. 6’1”, 208lbs. Advantage: Getzlaf PIM: 121 vs. 63. Advantage: Getzlaf Fights: 10 in 297GP vs. 4 in 775GP. Advantage: Getzlaf

When you toss in the fact that only one forward in the entire league took more penalties than Ryan Getzlaf, and that Getzlaf instigated the event and threw the first punch, I think the possibility that he was looking for a target to soften up before game seven becomes incredibly likely. Still, let’s move on to event #2.

Perry vs. Rafalski

Size: 6’3”, 209lbs vs. 5’10”, 200lbs. Advantage:Perry PIM: 109 vs. 20. Advantage: Perry Fights: 14 in 286GP vs. 2 in 692GP. Advantage: Perry

Corey Perry’s another guy on the frequently-penalized list, tied for fourth among NHL forwards (one back of Ethan Moreau). Meanwhile Brian Rafalski managed to take virtually no penalties all season; an incredible feat for a defenseman. Again, we have a case where Perry clearly instigated the altercation and used it as an excuse to whale on a clearly overmatched opponent.

I didn’t bother mentioning the third fight, although again in all categories Niedermayer is well ahead of Datsyuk (a Lady Byng candidate), since Niedermayer isn’t exactly a fighter himself. But Niedermayer’s elbow to Datsyuk’s face wasn’t exactly a clean move itself either, and works back to the overall point: that the Ducks blatantly provoked this incident.

Suspensions?

Of course, the NHL has a suspension policy for players involved in an altercation in the last minutes of a game – a policy that I’ve never been especially fond of – but if the policy is there it should be enforced, particularly when one team has two big, tough players attacking a pair of smaller, less-willing combatants. The fact that those two players happen to be scoring stars is incidental – they clearly defied NHL policy, and neither of the “fights” was an equal contest: it was a pair of big guys beating up on a pair of smaller guys.

They won’t be suspended, obviously; the NHL has repeatedly shown that it has a two-tiered justice system, one for stars and one for role players. Since Getzlaf and Perry are stars, and it would look too much like the NHL was rigging the series, they will not suspend the offenders.

If the league were just, though, neither Perry or Getzlaf would suit up for Game 7. And it wouldn’t be the travesty that Wyshynski claims – it would be two players who willfully went after smaller, less physical opponents with no time left on the clock getting exactly what they deserved.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 MrOiler
May 13 2009, 01:21PM
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Jonathon,

Your logic is correct. If the league stands by its rules, there are suspensions for Duck players. But you're also correct in saying it seems like the NHL is a two tier system: playoffs and star players get consideration.

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#52 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 01:23PM
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Chris wrote:

don’t understand… are you saying the Oilers have only one good player now?

only 1 elite forward and 2 elite D-men.

Chris wrote:

I know the ideal situation is to bring in yet ANOTHER player to play with Hemsky. (After all; Penner, O’Sullivan, Kotalik, Sykora, Nedved, and several others have all been unable to consistantly produce while playing with Hemsky)

Kotalik has never been a 1st line player, Penner DID produce with Hemsky, Sykora DID produce with Hemsky before being moved off of his line for strange reasons, Nedved was a has been when he got here, Smyth DID produce with Hemsky. Horc gets paid 7 mill next season because of Hemsky. Did it ever occur to you that Hemsky IS making those guys better? Do you really think that Dustin Penner's ability comes close to Hemsky's? Those guys are not in the same class as Hemsky, or are you suggesting that Penner and Kotalik are perrenial 60+ point guys?

Chris wrote:

Or, maybe after so many years the onus is on Hemsky to have an impact EVERY night with the linemates he’s given.

One might suggest that Hemsky should be so consistent that he ought to be darn near a point per game...oh...wait...

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#53 Chris
May 13 2009, 01:29PM
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@ Archaeologuy: I seriously doubt Tambellini would trade Hemsky just to shake things up. That said, Hemsky's future with the Oilers may depend on who Tambellini can get for Gilbert... (If Gilbert is the D-man moved)

If a legit top twenty right wing power forward is the best possible return for Gilbert... then Tambellini may in turn look at what he can get for Hemsky. I don't have a crystal ball, but trading Hemsky may make a lot of sense under the right circumstances.

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#54 Raoul Duke
May 13 2009, 01:31PM
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Getzlaf is a punk with a big mouth, and is clearly a bully. Sooner or later, somebody is going to smoke this guy and I can't wait to see it. Lindros was like Darth Vader too, until Kasparitis and Stevens dismantled him.

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#55 West Coast Oil
May 13 2009, 01:32PM
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@westcoastoil

Was I cloned when I wasnt looking?

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#56 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 01:39PM
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@ Ogden Brother: you're cherry picking the exceptions from several years of data.

RossCreek wrote:

To say “Getting rid of the best player on the team to acquire an even better player doesnt make any sense” blows my mind.

I see you chose to NOT include the rest of my sentence. I wrote... Archaeologuy wrote:

Getting rid of the best player on the team to acquire an even better player doesnt make any sense for a team that literally has no other elite forwards.

Make the trade. I already said Getzlaf is better than Hemsky. Oilers still miss the playoffs because they only have one good forward. Yes an upgrade is an upgrade. Now the Oilers just have to upgrade about 7 more times and the holes should be filled. OR, make trades that take away players that the Oilers have an abundance of (lets say Offensive defensemen hypothetically speaking) and acquire players that the Oilers do not have an abundance of (lets say top line Forwards). I know its a weird idea, filling a hole without digging another one, but lets give it a try.

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#57 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 01:49PM
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@ Chris: I agree that given the right situation anyone is tradeable, but I dont see the Oilers being in the position to move Hemsky as it stands today. Sure, after the draft maybe some crazy things happen. I'm sure if a legit RW was acquired the Oil would ask Hemmer to play LW.

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#58 RossCreek
May 13 2009, 01:51PM
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@ Arch actually i copied your quote off of chris' post so he must've chose not to include the whole thing. Doesn't change anything on my end though. And I didn't know they could only do 1 move or the other. Just cuz they move Hemsky, doesn't mean they can't still move a D-man for a top 6 forward.

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#59 Chris
May 13 2009, 01:51PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Yes an upgrade is an upgrade. Now the Oilers just have to upgrade about 7 more times and the holes should be filled.

Sounds like you've been reading Tambellini's To Do list.

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#60 Chris
May 13 2009, 01:51PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I’m sure if a legit RW was acquired the Oil would ask Hemmer to play LW.

Kinda like they did with Cole?

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#61 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 01:54PM
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@ Chris: Cole wasnt top 20

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#62 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 01:55PM
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@ RossCreek: I was treating this like it was just the one move. No one proposed anything else so i didnt assume.

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#63 Ogden Brother
May 13 2009, 02:00PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ OB You’re completely leaving Getzlaf out of the picture!

No I'd take Getz for Hemmer in a Heartbeat, I just dont think a front line of Getz/Gagner/Penner would be any better then a front line of Hemsky/Horc/Penner... for at least a couple of years.

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#64 Ogden Brother
May 13 2009, 02:03PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Hardly, I'm yet to see real solid proof that adding another top end guy significanly increases the first top end guys #'s.

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#65 Bryan Lerg
May 13 2009, 02:03PM
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Corry Perry is a piece of scum. You can throw in the Marc Crawford/Dion Phaneuf bus that can get driven off the cliff of a mountain.

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#66 Chris
May 13 2009, 02:04PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Cole wasnt top 20

I agree. But the point is, Lowe traded Pitkanen for Cole, and he wanted him on the first line. When Cole wasn't comfortable on the left side, they never even tried to switch him and Hemsky...

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#67 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 02:07PM
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@ Chris: That's a coaching decision.

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#68 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 02:11PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: Hardly, I’m yet to see real solid proof that adding another top end guy significanly increases the first top end guys #’s.

All i said is they rarely do it on their own. Look down the list of the league's top scorers, you will find a lot of the guys have teammates that are also near the top. It isnt common for for top producers to have guys below 60 points as the #2 on their team.

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#69 Westcoastoil
May 13 2009, 02:50PM
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@ West Coast Oil: No, maybe I was

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#70 DogSoldier
May 14 2009, 06:18AM
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Both Getzalaugh & Perry & Niedermayer NEED to be suspended, and Randy Carlyle should be FINED for letting/advising his players to play dirty. The Ducks went right after the Wings players ( and this was their mostly smaller "finesse" line) after the Buzzer. If it were anothere Wing Line, such as Kronwall, Stuart, Cleary, Ericsson, Abdelkader, This after the "Bell" antics most likely would'nt have taken place. The Officiating in this series has been LAUGHABLE. The Ref.s have chosen to have a blind eye towards the Ducks dirty play; such as deliberate elbowing, cross-checking, head-hunting cheap shots,& boarding, all with intent to injure. Also, the Ref.s have "manufactured" penalties, such as an "Interference" Penalty when a Duck player skates into a Wings player!!?? And as for the "Fighting", you can see for yourself, the film clip is a view of a bigger problem; i.e., the Ducks always "Pick on the smaller player". While someone may say that I am whining; you have to ask yourself, would you like it if someone 6 inches and 20lbs.more than you were to work out on YOU every chance they got during a game?? The "Ducks" as a Team, Play Dirty. This is their "Mantra". They think that their black uniforms their dirty play, and George Parros, (foaming at the mouth ), waiting on the Bench, will somehow intimidate the Players of the other Team. If anything, these antics after the "Bell" of Game 6 will serve to "P!ss Off the Wings,.....and if they have enough WILL to WIN the CUP ( and a LARGE set of COJONES) they are going to give the Ducks a Beating, ...... on the Scoreboard.!!!!

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#71 risto
May 14 2009, 10:01AM
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Raoul Duke is right, and obvious by that name well lubricated also.

Disappointing to see Neidermayer act like that.

The real problem is that these losers can't win with class.

Bettman and the NHL aren't known for that either.

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