Posted 1:11 AM ET | Comments 12
Randy Jones. Good. Young. Talented. Aggressive as any normal hockey player, not overly aggressive, but not afraid of contact either.
Now. What happened. Was this the same as Jesse Boulerice and Steve Downie. No. Not today and not any day. This did not have intent from what I saw. This was a bad hockey decision made in the flow of the game. The puck was near them both, Randy went in for a check and they got turned around and he still followed through. Do I condone it? NO WAY. Is it going to continue to happen - YES!
I hope that Colin Campbell and the NHL look at this differently than the Bouleridiot and Dumnie incidents that occurred earlier this year, because they are different. Very different. Boulerice and Downie clearly had intent to injure, while it does not appear from every angle that I have seen, that Jones had any intent other than to finish his check. This was not the Hatcher absolutely destroying JR's face after he told him he was gonna do it type of incident. This was an unfortunate hockey play that resulted in Bergeron being badly injured and knocked out.
How do they change this? How does the NHL make this type of play go away? Can they make it go away? The short answer is - they don't and they can't until the players try to hold up on those types of plays and make a conscious decision to not hit the guy. UH - Yeah - That'll happen!
There are some things they can do to reduce some of these issues.
1. Reduce the armor these guys wear. It's nuts. I know if I elbowed someone in the eye socket with my elbow pads I would be able to take their eye out easily because of the way they are designed and the fact that they are plastic.
2. Get rid of the touch-up icing. I like the touch-up icing and I am not really one to normally want to get rid of it, however, if they did get rid of it it might make guys think twice before going that hard after someone into the boards. (A stretch and a reach I know - but hey we are dreaming here aren't we?!)
3. Suspend the hitter as long as the recipient is out of commission. While I don't like that either because it brings up so many other questions and possible scenarios, it might be something to look at.
The NHL is about hitting, fighting, checking, banging and power. Nobody wants that changed, but what needs to be changed is how the players approach checks like the one that Jones did tonight. Should he be suspended? Yeah - I think he should. 20-25 games - NO. 5 games, maybe 10. Intent MUST play a part in the punishment and I do not believe he had intent.
Should Philly be fined at this point? Absolutely. (Just for the record - I am a Philly fan in case you missed that.) The clubs have to be responsible for teaching their guys to hold up in a situation like that if at all possible. 3 incidents in less that 10 games is absurd. Fine the club, suspend the kid a reasonable number of games and warn Philly and any other team that the fines will stiffen significantly if they don't change the way they train and mentor their kids and their veterans alike.
Long winded - sorry - but I needed to vent a bit.....