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"Inside the Stripes..."
Edmonton, AB • Canada • 22 Years Old • Male
He damn well shouldn't be. That is for sure. I cannot even believe what I saw last night. A fourth line plug, who isn't even really good enough to be called a plug, cross checks a skilled player in the face. Ryan Kesler did not see it coming, there was no reason for it (Boulerice says that Kesler took a run at Randy Jones...ya...ok...), he didn't have the puck, and he is just lucky to have a jaw that is in one piece.

This is a play that in my mind is enough to get Boulerice punted for the season...at least the season. The fact is this has got to stop. We saw Downie, we saw Simon last year, Bertuzzi wasn't too long ago...plays like this need to be taken out of hockey, permanently. No if's, and's or but's. The guys who commit these infractions need to be taken out of the game. For me 20 games just doesn't cut it. The play that we saw last night in my opinion is worse than the other three I mentioned. It was worse than McSorely, Bertuzzi, Simon, Downie, Perezhogin a while back, I for one cannot think of a play I think was worse.

The differences for me between this play and the ones I just mentioned are pretty straight forward;
- McSorely was going after another tough guy (Brashear), he took no backswing on his slash, he was definitely not TRYING to take his head off, unfortunately for Marty he has terrible aim.
- The Bertuzzi play was awful in the fact that it was pre-meditated, he was following Steve Moore all over the ice, but again, he was not trying to break his neck, he was trying to punch him in the head (no stick - fighting is allowed).
- Simon was close to as bad, but it was fairly reactionary, Hollweg had just run him into the boards and human instinct went a little overboard.
- Perezhogin absolutely tried to slash that guy (I don't remember his name) but the thing is he was just knocked down, and the guy was behind him - he had no idea that the guy was on his knees when he spun around.
- And lastly, Downie, at least tried to get his revenge by using a body check (and McCammond had just dished the puck off), he just needs to be a little more careful, it was not an intentional head shot, just an intentional huge hit.

So that brings us back to Boulerice. What was his intent on the play, because that plays a huge part in the suspension process, what was he trying to do? Well, when he sees a guy coming around from behind the net, and he goes after him with his stick, directly to the face, it is pretty clear what his intention was. He wanted to cross check him in the face, that doesnt happen by accident with a cross check, not when it is on a guy he had targeted in Kesler. So if Downie gets 20 for a similar type situation but using a body check, what does Boulerice get for the same thing but using a cross check, and targeting the head? I would say take the 20, add another 10 for using the stick in that manner, and then another at least 10 for targeting the head. The fact that is is on a guy like Kesler rather than another enforcer could add even more. So in my opinion he is looking at a MINIMUM of 40 games.

However, I believe it should be more than that, because prior to that point in the game, (when the Flyers were winning 7-2 no less) Boulerice had played 4:04 in that game. He has 10 points in 167 career games. He is not a good hockey player. He is most definitely not an NHL calibre hockey player. He is a big tough guy who just so happens to be able to skate. He is lucky to still be in the league, and he comes out in the second game of the season and does that? To me, forget suspension, just rip up his contract, he has no place in the game.

But before anyone rips my head off, I know that there are those who will say that Boulerice has a place in the game, as an enforcer. And I agree, enforcers have a place in the game, but their job is to be done with bodychecks and fisticuffs, not blatant cross checks to the face. Why Boulerice didn't just take Kesler into the boards, or challenge another Canucks player to a fight is beyond me. What was going through his head?

Pretty obvious to me: Air. Get him the hell out of here. And let the rest of the league know what awaits them if they don't use their brains. I sincerely hope that it doesn't take a Crosby or Ovechkin to be laying on the ice with no teeth for the NHL to wake up, and do what is right for the game.

Oh and by the way, in 1997-98 Boulerice was suspended for the entire season + playoffs by the OHL for swinging his stick like a baseball bat at the face of another player. He also pleaded no contest on charges of aggravated assault. How long after this one until he does it again?
Filed Under:   Canucks   Boulerice   Suspensions   Head shots   Flyers  
October 11, 2007 3:39 PM ET | Delete
I agree for the most part but Kesler did kind of try and put Jones through the boards and missed. Either way it a dumb and stupid thing to do and a lengthy suspension is in order.He may have played his last shift in the NHL.
October 11, 2007 3:57 PM ET | Delete
The one thing I think all of these professional leagues are guilty of, and is certainly apparent in this blog, is that they factor in the skill and standing of the player when they mete out their justice. I can see factoring in history but saying a player deserves getting bounced from the league because he's a fourth liner is kind of ridiculous. Are you telling me that if Sidney Crosby delivered this same hit that his punishment should be less because he's the Art Ross winner? If you are then I couldn't disagree more. Hit's like these should be punished equally across the board factoring in only the incident and the disciplinary history of the player. To me, it was easy for them to crack Downie for twenty games and it will be easy for them to bust Boulerice here but it's funny that the Sutton stick to the chops two weeks ago in New York went virtually unnoticed and the Pronger blow in the playoffs went virtually unpunished. It seems to me that if the Canadian media ignore it it it goes away, when they jump all over it these players need to be suspended for life. There's also irony that these two hits happened on Canadian soil and the other two didn't.
October 11, 2007 4:44 PM ET | Delete
mayorofang, I thought a lot about exactly what you said before I posted this, and the difference between Crosby doing it, and Boulerice doing it is this; Crosby belongs in the league based on his level of talent, he isn't just a guy out there to keep guys in line playing four minutes a game. If Crosby does it then absolutely the 20 or 40 or whatever game suspension. But when a guy who doesn't really belong in the league anyways does it, well then why keep him around to do it again. And it isn't just the game itself anymore, there is also the fan aspect of it. While it may be wrong, it is something that won't go away. Fans drive the league, and they can live with Boulerice being booted for life, but not Crosby. Boulerice doesn't bring people into the rink, he drives them away with plays like last night. It is a very tough topic though, what if a superstar like Crosby did do something like that? I hope it never happens.
October 11, 2007 5:15 PM ET | Delete
Seems to me we already had it happen in the playoffs last year and the league gave us our answer. It's just disappointing to me to see the inequity here. I'm with you in that Boulerice shouldn't be in the league but he shouldn't be in the league because he's not any good. When he made the Flyer's roster out of camp I said to everyone that I couldn't believe that Potulny or some other forward didn't deserve that spot. You look around the Atlantic Division and you see Brookbank, Sutton, Hollweg, Laraque and you realize why they kept him on the roster. The enraging thing for me is I listen to TO radio all day and all I hear is Downie and Boulerice should get life time bans but in between the two hits Sutton gives Callahan a face full of sick coming down the boards in New York and gets a fine. I never hear his name once on radio. I'm not arguing the Flyer's penalties, I'm arguing the injustice.
October 11, 2007 6:22 PM ET | Delete
I can agree with you that it may not be right, but it is just reality. The league is not willing to dish out big suspensions to the guys that put people in the seats. Afterall, the league is all about making money, so they need to keep that in mind. But you are right, it doesn't make it just.
October 11, 2007 6:30 PM ET | Delete
I think this hit is just as ridiculous as Boulerice and worse than Downie. Sutton Practically takes his head off. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g3poEP7_Ec This is what has some Flyer's fans outraged. This happened between the Flyer's two hits. Who is Sutton to avoid suspension?
October 11, 2007 6:59 PM ET | Delete
Sutton is longer in the NHL than Downie and as you said... it was no Canadian team...
October 11, 2007 9:59 PM ET | Delete
I agree that the Sutton hit is bad, but there a few key things that separate it; Callahan had the puck for starters, and it was lined up as if to be a body check rather than using his stick. Callahan needs to have his head up on that play, NOT saying that it is an ok hit, because it is not. But those fundamental differences in the play make it very, very different. Also, Sutton was not head hunting, rather just trying to make a hit.
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