Habs get day off Sunday in drive to playoffs; Plekanec to rejoin team

The Canadiens were given the day off Sunday after picking up their fifth straight victory with a 4-1 win over the Panthers Saturday night in Florida. The Habs have won eight of their last night games and according to the website sportsclubstats.com have a 100-per-cent chance of clinching a playoff spot. Five of those eight wins have come on the road.

While a playoff spot hasn’t officially been clinched, things are looking good for the Canadiens who appear headed for a first-round series with Tampa Bay. The Habs’ next game will be against the Lightning Tuesday night in Tampa (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

The Detroit Red Wings did the Canadiens a favour on Sunday night, beating the Lightning 3-2. The Canadiens (43-26-7) are in second place in the Atlantic Division and remain two points ahead of the third-place Lightning (41-25-9) with Tampa Bay holding one game in hand. The Boston Bruins (52-17-6), who are 17 points ahead of the Canadiens, have already clinched first place in the division.

The Canadiens No. 1 line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek accounted for all the scoring in Saturday’s win. Pacioretty scored his 34th and 35th goals of the season, while Vanek scored his 27th and Desharnais potted his 15th.

“I thought he was just a scorer, but he’s an unbelievable playmaker,” Pacioretty told reporters after the game about Vanek, who was acquired at the NHL trade deadline. “Not only does he make the right plays, but he makes it easier on the guys he’s setting up. When he gives the puck, he makes sure he drives the defender so he’s taking him away from you. He’s an easy player to play with.

“When you start making plays based on instinct, it shows the chemistry is building,” Pacioretty added. “We want to clean up some defensive plays we made late in the game, but you can’t get too picky. We’ll take everything in stride and hope to get better with every game.”

Tomas Plekanec, who missed Saturday’s game to return to Montreal for family reasons, was to rejoin the Canadiens Sunday night in Florida and be at practice Monday.

Meanwhile, Josh Gorges, who has been sidelined for almost a month with a broken hand, is hoping to return on April 9 when the Canadiens visit the Chicago Blackhawks. That would give the defenceman three games of action before the playoffs begin.

Pacioretty leads Habs over Panthers, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Pacioretty praises Vanek, by Pat Hickey

Pacioretty a lamp lighter, Canadiens.com

Gorges taking his time with rehab, Canadiens.com

Matchups if NHL playoffs started Sunday, NHL.com

 

510 Comments

  1. Hstands4Hockey says:

    Stubbs reports that Emelin has returned to Montreal for family reasons….
    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

  2. The Jackal says:

    I think the Orpik hit was dirty in the sense that Orpik looked to have a clear intent to obliterate Toews.

    That being said, the hit itself was IMO clean insofar as Orpik made principal contact with the shoulders and was not a head-shot. Nonetheless, and this is speculative because we don’t really know the player’s intent, it really appears as if the goal of that hit was a lot more than to just remove Toews from the puck.

    Personally, I love seeing big hits, but in cases such as these, when players are injured, one wonders if we should try to clean up hitting or not. I’m conflicted about this subject because physicality and hitting are an integral part of the sport, but there is truth to the statement that players seem to have a different ethos about hitting than in the past. Ultimately, it’s up to the players whether or not they want change on this subject, but as a fan it is definitely concerning that head-hunting hits are so easily let go.

    In the end, whenever a player lays a big hit, the results can be a roll of the dice in terms of injury. But again, if a player falls on their ass on open ice then there is likely a different result from a player being wrecked against the boards. Still, we need to take into account the split second moments just before and after hits. If Lucic had spun and fallen on his head after the Emelin hit, then what? There are many variables and I think we ultimately need to be more circumspect in how we evaluate hits.

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  3. Strummer says:

    Further to the discussion below on Nyquist- He and Eller are the same age turning 24 this year.
    They have taken different paths to the NHl.
    Detroit as you know developed Nyquist slowly while the Habs kept Eller in the NHL bouncing him around from line to line with varying degrees of success.
    I can’t help but think Eller would have been better off plying his trade in the minors where he could get lots ice time and develop his skills and confidence.

    ____________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

    • HabinBurlington says:

      We had a desperate organization starving for that next big center. Eller also didn’t go to U.S. College for a number years, thus was in pro hockey at a much younger age than Nyquist. When i see Detroit bring up these players with patience, it reminds me why it is good to see Bealieu/Pateryn/Tinordi etc… not being rushed

      • The Jackal says:

        That’s right Burly, I don’t see any reason to fret or bitch about Beau and Co. not being in the NHL right now.
        Really wish Eller could have been brought along slowly, it’s hard not to think that it would have helped his confidence and overall development.

        Barring a big breakout into the next level for Eller, we may have to settle with a 3/4th line centre with average hockey sense, good physicality and size, and decent puck control with some scoring ability. Definitely a good depth player, but I don’t see the guy pushing Pleks, DD, or Chucky out of the top 9.

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Strummer says:

        Eller was also traded for a high profile player so sending him to the minors would have been acknowledging he didn’t get full value for Halak

        ______________________________________________________
        “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

        • HabinBurlington says:

          That is also very very true.

        • The Jackal says:

          I don’t know if that’s true.
          A) Assuming PG was getting offers for Halak after the playoff run, then you’d have to think that there were good offers out there including the Blues’ offer. If Eller was the best trade in PG’s mind, then there could not have been many better deals, which brings us to:
          B) Halak’s value was highly inflated after that run. He was never a bonafide number 1 and he remained unproven even after that run. Teams don’t give up top forward talent for potentially good goalies, fans overrated Halak and inflated their expectations about what to get back in a trade.

          Eller was a decent return for Halak, all things considered. Eller showed promise early on so it was justifiable to give him a shot at cracking the big league roster, but he has stalled in his progress. Not sending him down was more a function of a lack of size at C and desperation rather than an attempt to save face in lieu of a “bad” trade.

          ______________________
          Hockey sine stercore tauri.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Doesn’t it make a difference when the guys who are down on the farm seem to be better than the guys who are on the team? Detroit has one model, which they have had the luxury of using because they have had good teams. But lots of teams seem to have success bringing players up right away. There’s not just one way to do it IMO.

      • Mattyleg says:

        Detroit, because of its success and the way in which it was able to hang on to top players, was in the enviable position of being able to develop its players over long periods in the AHL.

        We’ll see if that continues with the Wings’ aging core tottering toward retirement.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Hstands4Hockey says:

      Eller will never be more than a 3rd line defensive centre. Hopefully he continues to progress (or digress for the pessimist) to being valuable to the team in this role.

      ——————————————————————–
      Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
      @Hstands4Hockey

  4. twilighthours says:

    Luke!

    My buddy here from NS competed in the Barkley Marathons over the weekend. He didn’t make it – could only finish 3 loops before he cut timed out. You should look it up! It’s craaaaaaazy!

    Anyway, no shame in dropping out of that one, let me tell you!

  5. ffenliv says:

    My take on the Orpik/Toewes hit:

    I think hits like this are a product of the average player and fan mentality. We ‘punish’ guys via the media, and likely via contracts, if they’re perceived as soft, so there’s plenty of incentive to hit a guy as hard as possible.

    There also seems to be this idea that you SHOULD hit a guy as hard as you can, simply because you can, as long as it’s legal.

    I don’t know how to keep the physicality in the game whilst trying to regulate what a player things while he’s hitting someone.

    And we, as fans, would have to accept that some times bad things (scoring changes and goals against) will happen because a player let up when making a hit.

  6. adamkennelly says:

    I think it was a good hockey hit – but I also think that if you are going take aim on a player like Toews when he is in a position like that – you better be prepared to face some consequences. Orpik has a history of laying shots of that nature and not backing it up. In NHL hockey that makes you a dirty scumbag.

    P.S. Imagine if that was Emelin on Patrice Bergeron – wonder how the rest of that game would have gone.

    • frontenac1 says:

      The Pens were bouncing Hawks the whole game. Same as the Friday game with the Sens. They had no solution. Can’t believe they haven’t called up some muscle from Rockford for the home stretch.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Of all the arguments pro and con, yours is by far the worst.

      You suggest that the hit shouldn’t be penalized, but that an enforcer should have tried to make Orpiks pay for his nominally legal hit.

      This is biker gang mentality.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

      • adamkennelly says:

        give your head a shake…I said if you are going to dish out heavy hits targeting the most important player on the other team – you better be prepared to deal with some of his buddies. did you just start watching hockey? I didn’t make up the rules, I just know what they are.

  7. Kooch7800 says:

    Josh Gorges seen on the ice holding a stick….that sounds like good news

  8. Maritime Ronn says:

    BEST post by far on the “Hit” subject

    Luke says:
    March 31, 2014 at 9:55 am I honestly think that we care more about player safety than the league or the players do.
    ——————
    How true is that?
    The NHLPA has huge power to change the game and get things done…IF there was a will to do so.
    They proved that during the past CBA negotiations.

    Concerning league violence and suspensions, NHLPA has shown they care more about their Association brothers losing paychecks than imposing suspensions.

    Take the 5+ game suspension Rule.
    The NHLPA would not sign off on the Rule uless…
    ——————-
    2011 from connected Larry Brooks -NY Post

    “…the NHLPA, at least as the union has been represented on the competition committee, has consistently argued against punishments that fit the crime of head-targeting.

    Indeed, we were told by a well-placed source the PA only signed off on Rule 48 last summer on the condition that VP Colin Campbell not impose what the players referred to as “super suspensions,” for those guilty of coming laterally to apply blindside hits to the head.

    Which is why suspensions, even for repeat offenders, are generally fewer than 5 games.

    ….the athletes are now marked as co-conspirators in the league’s laissez-faire attitude to the felonious among them.

    We can only surmise the players have taken this stance because they are more concerned with protecting their brethren’s pocketbooks than they are with protecting their brains.
    They are more concerned with players avoiding the loss of pay that would become substantial under double-digit suspensions than they are with ensuring players don’t lose their cognitive ability.”

    http://nypost.com/2011/02/06/nhl-players-union-against-head-hit-punishments/

  9. RetroMikey says:

    Guess when the team is winning many are not complaining about Therrien or wanting him fired.

    I still think we are going to suffer with a weak D and a fragile team up front as well (except the 4th line in Weise-White-Moen)

    Visons of 2008 when we played Philly in the 2ND round and lost to them in a 6 game series. The reason we lost? Many said we were just too physically tired and small.

    We have not corrected this problem at all in the past 5 years.

    BIG IS BETTER!

    We will not go past Boston if we make it the second round.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • punkster says:

      And your Leafs?

      Release the Subbang!!!

      • Luke says:

        True contenders…

        • johnnylarue says:

          The Leafs are BUILT for the playoffs!!

          Well, at least one round of them… every 10 years or so…

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Never have I seen my leaf fan buddies so dejected as they are now. It is truly an unbelievable environment in Southern Ontario at the moment. Despondent, Crushed, Beside themselves, soon they will reach the next stages with contempt, rage rearing itself. But not until that large Opera lady starts singing.

          • frontenac1 says:

            Hey Burly! Now is the perfect time to get our friend Jack back into Fold! Make it so amigo.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Mikey!
      Speed, discipline and finesse beat size every time! That is how we won so many cups in the early days. Let the opposition try to run us and chase us all night, and take the penalties.
      If only the coaches can get the power play set and working again. Coaches problem to get right.
      We are now an exciting team to watch once again!

    • AliHaba says:

      We went to the finals in 2008? I’ve followed the Habs closely for years but I can’t seem to remember that.

    • Ali says:

      If Weise, Moen, Prust are healthy, along with Eller and Bourque in our bottom six gives us good size there. Vanek, Patches, Gallagher (plays like a big man) are in our top six. That leaves Briere, Galchenyuk and Pleks as our smaller forwards, and I’m okay with that.

      Chucky – Pleks – Gallagher
      Patches – DD – Vanek
      Briere/Bourque – Eller – Gionta
      Moen – Prust – Weise

      Extras: Bourque/Briere, Bournival

      • RetroMikey says:

        Eller has a third line CMan?
        I don;t think so.
        I’d rather have Galchenyuk start playing his Natural position on C on the third line.
        Hate to say it, but Eller’s days are numbered here in Montreal.

        This was the year he was supposed to shine for us but did not.
        BIG IS BETTER!
        “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  10. HabinBurlington says:

    And it is official now, Ted Nolan has a new 3 year deal as coach of the Sabres. I like Nolan, and am happy to see him get this opportunity.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=447856

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Potential new Islanders owner is not the Russian Billionaire from the Brooklyn Nets, but rather a Philadelphia Lawyer. Perhaps he went to law school with Uncle Gary.

    http://nypost.com/2014/03/30/brooklyn-boost-in-islanders-sale-talks/

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    Twitter really is a friend to Paul Bissonnette. This is pretty funny what he sent out last night.

    Paul Bissonnette ✔ @BizNasty2point0
    Follow
    Knowing Mike Milbury has a job talking hockey makes me feel good about life after I’m done playing. Guy’s a zero.

    • frontenac1 says:

      Meathead Mike. How he has a job broadcasting is one of life’s mysteries amigo. Remember when Parros was on the TSN panel last year? He was good. Thoughtful,articulate and a dry sense of humour. If this is his last year playing, I would love to see him on HNIC. Saludos!

      • Kooch7800 says:

        Parros is quite intelligent and understands the game. Milbury is a moron buffoon who doesn’t get understand the game which is sad considering he played in the NHL

  13. Maritime Ronn says:

    @ CJ

    Agreed – The size of players has significantly changed over the years.

    Former big Dman Elmer “Moose” Vasko was huge in his days…all of 6’0″200 pounds.
    Tim Horton – of coffee fame, played the game tough, back down from no one Dman, and was 5’10” 180.
    One of the most feared guys to ever play in the NHL – John Ferguson, played at 5’11”-190.

    Back then, players went to training camp to ‘get into’ shape.
    Once the mid 1970s-early 1980s came along, things started to change.
    Guys were in better shape and nutrition was a word that started popping up in their vocabulary.

    The Flyers 1970s goon years – while winning Cups, also didn’t help the NHL as that style trickled down in junior and minor hockey…as the NHL is a copycat league – fighting and gooning must be good!

    Many small skilled guys were set aside at a young age, and size became a big factor in Canadian minor hockey.
    With some outstanding exceptions (Gretzky to name just one), Canada was targeting size at a young age and producing ‘power forwards’ to the detriment of overall skill in later years.

    With the Euro/former East bloc invasion of highly skilled players, Canada needed to change and was in catch up mode.

    • stevieray says:

      Moose Vasko was one of favourites ..old # 4. Thanks for the reminder Partner. I remember the weekend magazine ( Star Weekly ?)..would have a full page picture and short bio on NHL players …could not wait to get it ….needless to say I had scrap books up the yen-yan :)

    • CJ says:

      Thank you for sharing Ronn.

      I recall a funny story whereby Mario Lemieux was asked what he did to get into shape. He indicated that a week before training camp started, he stopped putting ketchup on his fries.

      • frontenac1 says:

        Latendresse should have done the same?

        • Chris says:

          I think the biggest problem for Latendresse’s career was the Rob DiMaio hit, where he ended DiMaio’s career in a preseason game with a late blind-side hit that caused a serious concussion.

          He always seemed much more tentative in the physical play department after that play, nothing like the player he was in junior or the previous year’s exhibition games.

          Later on, his conditioning became an issue (and I think the Habs had him bulk up too much in his first couple of years after the draft). Staying that bulked up requires a fanatical attention to training, and if you let yourself relax even a little than your conditioning can really suffer.

  14. Kooch7800 says:

    This was deemed legal by the NHL….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF0SxAOli0w

    This is 20 plus games

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hckLGFCY86I

    I understand that Torres was a repeat offender but how was one 0 when it was worse and the other is worthy of an example suspension

  15. HabinBurlington says:

    Is Gustav Nyquist the real deal? Unbelievable the numbers he is putting up, and if not for injuries I wonder if he even would have been back up with the big club this season. Perhaps a great example of a player who while he indeed “may” have been NHL ready last year, the Wings had him back on the farm plying his trade allowing him to be even more ready his chance came.

    Perhaps a lesson in why Beaulieu, Pateryn etc… have been on the farm. Nyquist was in his fourth season with Grand Rapids, granted his first season was only 8 games after leaving college. Pateryn is playing in only his 2nd season in the AHL (he was injured and missed an entire season of AHL hockey).

  16. theox_8 says:

    May as well just change the rules to rub outs along the boards if people aren’t happy with that Orpik hit . I for one like to see good clean hockey hits.

  17. L Elle says:

    Today thousands of people will be talking about, and dissecting The Hit. They’ll review it in slo-mo, super slo-mo, different angles and in reverse too, just for good measure.

    Some will say it was clean, a hockey play, and others will say it was dirty. Orpik is a known dirt bag who wanted to hurt, maybe not seriously injure, but definitely this “hockey play” had no advantage to Orpik’s team, except to take out a valuable player from the opposition.

    The rule book be damned. This is exactly the type of hit that needs to be taken out of the game.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      +L (Roman numeral style). :)

    • jimmy shaker says:

      I will agree to disagree with you on this one.

      Shaker out

    • New says:

      L Elle, I gotta disagree as well. Orpik was committed to the hit but Toews was not committed to that play. (The play is to chip it to the corner, the guy going into the corner comes back at you dragging his cover and weaves away from the boards, you pass him inside and take the puck back as your cover and his cover get “innocently” picked). Orpik hit him mean but clean. If Toews had dropped any more we’d be talking about Orpik going head first into the boards and naming a trophy after him. If Orpik had pulled up Toews would be coming out of the corner boards, uncovered, alone to the goalie.

      Toews had time to chicken out and stop. He could have kept the puck and skated. Instead he made the play and tapped the puck into the corner.

      I don’t think Orpik is a dirt-bag. He plays mean though. Like Emelin taking Lucic out with a hip check.

      • L Elle says:

        Everything you say is true, but just my own humble opinion that the culture must change, to avoid unnecessary injuries. Why hit a vulnerable player?

        But I can’t agree that Emelin’s hit was mean. A hip check perfectly executed, only hurts the other players’ ego, and not much else.

        If nothing else, Orpik is at least a loose cannon idiot.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRMz6A6r5fs

        • New says:

          Serge Savard might disagree about the effects of a perfectly executed hip check, he thought his career was over as it began. :-)

          Yes Orpik is a loose cannon. I have met idiots though. He is not an idiot. So he has no excuse.

  18. Kooch7800 says:

    Greg Pateryn got the game winner yesterday for the bulldogs.

    • CJ says:

      He now has 20 goals in 99 career AHL games. This is a significant improvement over his NCAA career totals. I still think there is a future for Pateryn within the organization.

  19. Strummer says:

    The time has come to re-instate “charging”, especially along the boards.
    More than 2 steps, you get penalized.
    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion- I could be wrong”

  20. Luke says:

    I honestly think that we care more about player safety than the league or the players do.

  21. HabinBurlington says:

    If that was Crosby hit, would the league be reviewing differently?

  22. rljmartin says:

    I posted a long time ago how the objective of a lot of NHL hits was to injure, take him out of the game not just the play. Pretty annoying to see the NHL website post:
    “Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik drove Toews hard into the boards while he was trying to collect the puck. ”

    Right, a puck he had already dished off and the freeze-frame of the video on the same web page clearly shows Orpik leaving his feet to make the hit.

    Will the NHL do anything? Of course not, how could they if they accept a clear video, shown all across North America, of a player spearing another in the ass and oh well, that is just part of the game attitude. WTF

  23. frontenac1 says:

    Hola amigos! Orpik hit on Toews was brutal but clean. If it wasn’t Orpik or Toews in question we would even be talking about it. Toews is low, a 3ft gap to the boards with his head down looking at the puck? He was taught to not do that in Pee-wee.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Exactly.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Clean based on how the game is played today, and how it is officiated. One can argue it shouldn’t be deemed a clean hit, but as has been pointed out by many, todays NHL accepts that hit as clean.

    • TMan1969 says:

      The only issue as I watched the reply frame by frame was the fact that Orpik jumped up off the ice and then his full weight bared down on Toews…it would’ve have been clean if he kept his skates on the ice..he’s a good 3″ off the ice before the hit and 5″ during the hit…that’s the only thing I saw…

      Here is how it applies – note the word “jump”
      42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.

      Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

      “If I knew the answer to that I’d bet $10,000 on the game and retire from coaching.”
      —Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake after being asked if his team would win an upcoming game

      • Chris says:

        I felt that his leading skate was still on the ice at the point of contact, but he is definitely moving his centre of mass upwards, driving upwards on the hit. His arms are the giveaway.

    • New says:

      You’re never going to convince people who did not play contact sports. They don’t understand what happens. They’re also not lawyers so they don’t much care about the what “jumps into” means, only that they like Toews and dislike Orpik. Me too.

      The hit was done by Orpik but any injury was set up by Toews. Happens.

      • Chris says:

        I probably understand as well or better than a lot of the people who have played contact sports because i) I actually have played contact sports and ii) I understand classical mechanics extremely well.

        What drives me nuts is how often people cite things that aren’t even remotely possible as proof for their point of view. I understand that people think that kind of hit is absolutely legal, or at the very least a hockey play.

        I disagree. The rule is pretty clear: you can’t jump. Orpik jumped, as this is the only explanation that describes the collision. Therefore, it should have been a penalty.

        Throw in the violence of the hit, the fact that an injury occurred and the fact that Orpik is a reprobate that has a history of brutal intent to injure hits and you’ve got all I need to throw the book at the guy.

        Now, do I expect the NHL to see it that way? No. They embrace this kind of hit, even while talking a big game about how player safety is important to them. As I mentioned before, this is blatant hypocrisy. You cannot embrace a hit as violent and premeditated as that one and then rue the result.

        Should Toews have had his head up? Yep…playing the puck with your foot on a ring-around is putting yourself in an awfully vulnerable position. Toews was trying to keep the puck deep, and basically put no thought into his own safety. And Orpik, as predatory a defencemen as there is in the NHL, made sure that Toews paid for trying to make a hockey play.

        That is my fundamental problem with this whole thing. Toews is an idiot because he tried to keep the play alive. Orpik is innocent despite never once even glancing at the puck, basically lining up and obliterating Toews who was in no position to do anything and had in fact already given up the puck.

        It all comes down to whether people believe that pounding a player who is no offensive threat is a legitimate hockey play. I will agree that it is right now the way the game is played. But I will also argue that if the way the game is played isn’t changed soon, then we might not have hockey much longer due to what we are increasingly learning about concussions.

        Nobody is saying that we should take the physical play out of the game. I would just like to see the players be forced to be smarter about it. Rugby players rarely run around intentionally trying to obliterate one another because the risk of serious injury to the hitter is very high if they don’t use proper technique. Fighting is certainly not permitted in rugby. Yet few would dispute that rugby players epitomize toughness.

        • frontenac1 says:

          Agreed. Hockey isn’t Rugby. It isn’t Football or Soccer or Lacrosse. Fighting happens in both hockey and Lacrosse.Both of which are our National sports.
          Guess we like to scrap. I’m ok with that.

        • jimmy shaker says:

          Hey Chris….I am interested to see what your take is on Scott Stevens, and if his play over the years would classify him in the same regards as you classify Orpik?

          Shaker out!

          • Chris says:

            I despised Scott Stevens. He was easily the worst head-hunter in recent history, and he was pretty dirty with the elbows and his stick as well. Steven was also the king of the sucker shot, a la Milan Lucic, when players were engaged with his teammates.

            I will give Stevens credit for standing up for himself when the opposing team tried to take him to task for his crap. But he was so often crossing the line that I had no respect for him as a hockey player.

          • jimmy shaker says:

            Okay, thanks for that Chris.

            Shaker out!

        • TMan1969 says:

          I agree – jumps was the key word in the rule and I never try to glean intent because that’s too gray of an area to define

          “If I knew the answer to that I’d bet $10,000 on the game and retire from coaching.”
          —Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake after being asked if his team would win an upcoming game

        • New says:

          How nice to think about something other than which Hab player does not suck and why. :-)

          Rugby is mean. The scrums are violent, great spot to get even.

          “Jump into” means to me to leave your feet “to hit”. Leaving your feet as the result of a hit isn’t “jump into”.

          We see the play differently and interpret the rule differently.

          Someone should ask Toews. He isn’t prone to fibbing.

  24. Hobie Hansen says:

    People are injured on occasion when they are hit in the NHL. It could be worse, it could be like the NFL where a player is carried off the field every five minutes. Just like when people get injured by being tackled in the NFL, people sometimes get injured via a body check in hockey. It’s a tough sport.

    What are we supposed to say to Orpik? Next time you throw a hit make sure you don’t hit him as hard as you can? Slow down a bit more and hit him at 85% instead of 100%? Stop lifting so many weights? Change your diet? See an anger management therapist?

    It was a big, hard body check for crying out loud. If Subban or Emelin did that to a Bruins player everyone here would be saying it was totally fine.

    • Cal says:

      You can tell Orpik to stop jumping up when he’s hitting and to stop hitting his target in the head. It’s easy to do. Just bend the knees a little more.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        He put his shoulder down, put all his weight into his shoulder, went on his tipy toes (no pun intended) and the force of the collision caused his feet to lift off a bit. Standard stuff.

        • Cal says:

          Sorry, Hobie. Orpik has proven himself to be a cheap shot artist and the type that injures opponents on purpose, like that ex-Penguin Matt Cooke. If Lemieux is an honest broker, he will suspend Orpik himself.

        • Chris says:

          The force of the collision cannot cause his feet to lift off a bit. This is grade 11 physics, people. It simply cannot happen.

          Conservation of momentum: the momentum before the collision has to be equal to the momentum after the collision. If I’m going to get really technical, this is only valid so long as there are no external forces on the system (Orpik and Toews), which you can assume in this case. You can break it up into the horizontal and vertical components and treat them separately.

          In the vertical direction, your assertion is that the force of the collision caused his feet to lift off the ice. For that to be possible from a physics perspective, Toews would have to be driven INTO the ice to maintain the zero initial momentum in the vertical direction that you are asserting was the case.

          Now watch the video…does it look like Toews is driven downwards? No. You can’t have BOTH players increase their upward momentum after the collision if there was none to start with. You could argue that Toews doesn’t go upwards, only backwards…but he certainly didn’t go downwards, as his knee clearly doesn’t bend any.

          Orpik’s going airborne during the hit isn’t scientifically possible without him jumping into the hit.

      • jimmy shaker says:

        Never jumped in my opinion. Clean hit. If this hit was dirty, than you might as well just go ahead and take checking out of the game and have it like women’s hockey out there!

        Shaker out!

        • Cal says:

          Sorry, Shaker. I am for clean hits while a player HAS the puck. Like Emelin’s hip check on Lucic. Orpik was clearly late and the first part of the body struck was Toews’ head.
          It was a cheap shot intended to injure, and it did exactly that.

          What kind of game are we espousing when it’s a good thing to leave your opponent lying on the ice twitching?

          • jimmy shaker says:

            Lying on the ice twitching……no. I don’t advocate that at all. I think we are all just going to agree to disagree, and take the diplomatic approach. I can understand your point of view, but just don’t see it in that hit, and before I go and get carried away I just hope that Toews is back in time for the playoffs.

            Shaker out!

    • rljmartin says:

      For starters, they could tell him not to launch himself into the air like a human cannonball.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      Totally fine and loving it! Rinaldo tagging iggy yesterday was sweet as well. Iggy is a tough son of a B for taking those fists and still coming back. Still hate them all though.

      Shaker out!

    • Mattyleg says:

      As I said below, Toews didn’t have the puck anymore.
      That check, as with any similar check that one of our players make, should be illegal.

      IF you can’t stop in time once a player has got rid of the puck, then it’s charging.

      Here are the rules:
      “42.1 Charging
      Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.”

      Body-contact should be incidental to fighting for the puck, not the end result of a player’s movement – i.e. “lining him up”.

      Like in any other contact sport, if you have the puck/ball/bladder/whatever, then you are fair game for body contact to get it from you.

      If you don’t have it, you shouldn’t be hit.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • jimmy shaker says:

        There is a timeline where a player still is allowed to finish his check on the opposing player. I felt the hit was in that 1 second timeframe. To your first point, if Toews didn’t have the puck anymore, the hit would’ve been considered interference, but again, with the time so short in between Toews passing the puck and him taking the hit, the interference call is moot. Now to the charging take. This is rarely called anymore, but if you want to penalize him for making the hit and feel the need to, than fine. He didn’t take any strides in the last couple of feet leading up to the hit, he was just coasting (at a high rate of speed ming you) but I do believe to get that call the hitter has to be continually taking strides up to and into the point of contact with the opposing player.

        Shaker out!

        • Chris says:

          They’ve started cracking down on the long runs that players were taking for hits in junior hockey. The old “loophole” used to be that players would skate as hard as they could to build up speed and then coast for the last couple of strides to avoid the charging call. That old rule was than superseded by a new rule that redefined charging in terms of the violence of the hit instead of the number of steps that the player took immediately prior to the hit. This was put in place to close the gliding at high speed loophole.

          The old rule of thumb for interference was two steamboats: you had a couple of seconds to get the hit off. I think two seconds is probably too long, but it was certainly within one second for the Toews hit so I don’t see that one as interference.

        • Mattyleg says:

          I don’t think there should be a timeline.
          I don’t think that a player should be hit if they don’t have the puck.
          What’s the point in hitting a player who doesn’t have the puck, if not to injure him?
          In soccer if you challenge someone after they’ve got rid of the ball, that’s a foul.
          In football, anything remotely violent on the QB after he passes the ball is a foul.

          ‘Finishing the check’ is a myth that has just become accepted by people, and is based in this rule “The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession.”

          This rule is total BS, and has to be changed.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Chris says:

            The problem here is the speed of the play. They are given a bit of grace at the end of a play because they are moving so fast and it would be nearly impossible to pull out of the play in time.

            If you make it a penalty to hit a player after the puck has left, forwards will immediately start faking passes to get the defenceman stuck in no-man’s land, halfway between committing to the hit and bailing out of it. Then you just waltz around them.

            In this case, I would be surprised if 0.5 seconds elapsed between the puck leaving Toews’ stick and Orpik making contact. That isn’t enough time for Orpik to pull out of the play, so I would argue that it is not interference. But he didn’t have to go in that hard, and he certainly should not have been driving upwards on the hit.

          • Mattyleg says:

            Chris,
            The reason that the play moves so fast is the prime reason that players should slow down.

            If they are moving so fast that they can’t stop, then they’re moving too fast! Players shouldn’t be moving so fast toward another player that they can’t avoid hitting them if they lose the puck.

            I have no problem with forwards faking a pass to stop defencemen from plowing into them. Would open things up and make a more interesting game, I think.

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • ont fan says:

        Well there you have it. Good hit or bad hit? You can see by the posters who want Bruins hockey, except when its a Habs player who are ones taking the late hit.

  25. 24 Cups says:

    Was it Reid Boucher who scored the (only) SO goal for New Jersey this season?

  26. CJ says:

    Good morning folks.

    Some great discussion this morning. Was it clean, was it dirty? Illegal, legal?

    Has anyone been to the hockey hall of fame? If so, you will immediately notice the equipment and size of the players who played the game once upon a time. There were exceptions, but overall the players were smaller and wore significantly less equipment. In fact, much of the equipment was simply felt, with foam padding.

    The men who play the game today do so in peak physical condition. PK, as an example, is not a large man in today’s game, but he is 6′ and 210-220 lbs. These trained athletes are specialized and hit to hurt. They wear the equivalient to armour while they play and have a greater sense of security with the equipment they have on.

    Personally, with the value of having slowed the hit down to 30 frames a second, I can see how it might be considered illegal. Today, we have the value of deploying such technology and scrutinzing every call/play, made at top speed. The play goes viral and everyone and his dog now has an opinion. Truth is, the game is not played in slow motion and collisions happen in real time, at full speed. Toews, who is not a small man, made himself small and prone. Orpik did what he has trained to do – arrive with speed and force. Force meets mass and now we are left to analyze the damage.

    Clean, dirty, I will leave that for you to judge. I offered an opinion last night on the subject, which is no different this morning. If you watch something enough times you can talk yourself into anything – he jumped, the principle point of contact was the head, etc. Fact is there are so many underlying issues (size of players, equipment, speed of the game) – the only thing that surprises me is that these issues don’t appear with greater frequency.

    My two cents…. Cheers, CJ

    • Paz says:

      From 30 feet away Orpik knew it was Toews and he began to prepare that hit. He knows from experience that this type of hit could literally end Toews season, he takes aim, he moves to the target, and he unleashes it with his full force.

      It is a premeditated intent to injure.

    • Chris says:

      My problem with the hit is that you CAN see it was illegal in normal time. Both players end up moving upwards after the hit. That is only possible if Orpik jumps into him. And that is clearly charging in the rule book.

      Now, if the question is whether NHL officials call it then I can get on board with that discussion. They don’t, but should. It is another example of how we don’t necessarily need more rules in the game, we just need the referees to call the rules that are already there. The rules were put in place to protect the players, so it would be great if the referees would stop looking for ticky-tack crap to call and and actually call the obvious ones.

      If the referees had a basic grasp of physics, it would probably help. I’ve got “The Physics of Hockey” by Alain Hache somewhere on my shelf. Maybe I should forward it to the NHL referees association. :)

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Yes: “… it would be great if the referees would stop looking for ticky-tack crap to call and and actually call the obvious ones.”

        What they call compared to what they let go is always amazing to me.

  27. jimmy shaker says:

    Is that a picture of pleks in his car driving to tampa? Or maybe it’s bonner’s or stubby’s? So tonight’s light schedule. Here is our wish list:

    carolina over ottawa: just because we hate ottawa
    jersey over florida: because we want more teams to catch taranna
    peg over ducks: doesn’t really matter, cheering for Canada
    L.A. over minny: the more minny loses, or falls out of the playoffs (very unlikely) maybe vanek does a lot of reconsidering. (I know its a stretch)

    Who’s got a case of the Moonday’s?

    Shaker out!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Could be the replacement vehicle Hickey got after the Philistines destroyed it a few years ago in the playoffs. He may want to take that flag down if we meet Boston or Philly.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Minnesota is a very good hockey team that ran into crucial injuries and health issues with their top 2 goalies back in January.

      Their 3rd string goalie Darcy Kuemper was forced to start 25 games and #4 Bryzgalov another 5 games.
      It looks like they’ll hang on for a wild card in the West.

  28. Paz says:

    Orpik is a dirty player, a Bruin in a Pens uniform.

    There are players who hit, and then there are others who hit to purposely hurt the opposing player.

    Please give me a break about the “speed” of the game because it is total bull.

    If you or I were out there we would be shocked how fast it is.

    But for the pros, especially dmen, they are trained to act and react at that speed.

    For a veteran like Orpik, he is sizing up the situation, skating a long distance with one idea in mind, and then purposely hitting Toews in his practiced and mastered motion, specifically designed to injure. He hits with an award motion that starts at the shoulders and ends at the head.

    I have complained about Orpik at least 3 times on this site, but he will never change.

    Some players just never learn. It’s just not something they feel they need to or want to change.

    These are the players who need to be suspended for 10, 20, 40 games.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t disagree, but the league for all intents and purposes, endorses his style of play. It is up to the league to straighten this out, having Thornton beat him up, was never going to change things.

    • Phil C says:

      I agree the speed thing is total bull. These players can stop and turn on a dime. They know exactly when they are going to hurt someone or not, or at least when they are trying to hurt someone. Especially on the late hits. Players could ease off in a fraction of a second if they chose to do so. The game has gotten away from us and it will be tough to get it back now.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      Don’t see your take on that hit at all. Nothing wrong with it in my opinion. Toews has to be aware and have his head up. Sure it sucks you lose a star player but that’s hockey. I don’t share your view either on Orpik as a player that hits to hurt. Carcillo or Rinaldo or Downie I could put into that category. We don’t complain about Emelin and his ability to lay out guys. I say if the hit is available, take it. Sometimes that big hit can change the momentum and outcome of a game. In today’s game where you almost have to be 100% perfect in your timing, where you make contact, your follow through, if a player gets hurt, if they are in a vulnerable position etc etc etc, it’s pretty rare to see any body checks at all. Bottom line, good hit and Toews will not put himself in that situation again for a very very long time. Hope he can come back quick!

      shaker out!

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I agree with the assessment of Orpik, but….

      >These are the players who need to be suspended for 10, 20, 40 games.

      Players Union: aren’t going to stand for the players missing out on those game cheques.

      NHL: aren’t going to let the game become less physical. Check out the trailers and intros that the networks roll out – hitting, fighting, and a dash of scoring.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Yup, in fact I can just see that hit being used as a promo by the NHL and the various networks during the playoffs.

      • Cal says:

        As long as neanderthals like Colon Campbell and others of his ilk populate decision-making positions at the front office level, the NHL is doomed to be the WWE on ice. There is more money to be made getting away from Goonery on Ice Capades™.

  29. Old Bald Bird says:

    There has been a lot of good discussion on The Hit. Without reanalyzing it in detail one more time, this should be the kind of thing that we agree is brutal, and brutality should be curtailed. That we have become inured to this kind of thing is a little sad. There’s a line and so many hits cross it now that we have become too accepting.

  30. shiram says:

    Whatever happened to separating a player from the puck?

  31. Maritime Ronn says:

    There was a tweak to the NHL Rule Book this year concerning “Illegal check to the Head”

    What is strange is that there is no middle road.
    It is either a Minor penalty or a Match penalty.
    The referee is not allowed to call a simple Major penalty.
    ———————
    48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an
    opponent’s head where the head was the MAIN point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted.

    In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was
    avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall
    be considered:

    (i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the
    opponent’s body and the head was not “picked” as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward.

    (ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by
    assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full
    body check unavoidable.

    (iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.

    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/en/v3/ext/pdfs/2013-14rulebook-update.pdf

  32. Ozmodiar says:

    Orpik hit on Toews == “Hockey Play”

    I’m not saying I liked it. I don’t like all “Hockey Plays”. I can tell you if Toews wasn’t the victim, we’re not even discussing it this morning.

  33. Mavid says:

    Spezza finally starts to earn his cash, and McGuire is all over it this morning..how dare you bash poor Spezza..give me a break..how many giveaways did he have during the game… As I suspected, the Turds string together 2 whole wins..and this morning they still “have a chance”..Habs fans may be the hardest on their teamm but Sens fans live in a dream world…Yesterday they beat the flames in a game that they were totally dominated..and all three stars were Sens players.

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

    • CJ says:

      I heard that interview this morning. McGuire talks to his audience. He will say something different this afternoon on TSN 690.

      A walking contradiction….

    • Habs1962 says:

      yes … the fans just keep drinkin it there and thinking “next year”..”next week”, whatever. The GM has been there for many years with little to no success.. he would been run out of Montreal , correctly, 4 years ago…

  34. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    Why so hush hush ?
    ♂ or ♀ ?

  35. adamkennelly says:

    apparently Shawn Thornton didn’t make himself clear enough when he knocked Orpik out for being a dirty scumbag…

  36. Lafleurguy says:

    Robinson used a lot of hip contact. In those days, you risked injuring your own shoulders wearing flimsier shoulder pads.

    http://video.canadiens.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=121009

    • Chris says:

      I don’t like that he left his feet.

      But players were taught to stay low on hits…this makes more sense from a physics point of view. The more modern “explode into the hit” is harder to understand from a science point of view, and from a personal safety point of view it is reprehensible.

      I see it so often in junior hockey that the kids get their timing off by a split second and a hit that was intended to be a hit to the chest ends up being square on the chin or face. If they would have stayed low, the timing becomes a non-issue.

      The other problem with driving upwards is that it almost inevitably results in the arms being brought up during the hit. Robinson’s arms are pretty stationary throughout the hit, and his stick stays around waist level. When you see the Orpik hit, his stick ends up above his head.

      The arms driving upwards is the cause of so many of these hits where and elbow or stick is making contact with the head. The elbow and shoulder to the head are the biggest culprits in the concussion plague.

  37. Blade says:

    Morning, folks,

    I watched the Dodgers/Padres game last night. I find the similarities between the way Yasel Puig is treated by MLB players and P.K with the NHL players to be eery.

    Both are young and on their way to becoming superstars, both are confident, outspoken players and they are both getting the same treatment by other players, their manager/coach and even some teammates about “bringing it down a notch”.

    I am thinking that the root reason for all this is just plain jealousy. Being so good so quick in your career and being noticed by everyone
    just does not sit well with the majority of players and coaches who take a lot longer.

    The two players are very, very similar, though.

  38. HabinBurlington says:

    This hit on Toews by Orpik is quite the lightning rod. When i saw the replay the first time, my instincts said well that is a clean hit, we see it throughout the season and in the playoffs.

    We have watched the game evolve over the years, my earliest recollections of NHL hockey were just as the Broadstreet Bullies we beginning to make a name for themselves.

    The game of hockey has evolved from the occasional thundering hits to a game where every shift a player is doing his best to hit the opposition at every opportunity. Not every team plays with that exact mentality, but by and large the NHL has created a game wherein the goal is wear down your opponent, intimidate your opponent and while they won’t say it, hurt your opponent.

    I don’t say this like a person who now wants all contact removed, but I also struggle with a league who claims they want to reduce head injuries but at the same time allows players to wear virtual body armour and hit when a player is no longer playing the puck.

    We can’t just look at one hit and say “This has to Stop” either a systemic change happens or the game continues as it presently is. Our Habs have not been a big physical intimidating team for years, therefore I believe we Habs fans have become more aware of the changes in the game as it relates to physicality and how heavy hits are used to intimidate and wear down the opposition.

    Hate to see players getting seriously injured, but unless the game is changed from the top down and throughout all coaching staff, the game will continue and hits like Orpik on Toews will be accepted and players like Toews will come back eventually and be called tough players.

    I like a big hit, I like when our team dishes it out, I wish they were clean hits, but I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t say I would love to see an Orpiks type hit on Marchand or Lucic whom I feel have done this to many other players. It is becoming a blurred line for me.

    Having said all that, i would like to see the rules of the game called closer, but most of all i would like to see equipment changes where a player no longer doesn’t feel when he crushes another player or misses the player hits the boards and hardly notices it.

    I think once the players equipment became so good that players didn’t feel it when dishing it out, that the hitting changed forever. When I talk to players from previous decades they told you how sometimes their big hits hurt them as much as it hurt the hittee. Now players can run other players all game long. That to me is when the “Respect” changed.

    I’m not sure how much it was ever about Respect with regards to hits, as much as it was about not hurting yourself.

    The blatant head shots/cheap shots, well that is a different story. But the hit to hurt as been around for awhile now, and I don’t see the league changing it.

    • Cal says:

      I hate the “finish your check” mentality that means a player has to protect himself for at least 5 seconds after passing the puck. Only a bush league would allow this kind of bodychecking to continue.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Agree.
        They could tighten up that rule and better define the term “Immediately.”

        Rule 56 Interference
        ” Possession of the Puck: The last player to touch the puck, other than the goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered IMMEDIATELY following his loss of possession.”

    • Mattyleg says:

      Excellent post, Burly, and I couldn’t agree more.

      Checking when a player no longer has the puck is illegal, and goes against every rule in every other contact sport.

      If a player is unable to avoid ‘finishing his check’ once the puck-carrier has passed the puck… then it’s charging. It’s as simple as that. If I have too much momentum to stop or avoid hitting you, I am charging you; those are the rules.

      I agree about limiting equipment too; smaller pads would mean not only fewer body-checks, but also fewer blocked shots, which could mean more scoring.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  39. Hobie Hansen says:

    Brooks Orpik hit….

    I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be the guy making the decision on if the check was legal or not. Seems like pretty clean hit to me but it’s on a superstar so the rules bend a bit.

    First off, what is Toews doing? He’s going into the corner against one of the hardest hitters in the game. He’s hunched over, a couple feet from the boards and doing nothing to brace himself for a hit. He’s staring down at the puck for a long time.

    Oprik makes contact with Toews shoulder and head at the same time because Toews isn’t standing up straight. The big question is did Orpik leave his feet or did the collision cause him to lift off a bit. His feet lift off the ground because the upper part of his body makes impact and they are swept out from under him as a result.

    I”m guessing Orpik will get some sort of small suspension but I’m sure Toews will admit he made a big mistake on the play as well.

    • Steven Snell says:

      I think that’s a fair assessment, although I don’t think there’s a chance he’ll be suspended. This whole leaving the feet thing is a tricky grey area. As you point out, the feet are planted for leverage on contact and lift after as a result of momentum. It’s not a malicious Torres/Downey jump.

      • Chris says:

        The fact that his feet lift off after contact has nothing to do with momentum. He was jumping into the hit, the way that many coaches sadly teach their players to do.

        Toews certainly did not have any downwards velocity on the hit…he went flying up and away. That means that Orpik had to be jumping. And if you watch his legs, he starts crouched, is straight-legged at the point of contact, and then goes into the air.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          watched it a bunch of times…
          I guess you see it differently?

          • Chris says:

            Nope, but I do understand physics very, very well. I see the momentum explanation come up all the time in hockey, and it quite simply isn’t possible using the rules of physics.

        • Kooch7800 says:

          Remember when Ladd hit D’agostini? I remember saying he jumped into the hit and the NHL deemed it legal. That pretty much ended his tenure with the habs

    • Loop_Garoo says:

      I understand a player has to be smart and “keep his head up”, but what is so wrong with a player being able to be safe even though he is in a vulnerable position.


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