Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

It's not 16-0, but I'll take it

I did, in fact, rise at 4:59AM to catch Team Canada's 7-2 victory, in all its commercially uninterrupted glory. Surprisingly for the hour, I was in a good mood, and I didn't see much that would bring me down.

- The most disappointing performance was turned in by Olympic veteran Bob Cole. Jetlag's a bitch, for sure, but his call was weak even by his rapidly devolving standards. Most of us have made or heard the Bob joke that sounds something like, "Ottawa player, turns it over at the blue line, and the Montreal player moves the puck up the ice...". I think we're used to it. But at least once this morning I heard, "Puck covered up by the Canadian goaltender". Good grief. His name is Martin Brodeur, Bob, and he's there all game. No confusing number-checking, or anything.

- Todd Bertuzzi was probably Canada's best forward. He was credited with two assists, and presumably will be awarded a third if there's any kind of admin review of these things. Only Sakic was given an assist on Iginla's 2nd PP goal (where Bertuzzi was screening Muzzatti). Cole remarked that Bert should be given an assist for the screen; I'd suggest he should be given an assist for passing the puck to Sakic.

At any rate, Bertuzzi was doing his best Joe Thornton impersonation with some sweet touch passes. I really don't have an opinion on the merit of today's lawsuit filed by Steve Moore, but I do think he's paid his hockey price for that attack, and I want him to move on (on the ice) and help Canada to gold (and the Canucks to an 8th-place finish in the Western Conference).

- Iginla and Pronger were wearing the alternate captains' "A"s today, although I understand the letters will be moved around a bit.

- Thornton and Nash weren't quite clicking today, but they played well. I'll take even money that Nash pots a hat-trick at some point in this tourney.

- The combination of the big ice, unfamiliar unis, and changed numbers made it tough for me at times to figure out which players were who. [Why don't you shut up about Bob Cole then? -ed. Good point.] I thought to myself, "Who the hell is #6 again?" every time Redden touched the puck in the first period. Easiest to recognize: Pronger, St. Louis. Iginla, Sakic, Bertuzzi, Thornton, Foote, & Nash are also about instantly recognizable. I had a tougher time with some of the other guys, though.

- Regehr was essentially invisible, which generally means that he was doing his job. His +2 rating would seem to confirm that.

- Hey, guess which Canadian coughed up the only turnover that led straight to a GA? I guess if you were one of those people that said Bryan McCabe would be a defensive liability, you now have a supporting data point. I thought he was pretty good (other than that), though.

- Box score says Foote was the only Canadian skater not to register a shot on goal. Even with 50 shots, I'm a little surprised the distribution was so even.

- Up next: the Germans. Let's hope the lads dispatch them more comfortably tomorrow than they did in 2002 (a 3-2 final). Go Canada.

Comments:

I guess it can't be avoided on an all-Alberta forum, but I'm not a fan of the anti-Canuckisms here.
 


Re: Bob Cole.

Although I was throwing things at the TV when he got the score of the game wrong (numerous times), I was laughing my ass off when he got all excited about a scoring chance about 2:30 into the third period and blurted out "Sakic shits!"

Burninator
 


Nice post, Matt. If you're searching for topics to write about, how about figuring out the sum of the top teams' NHL player salaries. TSN mentioned something about team Canada having a $100 million NHL payroll.
If you're bored, that is.
 


It's been argued over ad nauseum, but I wouldn't call missing 20 games for almost killing a guy sufficiently paying the price. I also want to the case to go to trial, if only because I would like to hear all the facts. My suspicion is that Crawford and the Canucks deserve as much of the blame in this as Bertuzzi.

Anyways, it was nice to see the Slovaks beat the Ruskies, and the U.S. tie Latvia. Go Arturs Irbe!
 


I don't watch many Leafs games so I don't hear Bob's call of the game very often, but I listened to the whole thing this morning while the sun came up and he really was terrible. Half the time he did not know who the Canadian players (all players of the famous superstar variety) were half the time. Sure, Matt did had trouble recognizing some of them, but he doesn't make a pretty comfortable living doing this stuff.

And was I the only one who thought Brodeur seemed to be fighting the puck the whole game? The ones that got past him weren't that great and a couple of others did get past him but missed the net by this (holding thumb and forefingers close together) much. It was disturbingly reminiscent of Joseph's sloppy Olympic opener in 2002. Good thing it was the Italians and not the Czechs or mighty Slovaks.


Gratuitous legal opinion follows: It's hard to say what Moore's intentions are with his Bertuzzi lawsuit. He had to file something within 2 years or he would lose his right to do that. Two years would be up in a couple of weeks. He might be doing nothing more than preserving his rights. He might also be trying to embarrass Bert on the world stage.

He is apparently appealing the dismissal of his lawsuit in Colorado. That is where he really wants to litigate. His claim in Canada is not worth nearly as much.
 


First of all, are you seriously saying Smyth didn't make the "easiest to recognize" list?

Secondly, there's no longer any excuse for anyone to say casually that Bertuzzi "missed 20 games." He missed a playoff year in which the Canucks had a clear shot at the final, was banned from a year of play in Europe, was excluded from a World Championship, was fined $250,000, lost another $500,000 in suspended NHL play, irretrievably lost his status as probably the single most marketable hockey player in the Canadian media market, and was exposed to continual opprobrium in his native country that hasn't yet ceased. The financial cost alone to Bertuzzi is unquestionably well over $2 million.

Yes, I am a bore on this subject, but surely no worse than the kneejerk "it was only 20 games!" crowd (who will usually, within 30 seconds, forget themselves and be heard waxing poetic about how much a chance at a Stanley Cup means to a Canadian player).
 


Heh, I'm glad you saved me the trouble CC.
 


Uh, yeah, Smytty, forgot about him.

I'm telling you though, if they were all wearing ladies' active wear and those giant cannibal masks, it would still only take about 0.0087 seconds to recognize Chris Pronger on skates.
 


"...who will usually, within 30 seconds, forget themselves and be heard waxing poetic about how much a chance at a Stanley Cup means to a Canadian player."

huh?

The Canucks played seven games. That is it. It is a hypothetical to say they would have gone further if he hadn't been suspended. He could have hurt himself the next game, or they could have lost in 4 with him in the roster. The fact is, he lost 20 NHL games. Saying he missed playing in Europe is like saying he missed practice. Big deal. I doubt he lost sleep over missing out on a club title. As for his marketability, again it's speculation. The guy has always been an unapproachable hot-head; I find it hard to believe that he was or is more marketable than Iggy.
 


Sure, it's a "hypothetical" to say that Vancouver had a better chance at the Stanley Cup with its most feared player in the lineup. It just happens to be one of those hypotheticals that you have to be a halfwit to deny.

So is Bertuzzi's "hypothetical" lost income from playing in Europe. (Not hypothetical: nearly 300 guys chose to do this.) Brad Richards and Vinny Lacavalier earned $1.5M apiece for playing part of a season in the Russian Super League, and as a "hypothetical" bonus the money was taxed at a flat 13%. I can't see Bertuzzi being worth much less. Hypothetically.
 


I am sure Matt would agree that Calgary was a team of destiny in 2003, bound to wind it's way through the playoffs and end up (again) in second place. So you see, Bert would have made little difference at all, especially with Dan Cloutier between Vancouver's pipes.

But hey, I may be wrong to think that a) "most feared player" is a relative construct unsubstantiated by fact and that b) it is hypothetical to say he would have played in Europe, because 300 guys choosing to play over there does not prove that Bertuzzi would have. It's just as logical to posit that he only wanted to play over there because he couldn't, and that if he could have, he wouldn't have.
 


Bertuzzi has been Canada's best player, in my mind. Him and Thornton look like giants out there. In the words of Bob Cole, "you can't write this stuff."

I have no idea what that means.
 


So a suspension of any arbitrary length doesn't constitute a real punishment, because the suspended player could have been run over by a bus tomorrow anyway--that's basically your whole theory of the thing. We don't really know if it's costing him anything. Q.E.D.

This is honestly brilliant in its sheer Dada nihilism, but I do have one question: what other punishment other than suspending the guy was available to the league? As much as we might like Bertuzzi to be garroted to death or chemically castrated, I don't think it's allowed even under the new CBA.
 


My point is that saying he "lost" anything outside of the 20 games (and related money) he missed in the NHL is, strictly speaking, unquantifiable. Saying he missed out of other things because he was suspended, when he may have only wanted to partake in them because he was suspended, doesn't make sense. The only thing I know for certain is that he was under contract to play with the Canucks for those 20 games.

This just gets back to my whole point, which is that he got off easy. The league counted the year off as possible playing time, when it shouldn't have. It was a lockout, not a suspension period. The World Cup decision was made by Hockey Canada, and the European decision was made by the IIHF. Those are different suspensions. Todd Bertuzzi engaged in a pre-meditated and calculated attack from behind on another NHL player. He broke the guys neck, in the NHL, and recieved only a 20 game NHL suspension. As I said on my own site, that is less than what Dale Hunter got for hitting Pierre Tuegeon in 1993.
 


Dammit, I placed myself in a trap with the first argument, because by that rationale you couldn't quantify Moore's "lost" time either. I give in on that one. But the second point still holds. The NHL suspension was only 20 games.
 


Oh my God! Wait, I didn't know he was suspended separately by Hockey Canada and the IIHF! Who else did the son of a bitch punch?
 


CC,

If Bertuzzi did this, if the Nucks went further, if if if.

Like my grandpa used to say, "If your auntie had balls, she'd be your uncle!"
 


CC, isn't the point that the suspension was for 20 games, which -- relative to the on-ice offense committed -- somewhat short?

I don't care that he missed a legitimite shot at a Stanley Cup (although in my mind, they didn't have the goaltending to make it anyway). And I don't care about the rationales behind what Hockey Canada and the IIHF did (the latter whom just followed the NHL's lead, even reinstating him after Bettman and Co. did).

Let's be clear: He punched a guy from behind, jumped him and slammed his head into the ice. He and everyone on the team made clear something was going to happen, so it was pre-meditated. And he only missed 20 games. It should have been double that, at the very least.

You know, for a guy who's probably onside the Conservative push for mandatory minimum sentencing, you're going awfully light on Todd. If I'd been the judge at his hearing, I'd have sentenced his ass ... even if it was limited to house arrest. "No more looking for nookie in downtown bars, Mr. Bertuzzi -- you're going to have to have the ladies come to you."

As for Vancouver bias, that's not what this is. If George Larauque did the same thing, I'd wish worse things on him -- I'd want him playing with McSorley on some shit third-division team in Dublin.

As for Bob Cole, could someone please team him up with Keith Jackson and John Madden? Three barely-coherent announcers -- two of them who don't understand hockey -- would be perfect.
 


My argument all along has been that Bertuzzi was stripped of a lot more than 20 NHL games. After about three thousand words of debate you walk in and say "Gee, it's so weird that you think 20 games was enough."

Funny thing--I think I know who else Bertuzzi punched in the head now.
 


My ears are burning. Really. Should never have stuck those beeswax candles in them. Last time I trust medical advice from a herbologist.

My point is that the NHL suspension, the only one the NHL has control over, was for a total of 20 NHL games. You seem to think all the games he cold have played in Europe clubbing people over the head should matter to the NHL. Sure they matter to Bertuzzi, but the only thing the NHL should care about is NHL games. And missing 20 NHL games wasn't nearly enough for what he did.

The argument you're making is about unintended consequences. Clearly, the NHL should take pity on poor Bertuzzi -- if he'd known the lockout would last for the whole 2004-2005 season, and that breaking poor Stevie's neck was going to prevent him from playing with Moscow Dynamow, he'd have never done it. And clearly, he's suffered enough.

Well, score one for mighty Cosh -- the NHL brain trust agrees with you. What's more, I also think you and Bettman, together or apart, are a hell of a lot smarter than I am. I just don't agree with you, is all.

Me? I think Bertuzzi will have suffered enough when one of Moore's brothers checks him into the boards and Todd gets carried off on a stretcher. Or if Moore's lawsuit succeeds in bankrupting Bertuzzi. I'm fine with either.
 


Yet, Cosh, you've only pawned off potentialities, called them actualities, and veiled it all in the most fallacious form of argument: ridicule.

Let's just agree that we won't agree, and move on. For me, this is why the case should be heard in civil court, anyways. I would like an open process where all the arguments are heard, and "cost" and "loss" can be judiciously tested and treated.
 


Sure they matter to Bertuzzi, but the only thing the NHL should care about is NHL games. And missing 20 NHL games wasn't nearly enough for what he did.

This is exactly the point, I think. The lockout provided a weird twist because he was interested in playing in Europe but presumably every NHL player who gets suspended from NHL games for something like this isn't welcome in Europe-it's nothing new and it's nothing unique.

It's just that the NHL doesn't make a habit of handing out suspensions long enough for it to matter, or of having those suspensions run into a lockout.
 


It's up to you guys whether you are capable of swallowing bizarre extraterrestrial counterfactuals like "the Canucks are better with Todd Bertuzzi than without him" and "Bertuzzi could have made about a million dollars playing in Europe." I leave it to the fair-minded reader whether these should be filed under "stunningly obvious facts of the case" or "pawned-off potentialities".

As for the continued insistence that the IIHF and Hockey Canada's honouring of the NHL suspension somehow doesn't count toward a player's punishment, it's a simple matter. If it doesn't count, then there's no point to the reciprocal agreements and their existence is completely unjust.
 


Me? I think Bertuzzi will have suffered enough when one of Moore's brothers checks him into the boards and Todd gets carried off on a stretcher.

Somehow I think this scenario ends up with two (or more) Moores suing Bertuzzi. Their parents will be wealthy, indeed.

The thing is, if there wasn't a lockout, Bertuzzi surely would have been suspended for a lot more than the 20 NHL games.
 


Damn Bryan Mcabe better not mess up anything more important for Canada. He may be tearing it up on a crappy Leafs team but he doesn't truly belong amongst Canada's greats. Phaneuf would have been better suited. Tough to say as a Oilers fan.
 


There's only one assist awarded for power play goals in the Olympics.

And how cool is it that Jason Muzzatti is still playing professional hockey?
 

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?