Posts Tagged ‘OHL’

Making Hockey Safer Means Introducing Body Contact Earlier

August 28th, 2011

Of course when you go months without anything interesting happening in hockey, news and stories are bound to be rough. The only thing to really talk about, as far as hockey stories go, is concussions. Unfortunately. I’ve even fallen into that trap. And not that I want to turn into a concussion blog, but after reading about Hockey Canada’s desires in this TSN article, I needed to weigh in. Again.

The TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version of the link above states Hockey Canada’s desire to see more non-contact minor hockey leagues developed. I see why Hockey Canada wants this. It makes sense. I get that some kids (and/or adults) aren’t interested in rough, body contact sports. But the reality is this: you won’t ever eliminate body contact and aggressive plays from hockey, especially in competitive/top leagues around the country.

In its simplest form, I believe there are two reasons why players sustain concussions in hockey:

1.  The player making the hit does something wrong.
2.  The player getting hit does something wrong.

I’d estimate that roughly 40-50% of concussions are the fault of the player getting hit. Yes, nearly half of the time it’s the fault of the player getting hit. Too often we see players putting themselves in vulnerable positions. Even in the NHL. I don’t think the players means to do this, but they do and it’s alarming.

» Read more: Making Hockey Safer Means Introducing Body Contact Earlier

8 alternative punishments for Patrice Cormier

January 21st, 2010

On Wednesday, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League revealed while they don’t yet have a punishment for Patrice Cormier, they expect to have one at some point next week.

While it seems odd the QMJHL would make an announcement to announce another announcement on Cormier’s punishment is forthcoming, it’s probably something they should take their time with to ensure the right form of discipline is handed out. Cormier’s punishment presents an interesting dilemma for Commissioner Gilles Courteau and the QMJHL. Courteau needs to send a strong message to Cormier, the league, and the hockey world that this type of play cannot and will not be tolerated. However, this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t make OHL Commissioner David Branch and his previous punishments look insignificant or over the top.

Since decisions like these can be tough, I’d like to offer some suggestions to Courteau and the QMJHL, should they require additional help or advice. Below are the top 8 alternative punishments for Patrice Cormier, courtesy of

  • Have Cormier use his elbow to iron and flatten all of Sean Avery’s clothes. Even the sloppy seconds clothes.
  • Send Cormier back to the World Junior Championships next year to learn how to properly captain a Canadian hockey team. While he’s there, maybe he can keep Pierre McGuire from ‘unleashing’ any more Taylor Hall-ice cream quotes.
  • Have Cormier deliver a similar elbow-shot to the President of NBC for extending Jay Leno’s career after we thought he might finally retire.
  • Have Cormier play for the Toronto Maple Leafs so he can learn how true pugnacity is played. Fact: I had as much trouble typing that as you did reading it…
  • In a cross-promotional effort, have Cormier deliver another similar elbow-shot in a WWE fight to help promote Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new hockey movie, “The Toothfairy”.
  • Have Cormier watch the world’s worst movie once a day, every day for as many days as Mikael Tam takes to fully recover. Of course, the movie I’m referring to is Garden State.
  • Have Cormier deliver two more elbow-shots to Alex Burrows and Stephane Auger for making hockey fans hear more crying and moaning from sports “professionals” than found in an episode of Jersey Shore.
  • Immediately promote Cormier to the NHL to play for Pat Quinn and the Edmonton Oilers. That in itself should be punishment enough.

Stay classy, Gilles Courteau and the QMJHL.

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Questionable hit and even more questionable suspension

November 5th, 2009
Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers' status has b een upgraded from critical to stable (but serious)

Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers' status has b een upgraded from critical to stable (but serious)

Not to say I don’t feel sorry for Ben Fanelli after taking a monster hit from Michael Liambas. Fractured skull, fractured orbital bone, lacerations on his face. Large blood loss on the ice from having hit his head on the metal stanchion along the glass. He wasn’t even able to breathe on his own until the day after the hit.

Yesterday, we learned that OHL Commissioner David Branch has suspended Liambas for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. At age 20, Liambas’ junior career is effectively over.

I’m not sure the suspension is warranted. Let’s break down the video:

  1. Liambas never leaves his feet. There is certainly a lot of ice covered before he hits Fanelli, but at worst, it is a boarding or charging call. His last stride is just below the face off dot.
  2. Fanelli’s goalie created a screen. Try watching the video and imagine seeing what Fanelli saw before he gets hit. I’m not sure he even saw Liambas coming, since he was too busy reversing the puck the other way. The goalie inadvertently creates a screen and Fanelli never has a chance to protect himself. Was Fanelli thinking that Liambas would not run the goalie so it should have been a pick play?
  3. Fanelli does not appear to have situational awareness. Stop the video at the six second mark. Look at where Fanelli is as he skates towards the puck which his goalie has stopped. He should have seen Liambas on his right side.
  4. Reversing the puck. At the eight second mark, you’ll see Fanelli almost over-skate the puck so it is in his skates. He has to look straight down to find it again, and then reverses it the other way. By this time, Liambas is right on top of him. Of course in order for him to reverse the puck, he practically has to turn his back to Liambas. As a left hand shot, he could have backhanded it around the net and still would have been facing Liambas.
  5. Helmet popping off. Not sure about this, but I’m willing to guess his helmet chin strap was not done up properly. By the way, earlier media reports indicated that his helmet cracked on impact. Apparently, the helmet was intact — in fact the visor was damaged.
  6. Size differential. Fanelli is 6 ft, 175lbs. Liambas is 5 ft 9in, 204 lbs. All that weight, plus something called momentum. Also, Liambas is 4 years older than Fanelli. All things being equal, that’s four more years of hockey.
  7. Perfect storm of circumstances. Fanelli’s head is right where the stanchion sits. He reverses the puck so his back is to Liambas. Helmet pops off. Visor shatters. If this was a hit along any other part of the boards; if his helmet stays on; if Fanelli has his head up and can protect himself from the hit; if…

A short 10 game suspension, maybe, for the charging. No way I would have suspended him for the entire season. If Branch was trying to send a message to the league, he has certainly done just that.

Stay classy, Ben Fanelli. We’re hoping for your full recovery.

Way to go Ottawa, not you Senators

January 7th, 2009

I watch a lot of hockey, infact, probably too much at times. Too much as in, Daniel Alfredsson tries to do too much on occassion, or too much chocolate can make you sick, or as in Fallout Boy wears too much make up. You get the point.

I’ll watch anything from Junior hockey all the way to NHL and everything in between – even the Ottawa Senators. Ouch, eh? But before the loyal fans of the Nations Capital start giving me grief about our beloved Sens, let me tell you I’ve been a Senator fan since their reincarnation, back in 92. I was there to witness the years of 9 wins in 82 games and was proud to see their Stanley Cup appearence two distant summer’s ago.

Since then, we’ve seen the Sens fall harder than Ron Burgundy’s brief hiatus from Anchorman extraordinaire/personal hero (you may notice a theme here) duties in the the summer of 2004. Only difference is, Ron recovered whereas our Sens haven’t…yet. Oh, and I don’t think Alfie likes warm milk… Or maybe he does and I’m being presumptuous of the Sweedish kind. Speaking of Sweeds recovering, I hope Mats finds his return to hockey life quickly. I can’t bare another Sundin story this year.

So here’s a few things I think are wrong with the Sens. I swear these aren’t written in our reputable papers here in Ottawa either.

1. Chris Phillips
Talk about someone who’s gotten way too comfy somewhere. I’m not a fan of trading someone just because of a slow first half. I respect the value of Phillips and the leadership he brings to this team. But right now, it’s not there. Chris is a former first round draft pick, he knows hockey, and has been around it longer than I’ve been alive. That said, I wonder where his offensive anticipation has gone. He’s not holding pucks in the offensive zone (especially on powerplays) as well as he use to and he’s taking longer to fire shots from the point. I know he’s been heavily counted on for his defensive skills over the years, but now he’s being asked to step up outside his comfort zone and I think that’s fair. He’s a verteran and needs to be accountable to that. He’s an assistant captain and the excuses are wearing thin. I’m not saying he needs to contribute Wade Redden numbers, but I do think its fair to ask him to provide a presence on the point to force our opposition to better cover our points and give more room for our ailing forwards.

2. Christoph Schubert
Shoot lower. I’m scared his booming shot will kill one of our forwards. Most of our forwards don’t go to the net enough and he’s giving them a good excuse to continue that. That should show you how much heart Nick Foligno has. Seems the emphasis from Schubby is to shoot as hard as possible, garnering little control. I don’t want to see Mike Fisher’s good looks lost to the next big shot either. I still haven’t met Carrie yet. I think having Schubs infront of the net on powerplays could be handy, ala Jacques Martin’s Zdeno Chara strategies from years past.

3. Daniel Alfredsson
It pains me to say this, as this guy is nearly the perfect hockey player, but I think Alfie needs to go back to basics and stop doing too much. I believe he’s burning out from trying to take on too much (see his bad line change in the NJ game on Sunday). He’s often seen compensating for the defences inability to execute crisp breakouts curling backwards back into the defensive zone to make that first pass. It’s cost the Senators dearly in fatal turnovers in recent games to Philladelphia, Vancouver, and Edmonton.

Finally, a few thoughts from the last few days of hockey, both IIHF and the NHL:

  • Oshawa Generals forward and newly appointed King of Canada, John Tavares apparently has a no trade clause in what looks to be his final Junior year (OHL). Exactly how does an 18 year old get a no trade clause? On a similar note, upon birth, my future children will be given no movement clauses from my family. Beat that, Johnny…
  • Alexander Semin’s “fight” with Marc Staal over the past weekend reminded me of a drunk Wilma Flintstone playing the bongo’s in a really bizare 80s hair metal way. Take that Tommy Lee. In short, it was sad and pathetic. E for effort though.
  • Was it me, or did Sens owner Eugene Melnyk enjoy Team Canada’s WJC victory a little too much? What was he doing in the team pictures and why couldn’t he stop hugging PK Subban? Great NHL owner though – MLSE, he cares: take notes.
  • Rogers Sportsnet have terrible intermission hosts. Whether its Jason Portuando or Rob Faulds, I just can’t take it. Let Mike Brophy speak for the entire segment or cut to Garry Galley laughing about the Jaarko-bite. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I’m sure Andrew Peters would agree with me. But seriously, a friend said Ottawa’s newest bad-boy has a new nickname:  Ruutooth. Love it.
  • Who has a larger gap in their teeth: Alexander Ovechkin or Madonna? Seriously.
  • Sometimes characterized as emotionless, conservative, and boring (no I’m not talking about Avril Lavigne… but she does have pink hair now, right?), Ottawa’s hockey fans were terrific throughout the IIHF’s 2009 World Junior Championships. They were crazy, loud and passionate. Take that, girlfriend.

Until next time good readers.

Stay classy.
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