FanDuel - WFBC

March 21, 2004

"Maybe somebody has to die before we learn." -- Teemu Selanne, responding to Wade Belak's two-handed slash to Ossi Vaananen's face during Saturday's Leafs-Avalanche game

posted by rcade to hockey at 08:31 PM - 21 comments

He should definitely be suspended for the rest of the season. And the playoffs. But then, I'm a Leaf fan so any reason the Leafs can save money AND not play that piece of crap is a good reason. That said, they make it sound like he was trying to slash him in the face. In slow motion, it looks exactly like that. But when you watch the play in normal speed, the stick swings that way because he's trying to correct his balance after getting pushed in the back of his leg by Vaanenen (or simply loses his balance because he's a goon on skates). He over-compensates his loss of balance and the stick comes all the way around. If Vaanenen had been a little closer, it would have been an elbow shoulder/chest and the play would have continued without anyone noticing. That said, there is no reason for him to have his stick so high in the first place. I'm not in ANYWAY condoning what Belak did. In fact, if it was purely a fluke/accident, he should still get a big suspension. The only way to make players keep the stick down is to let them know that EVERY offence is a serious one, accidental or otherwise. If the stick is on the ice/low, then nothing bad can happen. Oh, and I hope the league, union and Don Cherry noticed how important it was to be wearing a visor.

posted by grum@work at 10:06 PM on March 21

why are you defending this fiend grum?

posted by owl at 11:28 PM on March 21

I don't like Belak as much as the next guy, but it was relatively accidental. Surely, he should have been more careful with the stick and he should pay the price for this recklessness... but this doesn't deserve a Bertuzzi-esque suspension. Not even close. If anything, Oliwa's end-of-game melee yesterday in the Calgary-Nashville game was worse. But that was as much a fault of the coach then anything (and I believe that it was Walker that further precipitated the incident.)

posted by mkn at 12:41 AM on March 22

I wonder about the "relatively accidental" thing. In football, the facemask penalty is invoked without consideration about whether it was intentional or incidental (and, in fact, in many cases appears to be the latter; a player's flailing hand connects with a mask). The penalty is there to give players a strong incentive to avoid a situation that could result in serious injury -- not just to refrain from doing it deliberately, but to take care that it doesn't happen accidentally, as well. That seems like a sensible rationale to me.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:38 AM on March 22

why are you defending this fiend grum? Did you read everything that I wrote up there? He should definitely be suspended for the rest of the season. And the playoffs. and I'm not in ANYWAY condoning what Belak did. and The only way to make players keep the stick down is to let them know that EVERY offence is a serious one, accidental or otherwise. should be good indicators that I'm NOT defending what he did. However, I was correct in pointing out that the full-speed viewing of the incident shows that it was accidental, not deliberate. His left leg goes WAY up in the air before he swings his body around to compensate.

posted by grum@work at 07:24 AM on March 22

sorry, grum that was only a joke...thought it would be obvious.

posted by owl at 08:50 AM on March 22

mkn: I would like to know why you thing Oliwa's end-of-game melee yesterday in the Calgary-Nashville game was worse. Yes he man handled a referee, but he actions arn't going to kill one (unlike a 2 hander accross the head). Oliwa's 3 game suspension is fair, although a couple more might not have been out of line given he is a repeat offender. Belak should be gone for 10 at least.

posted by camcanuck at 09:30 AM on March 22

Worse in terms of intent. Sutter's intent, most likely. That comparison is moot, though, as the real offence was yesterday. Man that was a nasty spear by Messier. You can't say *that* was an accident. So, if anything, Messier deserves a longer suspension than Belak, in my opinion. Anyway, *shrug*, Leafs can do without Belak.

posted by mkn at 09:35 AM on March 22

Agreed about Messier. That looked brutal. And he's been on the giving and receiving ends of enough shots that he should know better. Belak? I believe that was an accident, because frankly I don't think he has enough natural balance to take that swing on purpose. Belak doesn't belong in the NHL, not because of his dirty play, but because he's not all that good. (You don't correct your balance by swinging your stick over your head. They beat that out of you at the Pee Wee level. Jeezus.) And true, mkn, the Leafs definitely don't need him to make their run.

posted by chicobangs at 09:57 AM on March 22

"Maybe somebody has to die before we learn." Do we get to nominate the one that dies?

posted by MeatSaber at 10:07 AM on March 22

In football, the facemask penalty is invoked without consideration about whether it was intentional or incidental (and, in fact, in many cases appears to be the latter; a player's flailing hand connects with a mask). Actually, they do differentiate, by making the penalty either five or 15 yards depending on whether the ref thinks the mask was intentionally grabbed, or it was just an accident. The determining factor is usually whether the grabber attempts to let go once he realizes where his hand is. Does anyone have video of this hit? I haven't been able to find it, and I don't want to comment until I see it.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:48 AM on March 22

Belak should be forced to be double-shifted in every Leaf game for the rest of the year and the playoffs.

posted by Succa at 11:02 AM on March 22

sorry, grum that was only a joke...thought it would be obvious. And that's what I get for responding before 9am. My brain wasn't in full gear.

posted by grum@work at 11:27 AM on March 22

i'd like to see it before really making up my mind but I can't recall reading anything that suggested this was done with intent or malice (the inference of the match penalty not withstanding). So, if this perhaps brutal but ultimately non-injuring act was accidental would all the thoughts about him being worthy of a suspension or punishment also apply to the brutal but injuring accidental act three years ago when Marian Hossa accidentally got a stick in Bryan Berard's face and wrecked his eye? Still, not having seen it but aware of the current climate I think it sounds like a game or two suspension for carelessness would be apropos even if I also think that an accidental act doesn't necessarily deserve a suspension.

posted by gspm at 12:15 PM on March 22

McKenzie: "Bad Timing, Belak"

Wade Belak is going to get his hearing on Monday with Colin Campbell. It was more of a reckless act than a malicious act, but it's not great timing, either. Remember, Brad May got 15 games for slashing shortly after Marty McSorley's incident with Donald Brashear. I'm not suggesting Belak will get that, but it could be stiff. Mark Messier is also going to be on the carpet for a spear in Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.

posted by mkn at 12:18 PM on March 22

Belak got 8 games...yowza. Can't say I disagree with the ruling.

posted by Succa at 06:00 PM on March 22

So, the rest of the regular season, then. Which is ultimately more than that, because he wasn't going to see more than 5 minutes a night in a playoff game no matter what he did. And Quinn won't throw him in even that much if he's gone cold for two-plus weeks. 8 games is a lot pre-Bertuzzi, but this week that's about right.

posted by chicobangs at 06:42 PM on March 22

Two games for Messier? Two?! I know that Colin Campbell played with Messier before... but still. For this post-Bertuzzi era, two games isn't about right.

posted by mkn at 08:30 PM on March 22

Won't someone think of the children? Not sure if all of you have seen it already, but this article from the Oakland Tribune just about sums up the "hockey violence out of control" thing for me.

posted by Samsonov14 at 11:43 PM on March 22

Pretty funny, Sam, but my God does that paper not have a web designer? My eyes are fatigued from trying to follow a lengthy column with no breaks for paragraphs.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:40 AM on March 23

I'm with you Sammy. ESPN's coverage of "Bertuzzui-gate" has to be the most uninformed hysterically bad 'expert opinion' I've seen. People who believe what they read deserve to continue being told what to think. As for Belak, I know I'm not alone when I think that the Leafs won't make it past the first round now. Number 2 has been gangbusters since the trade deadline, I don't know what came over him. Player of the week, getting 30 minutes a night. What many of you don't realize is, in fact, that Wade Belak is the "Total Package". Plays forward or defense and does everything - (minus the stickhandling, skating, shooting, scoring, passing, playmaking and zone coverage)- I think Colin Campbell is a Bruins fan.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:27 PM on March 23

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