February 18, 2004

Do star players need more protection?: (Sorry, I couldn't find a link to a video clip.) Although it happened a couple of nights ago a lot of people are still talking about the hit to Markus Naslund. Was it a dirty hit? Does the NHL need to do more to protect it's star players? Perhaps getting rid of the instigator rule is what's needed to fix this 'problem'... if there actually is one.

posted by camcanuck to hockey at 09:53 AM - 7 comments

I thought the hit was dirty. Right at the last second, Moore pops his shoulder out into Naslund's head. There was no way that wasn't done on purpose. I haven't studied the hit as intently as others have, so I could be convinced otherwise. But no, star players don't deserve special protection. What defines a "star"? Does that mean you can't hit half of the Rangers? What about Colorado or Toronto or Ottawa? The teams with star-studded lineups would be getting a lot of preferential treatment.

posted by Succa at 11:27 AM on February 18

I agreed that the hit was a little on the dirty side but Crawford's comment on Naslund getting some special treatment by referees because he's the leading scorer is ridiculous. Same rules should apply to every player, regardless of their stature.

posted by dfleming at 12:33 PM on February 18

In my mind it was a legal hit. Moore lowered his shoulder and hit Nasland in the head because Nasland was lunging at the puck. You want to lung at a puck in the neutral zone you may have to pay a price. I figure that cut on Nasland's face was from the ice rather than from Moore's shoulder IMHO the only reason this is news is because it was Nasland. If it's Bertuzzi hitting Moore it would be chalked up as a nice hit. A lot of people are complaining that regardless if it was legal or not it was a cheap shot. Moore saw an opportunity to lay out Nasland and took it. Well show me another contact sport where this wouldn't happen. A linebacker closing in a QB just as he releases the ball doesn't ease up because the QB is exposed. He levels him into the turf, especially in a tight game which means a lot in the standings. On a side note a pet peeve of mine is when players don't wear their equipment properly. I don't know if Nasland had his helmet on nice and tight, but it would make a difference. Look at Karyia in last years finals. He wears his equipment properly, gets levelled by Scott Stevens (a far worse hit than what Nasland took), and he didn't miss a game.

posted by camcanuck at 12:42 PM on February 18

It was a bit of a cheap shot, but not an illegal hit. The new rookie was clearly over-enthused and wanted to make an impact, and despite there being a small gap for a hit, I think he overextended it a bit on a head-hunting mission. And he *was* head-hunting, and the fact that it was Naslund surely did have something to do with it. What better way to make an impression on your new teammates than by knocking out the other teams star player? If anything, this isn't a good case to "protect star players" as much as it is a good case for the removal of the instigator rule. That stuff should have been taken care of on the ice.

posted by mkn at 12:58 PM on February 18

Kariya, not only didn't miss a game, he came back and scored a beaut. I know most ESPN watchers have been unable to avoid knowing about 'The Season' episode dealing with the Avalanche, but I wanted to give it a double thumbs up. Didn't see the hit, but it seems from the general reaction it wasn't the cleanest of collisions. But, Crawford can shove it. That's what I hate about the NBA: star players getting borderline calls for, and then not getting obvious calls against. It's so bad they bitch and moan because they expect a call to go their way...too often, imo...at least that's the way it was the last time I watched a game. Agreed, let the players handle the justice end of things.

posted by garfield at 11:33 AM on February 19

naslund doesn't think the hit was dirty. im a big canucks fan, i dont think it was dirty. it was cheap tho. and big stars shouldnt face this. lose the instigator rule, nhl. say what you will, gretzky might have been hit once or twice or more in his career, but guys like semenko made sure it didnt happen too often.

posted by owl at 08:43 PM on February 19

In a dirty economic argument, the stars do need more protection because generally fans want to see the stars. Jason Doig and Steve Moore or Eric Lindros and Markus Naslund? A player can have x concussions: Geoff Courtnall, Pat Lafontaine, Mike Richter had to quit after a few. Lindros and Roenick have cheated the numbers, but it catches up. Naslund's career is closer to the end because of the concussion. And arguably the star players are targeted more than are fringe players. But you're right, all the players should be equally protected.

posted by Philfromhavelock at 01:21 AM on February 20

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