Friday, October 31, 2008

Lecavalier on headhunting

Time to crack down on headhunters

"...People who never before spoke out are doing so now. Lecavalier is just the latest good man to put his name to the list, and he chose a big town with a big stage and a big head-hunter on an opposing roster as the time and place to do it. In today's NHL, it takes a certain amount of courage do to that.

"Vinny Lecavalier doesn't just need to be heard, he needs to be applauded."

I don't usually read the Canadian sports pages. They're so Canada-centric that pretty much all they report on are the teams based in Canada. Despite the fact that half the team is made up of Canadian players, and despite the fact that all 30 NHL teams have Canadian players on them. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but there you go.

I also don't usually read the Canadian sports pages because the Canadian sports media has a clear and distinct bias against the teams in the Southeast Division. I can only take so much of the stuff they dish out about it for so long. It's just better that I avoid it.

However, I do read the Tampa papers online, and this is the first I've heard about this Lecavalier statement - and it's 4 days after the fact. As a matter of fact, now that I'm thinking about it, the reporters in Tampa haven't quoted Lecavalier very much at all this season. That's very strange to me, since the team captain is typically the most quoted individual on the team - including the coaches.

Anyways, good for Lecavalier for taking a stand, speaking his mind, and doing it in a very public manner about something that's wrong with the league. There ought to be more of that, frankly, when unfortunate things occur. Personally, I haven't watched much of Hollweg myself to say whether he's a dirty player or not. But Lecavalier has to play against these guys, so I trust his judgement.

I also happen to agree with him. It's one thing for it to accidentally happen - tall guy hitting a short guy, for instance (Chara hitting St. Louis, maybe?). But I'd have to totally agree that deliberate shots to the head are completely wrong and uncalled for - as are hits from behind. Most of the time, they're avoidable, so when they happen chances are decent that they're not a complete accident. And the only way to deter that kind of playing is to make the penalties very stiff, so people will think twice about it. A slap on the wrist does nothing but make the league look ineffective and mismanaged.

If you can't play according to the rules, then you shouldn't be playing. It's one thing to have talent, but completely another thing to have respect and integrity. If you feel you have to bend the rules in order to keep your position on a team, then maybe you're not talented enough to be playing in the NHL in the first place.

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