Monday, March 05, 2007

Janssen's take

"I was committed to the play and I really had no other choice but to take the body there and I would have taken the body there one way or the other," Janssen said. "If it was at center ice, we wouldn't be talking right now, but it was against the boards and that's what did it. I hope he's OK with everything, but I was just finishing my check."

UPDATE Return date for Kaberle uncertain [The Globe and Mail]

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At 6:32 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger mike said...

"No other choice but to take the body", when the player has clearly gotten rid of the puck and is safely out of the play? What a ridiculous choice of words from a lunkheaded chump.

At 8:34 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Janssen has a role as an enforcer, but that doesn't mean he has to be such a jackass. It's totally unsportsmanlike to blindside someone like that.

At 8:57 p.m., March 05, 2007, Anonymous JTE said...

You've got to look at it from Janssen's point of view. If he doesn't hit Kaberle, Tomas skates right past him and gives the Leafs numbers in the offensive end. Considering that it would take Janssen about 20 seconds to get himself turned around on his skates and head back to the defensive zone, he had to hit Kaberle to prevent what would have been, in effect, a 30 second power play.

At 9:35 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

What I can't fathom is that, in a situation like this, why a player never apologies or admits any wrongdoing. If it had been me in this situation, I would simply say I had erred in judgment and tried to right the wrong.

It's absolutely obvious Janssen is in the wrong here. I've yet to hear one commentator argue on his behalf — and not just because it's a fourth-line guy taking out one of the top defencemen in the league.

These playground politics that go on, where players never admit any fault (except in extreme examples such as the Bertuzzi case), drive me insane.

At 9:36 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger Don said...

James - read Ken Dryden's column on "finishing your check" in the Globe back in March 2004.

A section:

"Finishing your check" is so familiar a phrase it seems it must have been part of the original game. It wasn't. It means, as a checker, going after the puck carrier so that even if he makes a pass, you keep going and run into him, too late to stop the pass, but not too late to stop him from continuing up the ice with the play. This is allowed. Indeed, it's a strategy coaches insist upon. Yet if a player is hit before a pass gets to him, this is interference, and everyone agrees. Worse, "finishing your check" rewards the player who is too slow to reach the puck carrier in time, and penalizes the puck carrier who is quick enough to make the pass ahead of the checker. Worse, it puts in physical danger the puck carrier who has to deal with a checker coming at him at high speed, and the checker who has to deal with a puck carrier with his stick up to protect himself. Or worse, it encourages teammates of the puck carrier to take protection into their own hands and "obstruct." All this happened because coaches decided it was a good thing for players to go hard at a puck carrier, and referees got tired of reminding them it wasn't.

What would happen if "finishing your check" was understood as interference? If a checker faced the challenge of getting to the puck carrier in time, or risking a penalty? If a checker was made responsible for his speed, if he had to have it under control, able to go in fast enough to make the hit but slow enough to stop or veer off? To depend on the legality of personal choice, not on the illegality of "obstruction?"

We need to see hits from behind and hits to the head for what they really are. We need to see finishing a check for what it really is. These and other plays are not traditions of the game worthy of protection. They have brought danger to the game. They have hurt the game.

At 10:43 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Instead of being the world's most boring politician, why isn't Dryden in the NHL front office. He might be tough to listen to, but his writing illustrates he's smarter than all the other yahoos put together.

At 10:49 p.m., March 05, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Thanks for posting that, Don. Because it's a little unclear, I'll just note that the last three paragraphs of Don's post are lifted from Dryden's piece.

At 10:38 a.m., March 06, 2007, Blogger ninja said...

I'll second that 'thank you'

At 1:15 p.m., March 06, 2007, Anonymous SabreMark said...

James, actually some commentators have insisted that Janssen was in the right. The NJ ones, of course. They argued with a straight face, on the day that he was suspended, that it was a clean hit. Maybe a little late. Of course, if it's "late", it is "dirty"!!

I argued in the sabre rattling blog that the NHL needs to adapt the NFLs policy on both hits to the head (verboten) and late hits (defender has ONE step to hit QB after he releases ball). This is so very common sense, that I don't expect any chance that the NHL will change the rule.

I guess we pay to see Chris Neil and Cam Janssen and not Chris Drury and Tomas Cabernet


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