Thursday, October 11, 2007

Boulerice facing suspension

Philadelphia Flyers tough guy Jesse Boulerice expects to receive a lengthy suspension after taking a match penalty for cross-checking Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler in the head Wednesday night.
Bob McKenzie has his thoughts here.
Ugly. Someone at some point is going to get horribly, irreparably injured in one of these incidents.

And there's a history, albeit not a recent one, for Boulerice. From the New York Times archives (July 15, 1998):
A Flyers prospect pleaded not guilty yesterday in Plymouth, Mich., to a charge that he took a baseball swing with his hockey stick and left an opponent unconscious and convulsing.

Jesse Boulerice, a 19-year-old draft choice from New York, was charged last week with assault to do great bodily harm less than murder to Andrew Long of the Guelph Storm during an Ontario Hockey League finals game in April.

The felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
UPDATE Well, this is the hot topic of the day. No one else is going to say it, so I'll put it out there: The one good thing you can say about Jesse Boulerice is that at least he admitted to, and owned, his mistake immediately afterwards.

The league ends up with an even bigger black eye when players try and deny culpability when they do things like this, as is almost always the case.

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At 11:15 a.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

MacKenzie missed the third thing that Boulerice has going for him:

Most of the media that matters were already in their Sidney Crosby pyjamas, sound asleep.

Happening late on the west coast will take a lot of the steam out of the media hype machine, seriously lessening the amount of pressure on Colin Campbell.

Mighty pathetic cheapshot though, and one that does deserve a heavy suspension.

At 11:31 a.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Two cheap shots for the Flyers already, and they're winning games. Talk about a return to form.

I hate the Flyers.

At 11:38 a.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

I'm definitely agreeing with MacKenzie on 20 being the floor on this incident.

If this kind of behaviour continues from the Flyers, do they start getting fined? 2 players with 1/4 season plus suspensions? When does it end?

At 11:59 a.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Video of the incident here:

Found it at Canucks and Beyond (via apparently).

At 12:13 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger HockeyTownTodd said...

Just watched the video, and noticed that right after the hit Boulerice was shaking his gloves off, ready to give Kesler a little more..

At 12:16 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) The bar has been set as this on replay appears to look much like the Simon on Holweg stick incident of last year. Therefore we'd expect a 20-25 game suspension, especially given this goon's past history
2) Unlike the Neil hit last week, or even the Downie hit this one has ZERO place in hockey. If you have a beef with a guy, be a man and drop the mitts and get it over with.
3) Its not fighting that hurts hockey, its goonery of this fashion that hurts the sport. We can only imagine this will be the ONLY hockey 'highlight' shown on ESPN tonight!

At 12:36 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

We can only imagine this will be the ONLY hockey 'highlight' shown on ESPN tonight!

Actually, I doubt ESPN will even show this. Playoff baseball is starting up again, and apparently Terrell Owens has proven to be literate.

Stupendously stupid move.

At 12:44 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Jeff said...

Would love to see someone try to defend this cheapshot.

BTW, watched ESPN last night and they did indeed include Vancouver/Philly highlights (after the Pittsburgh/Montreal and NY/NY games), and pretty much just showed the cheapshot.

At 12:50 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous said...

What this highlight misses is that Boulerice and Kesler had it going on all shift as well.

So include the premeditation factor on Boulerice's part.

To see the full shift highlight, go here:

At 1:20 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Considering it's a repeat offence with the stick, is there something wrong with banning him for life? And at what point does a team start to get fined for carrying these whackos in the first place?

At 1:29 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon got 25 games for a shot that was a heat of the moment retaliaroty shot. This sets the bar at no less than 30 games for Boulerice. Guess he can skate with Downie. Flyers may soon have a whole practice squad of suspended players.

Not a fan of ESPN, but when something this stupid happens you can't shoot the messenger. Did notice he was going to shake off the gloves too, what a moron.

At 1:43 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

Player suspensions - while important and necessary - are not the answer to this problem.

Its pretty clear that coaches and GMs are a large part of this problem - where if they don't encourage this behaviour they certainly tolerate it.

Holmgren is a case in point. Downie is suspended so what does he do - replaces him with another goon who has similar predilections to Downie's.

Assessing fines or suspensions against coaches or GMs won't work either. The team will simply compensate them for the fines or suspensions in other ways.

Instead, I would propose that in addition to suspending the player the league reduce the maximum salary cap for the offending team for 2 years by $1 million.

For example with Downie's suspension, the Flyers cap would have been reduced by $1 million for this year and next year. With Boulerice's suspension the cap would be reduced by another $1 million for a total reduction of $2 million for the next two years.

I guarantee you that if you did this the GMs and coaches would quickly lay down the law to their players that such actions will not be tolerated. Also, GMs like Holmgren would make sure that nut cases like Boulerice and Downie never make the team.

However, this will never happen, because the "old boys network" that runs the NHL is quite comfortable with this behaviour. Suspensions give them public "cover" that they are trying to stop the behaviour - but they know the suspensions will have no effect.

At 2:01 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger PB said...

A NHL player would think that with the other suspensions, a message would be received.

Clearly, it hasn't registered with anyone.

I think 25 + should be considered and even more since nothing has stopped these cheap shots from occurring.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they only give 15...and that would be a travesty.

At 2:05 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Forget a suspension he should be charged with assault. The puck is gone and Boulerice just comes in and cross checks that Canuck player in the head for no reason.

Jesus Christ.

At 2:47 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous PPP said...

Considering their approach to Bertuzzi shouldn't Canuck fans be defending Boulerice. Nothing wrong with assaulting an unsuspecting player without the puck.


Frank's idea is brilliant but as he notes too logical to ever be implemented.

Anonymous has a good point about the floor actually being 25 games and Keith hit the hype machine right on the head. Those two seem to be destined to lead to a shorter than deserved suspension.

Personally, I'd like to see 40 games at least. Idiots coming up the ranks need to recognize that past mistakes by the NHL (Bertuzzi, Janssen) aren't going to give them carte blanche to try to kill people on the ice.

At 2:51 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger Adam C said...

A couple of commenters noted this already: Boulerice was about to drop his gloves when he realized that Kesler was hurt. I don't think he was trying to injure Kesler - much like McSorley on Brashear, he was trying to start a fight.

I don't mean this to defend Boulerice - any more than I'd defend the Pride of Cayuga - but this is specifically why he was hired and what he is paid to do. He's a goon, and everyone knows this.

I'm sure that I'm flogging a tired horse with this, but the majority of these violent incidents requiring lengthy suspensions involve goons - far out of proportion to the number of goons in the league, much less their actual ice time.

If we can't have fighting in hockey without having goons, then it seems clear to me that crosschecks to the face are a consequence of allowing fighting in hockey.

At 2:55 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boulerice should be gone for the year. Who would care if he were permanently kicked-out of the league? This type of stuff is incredibly damaging to the NHL.

At 3:05 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do suspended players still take a roster spot and a hit to the cap? I think they do, but not sure.

At 3:20 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

They do not count toward the cap. From the CBA:

(c) For Players that are suspended, either by a Club or by the League, the Player Salary and Bonuses that are not paid to such Players shall not count against a Club's Upper Limit or against the Players' Share for the duration of the suspension, but the Club must have Payroll Room for such Player's Player Salary and Bonuses in order for such Player to be able to return to Play for the Club.

At 3:30 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous said...

I'm told I led people astray with my earlier comment for which I apologize. For a better view of the Boulerice cross check and the chemistry Kesler and Boulerice developed go here:

At 4:05 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous vadimsharifijanov said...

as stated by several people earlier, after the hit, you see boulerice about to drop his gloves. but they never come off, because as he looks down at kesler, he realises he's gone too far and kesler's not getting up to fight him. that split second between dropping his gloves and holding them by their ends is where we get the "I reacted in a bad way — the wrong way." this is in no way to defend him or his actions. he knows it; it was wrong. i'd give him 30 games at least. but he wasn't intending to injure, just to start a fight. (see adam c's comment above.) it's just these kids, particularly big kids with little skill who stick around the junior leagues as goons, are taught very early to play a certain way. in the heat of the moment, they sometimes go too far — a punch to the back of the head, a cross check to the face, etc. look at matt johnson's career ending hit on beukeboom. something needs to be done long before these guys get to the nhl. the fact that boulerice was suspended for an entire year in juniors and still doesn't know the boundaries speaks to a problem when these guys are 13-14 years old and playing contact hockey for the first time.

At 4:22 p.m., October 11, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Boulerice didn't sit out a full year after the incident in the OHL... he was signed by Philly and turned pro, playing in the AHL and ECHL while "suspended" by the OHL for his overage season. So he wasn't really punished much at all from a hockey standpoint, just the legal charges.

At 4:32 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the note on the lack of a cap hit. I'm guessing they at least lose a roster spot.

A cap hit would either further lower the "fighters" salary or make teams think twice. As it stands the team loses nothing. Suspended players should be forced to serve their suspension in the league in which they are suspended. Therefore you cannot move to another league to get away from the penalty.

At 5:16 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Dopitz4Prez said...

I just finished a post about this. I don't know what's gotten into the Flyers organization, but this kind of behavior is an embarrassment.

It's one thing to want to win; and win convincingly, but what good is it if it's all terribly dirty?

The people crying for a year suspension aren't aware that it won't matter. I'd guess Boulerice is going to be a Phantom for the whole season once Upshall comes back anyhow.

What Boulerice did was wrong, and now he will pay the price. But again, here we are, speculating about the length of a suspension. I think the kind of not-knowing is what makes punishment in this league a real joke. It has to be consistent.

And for the hardliners calling for a whole season, let's see what the league says when it's a superstar player that does something like this. Will the league be handing out Thornton or Ovechkin 20-30 games? I have no problems with suspensions, as long as they are uniformly enforced. But the day will come when the NHL has set it's own bar so high that they'll have to be hypocrites to maintain the bottom line.

The Flyers should also be aware that goonery is going to get them nothing but attacks on Gagne and Briere, and they really don't have anyone that can defend these players. The logic on attacks on star players as retribution for mediocre players is dumb, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

At 5:58 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

Here's how Boulerice fights *without* the stick:


At 8:07 p.m., October 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Flyers Fan i cant defend what Boulerice did. he should be suspended for atleast 20 games. Boulerice does have marbles in his head.

But the overriding message is that Flyers are back to being the Flyers. They aren't going to be pushed around just like they were last year.

I feel the league has made real accountability a joke, that is just the kind of message the Flyers & Boulerice needed to send. A team like the flyers is a team that nhl needs to get people interested in.

Atleast the Flyers Are 'Back With A Verngence'

At 2:13 a.m., October 12, 2007, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I don't know what's gotten into the Flyers organization, but this kind of behavior is an embarrassment.

Don't know what's gotten into the Flyers? The Philadelphia Flyers? That's who we are talking about?

At 7:42 a.m., October 12, 2007, Blogger mike said...

What a pathetic bunch of assholes. First Downie, now this....should be a fine season in the sewer known as Philadelphia.

Anybody surprised that with Goon GM Paul Holmgren that the Flyers have returned to their tradition of on-ice violence mixed with disdain for such basic decencies as sportsmanship?

At 12:02 p.m., October 12, 2007, Blogger NeuroJoe said...

It's funny (sad funny, not ha ha funny) how previous disciplinary action by the league has had very little effect on dirty play like this. Boulerice's hit isn't unlike what Gary Suter did to Paul Kariya back in 98 before the Olympics. Suter only got a 4 game suspension for his cross check to the face. I wonder if the 1/4 to 1/2 a season off that Boulerice will get is really going to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future?

At 5:11 p.m., October 12, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

How's 25 sound?

At 11:07 p.m., October 12, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

Awesome. Sounds like verngence to me.


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