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Asham surprised by suspension length, thought Backstrom’s cross-check was “a lot worse”

Apr 19, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT

Another day, another critique of the NHL discipline.

This time, though, the critique comes not from an organization (here’s looking at you, Washington and New York) but rather a suspended player — Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham.

The 34-year-old forward was suspended four games for cross-checking Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn in the face during Game 3, meaning Asham would miss the remainder of the opening playoff round.

On Thursday, the Pens forward expressed dismay over his punishment.

“I was surprised by the number of games,” Asham told Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I thought [Nicklas] Backstrom’s was a lot worse.”

Backstrom received one game for his cross-check to the face of Rich Peverley. In light of Asham’s comments, let’s do a video review of both incidents!

Asham on Schenn:

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Backstrom on Peverley:

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Not sure what constitutes “worse” in a discussion of facial cross-checks (both were pretty bad) but Asham punctuated his by punching Schenn afterward…so there’s that.

There’s also the not-so-tiny issue of Asham being the guy that put Jay Beagle to sleep — a clip with horrible optics that got a lot of airtime. When it came time to punish for the Schenn cross-check, it probably didn’t play into Asham’s favor that he was the instigator of another highly-publicized act of violence.

  1. bloggersarenotjournalists - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    You’re not a skilled player, you’re fodder

    Stop playing stupid, of course there is different rules for different players. The way it should be.
    What a 4th liner does to a 4th liner is not the same as what a 4th liner does to a 1st liner.
    When a 4th liner does something, do not expect to get treated like a 1st liner.

    This is how it is and always will be.

    Asham you’re an idiot

    • bloggersarenotjournalists - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      LOL all the thumbs down from Pens homers but nothing to reply with LOL

      Don’t worry Pens fans, Ill be saying the same about Rinaldo, actually I would be saying the same thing about Rinaldo today if the refs didn’t do him a favor and get him out of the game.

      2 Sets of rules kiddies
      Lots of shades of grey
      Accept it, it’s reality

      • fbothharbaughs - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        So why exactly should Asham have been suspended longer than Backstrom? Because he made “a gesture”?

        Unbelievably, he’s never been suspended, like Backstrom. Asham hit Schenn in the chest, Backstrom hit Peverly in the visor. You’d think a head shot would be more egregious, but guess that punch he threw didn’t help matters…

    • pepper2011 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Couldn’t disagree with you more. Boston fan, not pens. I was happy to see him leave philly. He’s actually not a bad player at all. There aren’t many teams that can consistently get double digit goals form their 4th line policeman. It was a dumb play, but he is markedly better than Rinaldo. Rinaldo and Sestito won’t be in the league for more than a decade I promise you that; and if by some miracle they are they won’t be near 100 career goals. Rinaldo has as many PIMS this year as Asham did in the last three. You talk tough, but your words indicate you know absolutely nothing about the game.

      • odj810 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        pretty much the exact comment I was just going to write. Well said Asham made a huge mistake but he is a pretty decent player.

    • mediatedviscera - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      Classless, to even compare which cross check to the face was worse…classless. YOU CROSS CHECKED A DEFENSELESS KID IN THE FACE WITH A STICK! WHAT THE H#LL MEASURING TOOL DO YOU USE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT?!?!?!?!

      • govtminion - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        You might want to try decaf.

      • HawaiiHockey - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

        @govtminion: LOL… this is why I spend the time reading the comments sections. Spot on. Cracking up….

    • pens5829 - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Kudo’s to Peverley for being a man and not laying on the ice and acting like he got shot in the back like Schenn. Much of Asham’s penatly was a result of a quality “sales-job” for the refs.

    • bmoreredfury311 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Couldn’t agree more with you. A$$ham doesn’t even come close to Backstrom level, skill and gamesmanship. And dumba$$ pens fans know it whether they admit it or not, if cindy did it then wouldn’t even think twice about it… Hey enjoy sitting on the bench for a well well deserved cheap shot you dumb monkey!

  2. mojosmagic - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Ashram you are dumber then a box of rocks. You are in the league for one reason and your lucky the punishment wasn’t worse. Do that on the street and you would be in jail.

  3. spavs412 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    First time he was ever suspended though. Ash has heart and he is a vocal leader for sure

    • mediatedviscera - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      Wait don’t tell me you are rationalizing that…i’d be worried to see how you contextualize his “sleep” move on Beagle…it’s morons like you. it really is.

  4. gianthatr - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    C’mon Halford….run a spell check first…

    legnth vs. length

    • drewsylvania - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      The bloggers here are great at spelling and grammar…compared to the tagline writers, who sound like Mongo.

  5. baritone49 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    BS. the Philly hit was the bad one! That Penguin was already engaged with another Flyer when the Flyer hit him. Penalty Flyers.

    I totally agree with the Penguin who stood up for his teammate!

    Sorry, too many names flying around this bit to keep them straight. But I think the refs and the announcers and the NHL made the wrong call there.

    • jelliot1978 - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:22 PM


      There is no rule that says you can’t check somebody because they are engaged with another player especially when they were mostly battling with their sticks for the puck. Schenn came down and laid a heavy hit, now they called charging on the play but most of the video replays are from the angle of the board so I haven’t seen if Schenn left his feet or not. As to sticking up for your teammate there are ways to do that and ways to not do that. Asham chose to use his stick in a malicious way and got suspended for it. If he chose to fight Schenn or some other means of it he wouldn’t have been suspended.

      Not sure if you realized this or not but Backstrom’s was in defense of Ovi as he was slashed right before the stick meets face incident.

      • bmoreredfury311 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        And how Boston was going for his head every time they got the chance. Refs sure ass hell weren’t going to protect him from the head shots, so he took matters in his own hands. Asham was mad that he got laid the F out on a nice hit and gave a cheap shot to the throat.

  6. drewsylvania - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Backstrom’s cross check was worse, in that Backstrom actually hit his man in the head with it.

    But you’re also being suspended for hitting a guy in the head while he’s lying on the ice.

    I do think that Asham’s suspension would have been cut in half if Schenn hadn’t been hurt/hadn’t milked it.

  7. napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Backstrom’s cross check was worse, but Asham’s blow to the back of the head when Schenn was face down on the ice is what did him in. Wouldn’t be surprised if the logic had been 1 for the cross check and 3 for the blow to the back of a vulnerable players head.

    /Penguins fan who wants Asham back, but believes he’s going to be wearing a different jersey next year.

    • baritone49 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Well, if it’s just for hitting him when he’s down, I guess you’re right. I thought the announcer didn’t even like him sticking up for his teammate. If that’s the penalty and suspension I disagree. Call me pro-retaliation, but I think it’s just fine to give the offender a chuck in case the refs let it slide.

      I’ve seen them call a penalty if a guy checks a guy who’s already being checked. That’s exactly what Schenn did, at full speed. BAD

      As for Backstrom’s cross check, he didn’t hit him that hard and they were both swinging. I think any suspension for that is fine, but more than enough.

      • maalea - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:55 PM

        Stick to watching the Stillers. The NFL has rules about hitting players while engaged. No such animal in the NHL.

    • bmoreredfury311 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      also another dumba$$ that cant admit that the pens never do anything wrong, everyone else is just a bunch of winers. A another wow is me pens fan… the league helps them out, Until one thing/mutlible things his four proves it. im glad you $hitburgers are so happy with another win handed to you. Go Philly

      • fbothharbaughs - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        Dude, where’d you learn to type/talk?

        The worst!

  8. malkinrulez - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Look about the same to me,punch to back of the head didn’t help asham . There definitely is different punishments for stars and grinders.

  9. canuckinamerica - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM


    For someone to post a message suggesting another person is dumber “then” a box of rocks, having 3 spelling and/or grammatical errors in such a short message would seem to imply that you perhaps are even south of that “box of rocks” thing.

  10. atteckus - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    There’s only one set of rules and it needs to be evenly applied to all players. I don’t think either “cross-check” to the head was “worse.” It is completely irrelevant whether the victim was injured. Attempting to cross-check in the head is an assault with a potentially deadly weapon, and merely attempting to do so is the crime here. I note that both Schenn and Peverley were actually uninjured as a result of these cross-checks (Schenn stayed in the game).

    I agree with Pierre McGuire. No true hockey fan – not the most ardent Penguins fan – could like the kind of hit that Asham put on Schenn. And no true fan should ever like those types of hits.

    Asham has a prior discipline history and took a malicious post-hit swing at the downed Schenn (albeit, it looks mostly like a whiff). Backstrom has no disciplinary history and did not add to the cross-check at the head. Backstrom should have gotten 3 games and Asham should have gotten 5 games. Shanahan is an inconsistent, pre-conceived, result-oriented, favorite-playing idiot. He is the problem.

    Until we get consistent and serious about applying discipline evenly, without regard to the result of the attempted violation (but on the intent of the violator alone), we are not going to get this type of wanton violence out of the game. And it must end if our great game is to survive for the long haul.

    • killerpgh - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      What “prior discipline history” does Asham have? Shanny even said in his video that Asham has never been fined or suspended. Both Asham and Backstrom have never been fined or suspended. Yet one player get 4 game for a cross check to the chest. And one player gets 1 game for a cross check to the head. That makes sense. And by Shanny decision to only suspend Carkner 1 game for throwing 7 punches on a defenseless Rangers than it’s hard to justify Asham having more than 1 added to his total for his half assed little jab to the head of a defenseless player. So to me it looks like 3 game to Asham for a cross check to the chest. 1 game for Backstrom for a cross check to the head.

      • atteckus - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM

        Perhaps it could have been worded better, not as discipline, but as having given hockey a black eye:

        “There’s also the not-so-tiny issue of Asham being the guy that put Jay Beagle to sleep — a clip with horrible optics that got a lot of airtime. When it came time to punish for the Schenn cross-check, it probably didn’t play into Asham’s favor that he was the instigator of another highly-publicized act of violence.”

        Asham’s “sleepytime” gesture after the Beagle KO was on the Nightly News all over North America. That’s not good for hockey or the NHL. That’s the kind of reputation-builder that gets one added supplementary discipline. He easily could have gotten the maximum $2,500 fine for that gesture, just as Ference got such for flipping the Habs’ fans the bird.

  11. pensfan29 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    im a pens fan but i dont just look at it from a pens fan perspective. Asham got suspended 4 games because thats all there is left in the series. Shanahan doesnt want asham going against philly more cause he is always involved. Thats the only reason why he got 4.

  12. michiganhockey11 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Asham, if you would have done this “stuff” 10-20, you would have left the ice to go see a plastic surgeon because your face would have been broken. You F’d up, shut your hole and enjoy watching the game on tv.

  13. mickeyb21 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I bet he says this because he hit Schenn in the chest–Not The Face! I can see 1 game for distance traveled and reckless behavior. I can also see 1 game for the throwing punches at a non-engaged player — like Carkner’s 1 game. I can see another game for doing the 2 at the same time.

    Asham is upset because Backstrom actually hit someone in the face and got 1. Carkner repeated punched Boyle while he was down and only got 1. Don’t see how it was worth 4 games compared to other suspensions this postseason.

  14. watermelon1 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Bruins take cheap shots after every whistle… Still can’t believe backstrom got suspended after everything the officials and NHL have allowed in that series.

  15. jelliot1978 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I’d have to think that a few things played into the difference in lengths. Key was the punch while Schenn was down the other key thing is Asham had to skate a good distance to get there, had more speed and had more force behind his blow. Backstrom got lucky because the guy was still on his feet after the incident. Now he did make more direct contact with the head but the force of the two was different.

  16. pastabelly - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    It’s no surprise that Backstrom starts this crap now that Hunter is his coach and Hunter excused the dirty play. It was a real cheap play because the game was ending. That wuss should drop his gloves. Asham is generally more of tough player and maybe that hurt him.

  17. j0ey15 - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Shannahan is an idiot there both the same check if anything I could see Backstrom getting 1 game and Asham getting 2 because of the extra punch and I’m not even a flyers fan… This suspension nonsense is getting out of hand it’s hockey it’s a very physical game and it’s the only game your allowed to fight deal with it or go play basketball where everytime a player is touched a whistle is blown

  18. thehighcountrybear - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Would love to see Asham sporting the winged wheel…I’ve seen him play several times in Florida and he brings serious game with absolutely no quit! With Babcock’s tutelage teaching restraint, he’d be a force that could contribute on the scoresheet as well. Tough as nails…

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