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Hockey world reacts to controversial Steve Bernier check

Jun 11, 2012, 10:08 PM EDT

Steve Bernier AP

The 2011 Stanley Cup finals had Aaron Rome‘s hit on Nathan Horton, yet this year’s unforgettable – and controversial – hit might just top that. New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier‘s check from behind on Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi resulted in an ejection for Bernier, a five-minute major for his team to kill and eventually three goals for the Kings.

Naturally, it also generated a ton of chatter among hockey fans and experts. Here’s a collection of some of the most interesting Twitter reactions.

Burning Bernier

Even minor mistakes tend to generate some great Twitter quips, so one can only imagine the mockery Bernier produced tonight. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but Down Goes Brown’s James Bond-inspired punishment was one of the highlights:

“Breaking: Steve Bernier has been suspended. Not by Brendan Shanahan – by his teammates, with frayed wires, over a tank of sharks.”

To little surprise, many made sarcastic jokes about Bernier deserving a bizarro Conn Smythe. Jason Botchford probably brought the deftest touch to that meme, though.

“Bernier takes his run at Conn Smythe. Late, of course, and from behind.”

In less sardonic Tweets, Corey Masisak expresses some sadness that the Devils’ great fourth line play will likely be overshadowed by that check.

Spreading the blame

One thing that could easily get lost in the Bernier-blaming shuffle is that – obviously – he wasn’t on the ice as the Devils’ vaunted PK allowed three goals during that major penalty. With that in mind, people such as Seth Rorabaugh didn’t just throw the referees or Bernier under the bus.

Regardless of the validity of Bernier’s penalty, you can’t give up three goals on a major in an elimination game. Just inexcusable.

The old guard

At least two former NHL players believe that Bernier’s hit wasn’t that bad. Wes Walz watched multiple replays of the check and concluded that Bernier didn’t have time to slow down. Theo Fleury was even more adamant about Bernier’s raw deal, though.

“What a *****y ending to a great playoffs. A hit like that in the old days would’ve got you the Conn Smythe trophy.”

Fleury represented the faction of observers who felt that Scuderi put himself into a vulnerable position during that hit. Speaking of which, judge for yourself by watching video of the check below:

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So that’s a solid cross-section of the many opinions spewed over perhaps the most memorable moment of the series. Feel free to share the funniest, most poignant and/or strangest thoughts you’ve seen in the comments – even if they’re your own.

  1. gettingpwned - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Doesn’t matter if people like it or not, in today’s NHL that call had to be made.

    • comradeast - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Sad but true

  2. billysmithny - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    No penalty had the refs called a penalty on the Gionta hit. Oh but the little guy did not hollywood it so no call. No call on Penner for punching a Devil but later on Penner gets 2 minutes for checking. Wow where did the refs come from? And since when can a ref bleed and stay on the ice. Has the game gotten too fast for officating?

    • stakex - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      There were some bad/missed calls both ways, there is no doubt about that. However this hit was a clear 5 minute call in todays league. Like it or not, thats the NHL we have today.

  3. quonce - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    If Clarkson is called for boarding on Brown in previous game, and these are the same officials, stoll hit on gionta was a 2 minute minor, scuderi touches the puck, whistle blows, bernier never arrives. Devils pp.

    Instead a 5 min major the other way.

    8-1 pp opportunity in favor of kings in this game, or close to that.

    A pick by the lineman who had 4-5 strides to move.

    and a replacement ref in the third, but not for the injured racicot.

    Its 1-1 late in the third if that call is made correctly and the kings were still allowed to play their game being up 4-1.

    Look at that play and call it correctly and tell me how this game isn’t played differently.

    • imleftcoast - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      Agree that Stoll should have gotten two. Typical that the refs make up for a blown call by penalizing the team that should have gotten the power play. No accountability.

      Botchford has my vote for hack of the year. Piling on when Bernier is playing the way he needs to for the Devils to win, and it’s not even funny.

    • hrudey - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      At one point in game 3, the Devils were awarded their 12th power play of the series, while the Kings had only had 3. The Kings went out and killed that penalty (the sixth consecutive power play the Devils had in game 3) just like every one before that.

      The Stoll hit could have been called. It wasn’t. The Bernier hit had to be called as a major, and it was. The Devils could have killed the penalty, or limited the Kings to one, or limited them to two, but they didn’t. There is not a place on the Stanley Cup where the names Woulda, Coulda, or Shoulda are engraved and they’re not about to be now – it’s about what you do and what you earn and the Devils earned second place.

  4. lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Well Fleury has just made himself a strong candidate for “crotchety old fogey” award.

  5. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Don’t know that much about hockey but the refs used to be major league umps.

  6. stakex - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Agree with the call or not there is no excuse for allowing three goals on a five minute major in such an important game. Not every call is going to go your way, and if the best thing you can do about it is whine to the refs…. your screwed, as were the Devils tonight.

  7. sbrowncreative - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    How the hell is that a penalty?

    He finished his check. You don’t stare at your feet a feet from the boards. Pee wees know that. What kind of crap call was that? Boarding. This is hockey. They’re really doing a number on our game.

    However, wtf is with allowing 3 goals? Good job Kings to take advantage. Take nothing away from them, but Fleury was right.

    • Doesnotmatter - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      Raffi Torres said that he was just finishing his check too.

    • michiganhockey11 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Learn the rules, you can’t finish a check into his numbers. Yeah, he looked down for a brief second. Bernier had time to change direction. Not stop, but change direction.

  8. clmdcbm23 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    It’s all over and the referees have won the 2012 Stanley Cup!!!!!! Once again the Devils shouldn’t have given up all those goals in the 5 minute major to Bernier but the whole dynamic of the game changes when you are supposed to have the man advantage to being down one for five minutes. Great win for the black white and orange!!!!

  9. blindandhappy - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    It’s better for the NHL that the kings won and the NHL made sure of it

    • cweez2 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      that tin foil hat will get warm in the summer

  10. istallion - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Fleury is entitled to his opinion, even if it is the wrong one and ridiculous.

  11. manchestermiracle - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Walz is blind and Fleury is a douchebag. Hockey was a fringe sport for a long time because most people aren’t interested in watching grown men on ice skates bloody each other for 60 minutes. Bernier made a mistake and the Kings made him and his team pay for it. And by the logic of the apologists on here I guess Scuderi should have just fled the scene instead of trying to play the puck. It is incumbent on the man approaching a player along the boards to not lower his shoulder into the other player’s number and try to drive him through the glass.

    Bernier thought he could check Scuderi and take the puck (“I though he was going to his forehand, but he went backhand.”). When Scuderi fooled him and cleared the puck away, Bernier decided to slam him into the glass anyway. Bernier got exactly what he deserved for that despicable shot. The Devils were trying to deliver cheap shots all series long thinking they could intimidate the Kings. Instead they deservedly got their asses handed to them. Boo frickin’ hoo…

  12. rake661 - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Sounds like a Bunch of Cry Babies on here rooting for the devils.. Go home and cry..the LA KINGS are CHAMPS and thats the Bottom line..Hockey on both sides, go back under that rock you crawled out of devil fans!!!!!!!!

  13. sampulls - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    This is a disgrace. I am a devils fan but I am embarrassed with the comments above. They all sound like the Coyotes after they lost to the Kings. Stop being a bunch of cry babies. We lost fair and square. The Kings were the better team period. Suck it up. We always have next year.

  14. dino1730 - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    The Kings were the better team and congrats to them and their fans. But as a Devils fan, i can accept the Kings were better and deserved to win. But i can’t accept that officials consistently throughout this series were inconsistent. The hit on Gionta should have absolutely been called, he had no chance to defend himself. Second, Bernier’s hit desreved 2 minutes, not 5 and a game. The angle he took definately allowed Scuderi a chance to see him and avoid him. Instead he turns his back to him when it is too late to stop. Have any of you played in a checking hockey game?? Do you know how hard it is to stop or change direction 10 feet from a player going about 20 mph? Granted, the hit is a penalty in the NHL, but Scuderi needs to have some responsibility for his own protection out there, and thats why it should not have been a major penalty. The Devils could’ve killed it but didnt and like I said the Kings were the better team, but the officials successfully robbed a team of a fair shake to try to win a Stanley Cup Finals game, and that is the problem here.

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