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The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more!

Dec 11, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins Getty Images

This is a new thing we’re trying. Every Wednesday, we’ll publish a little back-and-forth we have via email. We’re calling it the Chip ‘n’ Chase. Yes, it’s a terrible name. Enjoy.

Jason Brough: Hey buddy, so I suppose we should thank the Penguins and Bruins for giving us lots to write about this week. If there’s anything that gets PHT commenters more fired up than dirty plays and suspensions, I’m not sure what it is. Cat nip maybe? Though to be fair, it’s not like the media has been any more measured in its response. Some of the stuff I’ve read, you’d think somebody was attacked with a chainsaw in that game. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened to Brooks Orpik, or overlook the absurdity of James Neal dropping his knee like a second-rate professional wrestler, but sometimes I feel like the hockey world needs to calm down and get a hold of itself. It’s a physical, emotional game. The players carry sticks and are dressed like gladiators. Things are going to happen out there from time to time. Or maybe I’m being too laissez faire about all this. I’ll give you a moment to look up the definition of that.

Mike Halford: I know what it means. It means you’re a heartless, desensitized monster who doesn’t care about the health and safety of professional athletes. And for what it’s worth, I kind of enjoy being outraged. Throwing around words like “disgraceful” and “sickening” makes me feel like I’m above the sort of behavior we saw in Boston. Sometimes I even wear a top hat while I’m being outraged. I also find it pretty darn funny that a few days prior to slew-footing Orpik, Thornton was waxing poetic about honor and the code. He actually said this: “People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable.” Bet that’s less of a problem now! So lemme ask you this, in the wake of Thornton blatantly defiling the code, what’s the point of having one if it flies out the window when things get too “physical” or “emotional”? Now, that said, I fully agree there would be a lot less uproar and hand-wringing if everybody just accepted that until fighting is out of the game, it’s part of the game. Well, it’s part of the game as long as you keep your helmet on. And don’t do it in the final few minutes of a game. You also can’t leave the bench to do it. And you’re not allowed to take on an unwilling combatant… but that last one doesn’t apply to goalies. At least I don’t think it does. Wait, where was I going with this?

JB: As usual, you were going nowhere. But in going nowhere, you actually made a pretty good point. The fighting/violence debate always opens a huge can of worms, because there are so many “but what if” and “but you can’t ignore” counter-arguments just waiting to be made. I suppose one’s willingness to open that can of worms depends how big a problem one thinks the NHL has with safety. I actually believe there’s been good progress made in the past few seasons and that players are learning. At the risk of channeling Gary Bettman, the vast majority of hits don’t result in injuries or suspensions, and the large majority of games don’t stop for players to get stretchered off. Which admittedly isn’t the greatest marketing campaign — “The NHL: where most of our players leave the ice all by themselves!” — but it’s no worse than the time they did that thing with the superheroes.

source:  MH: I almost forgot about the Guardian Project. What a mess that was. Especially when the animators clearly ran out of ideas and started giving characters lame, incongruous super powers. “The Canuck is half-killer whale… but can climb trees…and has a cape…and is, um, a highly motivated self-starter who works well with others…” “Wait, is that from your résumé?” “Look, just send it to the printer.” Not the league’s finest moment. Certainly not as fine as Bettman was feeling Tuesday while talking to reporters after the Board of Governors meetings. Have you ever seen him lord over the media like that? You almost had to respect the guy’s swagger. This was my favorite quote, by the way: “My my, how far we’ve come since the summer, when all the articles and speculation were about all these franchises that were supposedly in trouble, which we never believed were.”

JB: Yeah, that was pretty entertaining. Particularly the way he talked to the assembled reporters like they were children who had no idea how business works. At one point I thought he was going to sit everyone down and read them a story. Since we’re doing favorite quotes, here was mine, on the topic of expansion: “So we went from relocation in your view and distress to now we should be expanding. Everybody needs to slow down. We don’t operate like that. Everything in due course. If, in fact, there’s a due course to pursue.” Classic Bettman. Just covering all the bases. I might actually start using that last part in everyday life. “Sir, are you going to pay for that magazine? You can’t just stand there reading it for free.” “Everything in due course. If, in fact, there’s a due course to pursue.”

MH: And you just keep reading the December issue of Cosmo. Anyway, as much as I enjoyed Bettman’s remedial economics lecture, he’s only my second favorite press-conference connoisseur in the NHL. First place, and by a mile, goes to Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. Did you see the one where he started asking himself questions he thought reporters should be asking, then answering them? I wonder if that approach could catch on. If a coach doesn’t get asked the questions he wants to be asked, he just asks them himself.

JB: I could see old Torts doing that. And then getting in a fight with himself. “Stop coaching, John.” Speaking of whom, I kinda miss old Torts. Apparently new Torts is the media’s best friend in Vancouver. Get a load of what they’re writing about him these days: “He just seems to answer the questions like he’s talking to a buddy on the street.” Like a buddy on the street! Though we’ll see how long that lasts. Once the playoffs start, it wouldn’t surprise me if talking to his buddy on the street ends up looking like this:

  1. sjsharks66 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    “The NHL: where most of our players leave the ice all by themselves!” Best line in the article.

    • imleftcoast - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Before I was outraged about the Pens/Bruins game, I loved the Pens/Bruins game. The intensity was high for a regular season game. When you isolated some of these incidents and replay them 10 times from different angles, it looks worse. You don’t want to lose the intensity, but Thorton’s slew foot and Neal’s knee (even on Marchand) aren’t hockey plays. I also don’t want to go back to the bush league antics of the Flyers in the 70’s.

  2. emmpress - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Can’t even tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this feature this week! You guys delivered…

  3. penvik - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Still finding it absurd that James Neal is taking the brunt of the outcome for this game. Jesus, not to mention the 5 games, handed out immediately mind you, almost a week before Thornton gets anything. Neal never should have apologized and bylsma should be slapped and fired for saying what he said too. Neal letup on Marchand and now looking back he should have leaned into it and really ACTUALLY hit Marchand. He would have gotten the 5 games still and would have actually deserved it. He should have just stopped and face washed him with his gloves. He did essentially the same thing with his leg. Thornton will be getting 25+ games, I believe because of what Neal got this will be the case. Bruins staff should also be getting a fine/suspension for premeditated attack on Orpik as well. Thornton needs to visit a psych ward

    • patthehockeyfan - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Give it freakin’ rest, would you, penvik?

    • supercoop8 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      I’m not trying to be sarcastic or chirpy but seriously asking a question, are you sixteen or somewhere around that age??

    • hazlydose - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Penvik, the poster child pens fan stereotype that the rest of us pens fans are compared to…

    • gaborik104life - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      It’s not like thornton is playing until the hearing. He’s suspended too and the reason it is taking so long is to properly evaluate what the suspension should be meaning it will most likely be something substantial unlike Neal which was a quick determination.

      • amityvillefun - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        Nor did Thornton lie or attempt to substantiate his behavior. He owned up to it immediately.

        Isn’t that supposed to be the “code” anyway? You go after a team’s “star” players and injure them and the “enforcers” come after you for it? If that is the case, Thornton did his job. I hope other teams take note and think twice before attempting to injure a Bruin.

        I don’t like HOW he did it, but I do like the fact he wasn’t going to sit back and let his players get beheaded, slashed, and kneed to skull. Enough is enough!

      • pens5829 - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        amityvillefun. If memory servers me right, Marchand was called for a stick to Kunitz’s face the period after he was “hurt” with a knee to the head, so your comment about beheaded, slashed, and kneed to the skull is pure garbage. We all know Marchand embellishes everything to get an unfair advantage, so please spare us drama.

    • stepanup - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Yes, completely pre-meditated. Glad someone figured that out. Whew. Good work Sherlock. Because there wasn’t any kind of build up whatsoever that the Penguins had anything at all to do with.

      (FYI my standpoint is that 5 was fair for Neal, and Thornton should be getting 10-12 because he doesn’t have a disciplinary history, shocking to most on here I’m sure.)

  4. patthehockeyfan - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    You guys totally made my afternoon. I laughed out loud at some of your remarks.

    Re: Darryl Sutter (whom I’ve nicknamed ‘Yoda’), I love listening to his press conferences. Frankly, I don’t care that he can conduct one by himself, or if he picked his feet in Poughkeepsie while answering reporters’ questions. He’s a helluva coach, and that speaks louder than anything he could say.

    Thanks for the laughs! Loved it!

    P.S. Agree with your comment, sjsharks66.

  5. crusty14 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Seriously penvik, do you not realize that everyone out here thinks your a joke? Give it a rest man! Your arguments are lame and you make little sense!

  6. supercoop8 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Man, I forgot about the Guardian Project. People were paid to create that; someone was paid to draw a robotic duck surfing while throwing a spear, someone was paid to lazily make a few changes to Wolverine call it the coyote and for some reason have him running from dinosaurs.

  7. muckleflugga - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    penvik

    careful dude, the swivel chair keyboard hockey jock list police are crawling all over the boards this morning…

    how dare you presume to respond to content in the article in anything but the refrain found in a school nursery

    tres pussay

    • patthehockeyfan - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      muckle –

      I’m not getting in between you and blomfeld. I have to respond to your comment to penvik.

      The boards were overwhelmed with comments about Neal, Marchand, Eriksson, Orpik and Thornton all weekend. Among other articles, there are 5 to which 726 comments total were posted. That’s an average of a little more than 145 comments per article.

      Penvik’s reviving the discussion with outlandish proclamations got to be just too much to read anymore. Slap and fire Bylsma?

      I respect everyone’s right to comment as he / she sees fit, whether or not I agree with the comment. I just couldn’t read one more comment about the Pens – Bruins’ game.

      P.S. Re: your response to blomfeld below @ 3:32 p.m. gave me a chuckle. Thanks for that.

  8. blomfeld - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    “Or maybe I’m being too laissez faire about all this. I’ll give you a moment to look up the definition of that”

    Brough … among other things friend, I happen to be an accomplished student of economics (ie: micro & macro) and therefore the term ‘laissez faire’ is not lost on me … for the benefit of the ‘uneducated’ among us however, I shall explain this French term as follows …

    Laissez-faire is an economic environment in which transactions between private parties are free from government restrictions, tariffs, and subsidies, with only enough regulations to protect property rights.

    PS # 1: in all seriousness, you PHT guys do a great job here combining hockey news with a terrific sprinkling of humor, wit and sarcasm ! … it’s quite unlike anything else that I’ve ever come across anywhere else … and it’s the main reason why I love coming here myself ! :)

    PS # 2: after we Kings clobber the Leafs tonight, could you guys possibly include that photo again of Reimer crying ? … that has to be one of the funniest pictures going eh ? … thanks man :)

    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Sir Blom, I have to admit, your beloved Kings are on a role (how many teams can go 3 deep with very good goaltending?)

      What I appreciated was that the hottest team in the WC totally did a smackdown on he hottest team in the EC, in a night where WC was 5-1 over the EC.

      What I won’t of course concede is the “best team in hockey” application, as we have a different WC opinion. The top 6 in the WC are really close by many measures.

  9. hairpie2 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I think you have that backwards about Thornton defiling the code. If the Penguins didnt run around cheap shotting players without the risk of retaliation, thats going to happen. “The Code” was not allowed to come into play at all. Take away the instigator penalty so Thornton can address Orpick immediately after he takes a run at someone and the situation doesnt blow up like it did. And how does someone get knocked out by 2 half punches from someone wearing a glove?

    • kovodisc - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      B’s fan here – the Orpik/Eriksson hit isn’t suspension worthy. Borderline, at best, because he didn’t have the puck and he had his head down, but it was a pretty clean hit. It’s who it was on, and the fact that he had him lined up several feet prior to the hit.

      Ya Orpik should have answered when Thornton took the roughing penalty, but he didn’t. Thornton crossed the line – no question about it. Neal crossed the line, no question about it.

      As for Orpik getting knocked out – Just because Thornton was gloved doesn’t mean he can’t pack a punch. That, and the fact that there was ZERO give on the surface when he got it. I’m no doctor, but he must have caught him in the most (im)perfect spot to knock out Orpik from that first punch – the second didn’t look too bad.

      League needs to punish the action, not the result of the action – that seems to be the fundamental flaw in all these incidents. There needs to be a sense of consistency and there is none. We see players getting suspended multiple games for incidents that the refs aren’t even calling penalties for! How does that make sense?!?!?

      • kovodisc - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        On second look – the second punch did the damage.

      • partsman193509 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        Maybe we need to suspend some of the refs for missing calls. One night they call them the next they forget about everything .They just get a pat on the back from Buttman for doing a good job and that is BS, and you know it.

  10. muckleflugga - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    blomfeld

    among other things friend, i’m an accomplished and unemployed underachiever with an interest in tetra hydro cannabinols, hallucinogens inducing visitation from inca gods, rot-gut whiskey and much younger women

    so, use of literary allusion is not lost on me…for the benefit of the ‘educated’ among us, i submit the following term taught in canadian schools from grade seven

    allusion is a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance that has occurred or existed in an external context

    it is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection

    laissez-faire, connect the dots

    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      1st time you made be laugh. Nice!

    • ibieiniid - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      I’m still of the belief that you two are the same person.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        We are not amused. (otherself logs in) Wait, what’s that your saying????

  11. stonebullet - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Utterly painful to read jokes. But I do enjoy some of points you guys make.

    • ibieiniid - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      as much as I like the C&C, I gotta agree. didn’t really get me with any jokes this week.

  12. muckleflugga - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    wait, wait…thanks julie

    just in…apparently brooks orpik has just now, surprised neurosurgeons and anaesthesiologists presiding over his imminent brain examination by leaping from the table to help an old lady through outside doors where she could light up, after which he jumped in to help a distracted elementary school teacher lead her charges through carnegie mellon’s famous custodial arts museum…

    entitled bedpans and broomsticks, the display had earlier excited orpik whose defensive play and playoff performance recalls messing the bed and being swept…matters close to the heart of our miss brooks and penguins supporters generally

    oh, oh, yesss…more from julie

    it would appear boston police were able to recover some of orpik’s property, left in the hospital after his retreat from a cursory medical examination wherein he was able to recite magna carta, in latin, backwards, then avoid an unruly torchlit parade assembling across the charles

    delay in recovery of orpik’s hockey gear is apparently attributable to hospital staff mistaking the equipment as belonging to a much smaller player…

    labelling on jock and cup indicated sizing suitable for peewee players and younger, fooling nurses into believing the gear belonged to an ambitious atom player brought in for observation himself, victim of a punch up from a grade four girls team

    now, back to the nude…ooooh, pardon me, the news, ha haha chuckle

    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      What the heck are your trying to do dude – make us laugh twice in a day ON TOP OF a well written, humerus article? Have you no shame!!!

      • sabatimus - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM

        This is an article about the humerus? Well, I guess it could be, if somebody broke one.

  13. blomfeld - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    *** earlier today at a sporting goods store ***

    Ibie & Solutions: hi asshole … listen, do you idiots sell sports stuff here ?

    Blomfeld: reckon we do …

    Ibie & Solutions: well we want Canuckle brassieres and we want them now !

    Blomfeld: you boys best be leaving here … you’ve got five seconds …

    Ibie & Solutions: why should be do that ?

    Blomfeld: three, two, one … KAPOW !! .. KABOOM !! .. KAZAM !!

  14. sabatimus - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    The title of the link to this article is: “Where is the line when it comes to on-ice incidents?”

    My answer: Because of Shanahan’s inconsistency, I have no bloody idea.

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