Skip to content

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:

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Lightning-Rangers game gets heated in final minutes

    May 22, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT

    Lightning-Rangers skirmish

    Kucherov, Paquette, and Glass all receive misconduct penalties.

  2. Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4

    May 22, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The score was one-sided, but this game could have gone the other way if not for the Rangers’ netminder.

  3. Video: Slumping Nash charges hard to net, puts Rangers ahead

    May 22, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT

    Nash goal

    Will we see more goals like that from him before the playoffs are over?

  4. Yzerman, Sather, Murray finalists for GM of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Steve Yzerman AP

    All three of their teams are still in the running for the Stanley Cup.

  5. Lowry emerging as darkhorse candidate for Sharks gig

    May 22, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT

    Dave Lowry Getty Images

    San Jose has been linked to several high profile coaches.

  6. Detroit assistant Hiller to join Babcock in Toronto

    May 22, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    He was credited with turning around the Red Wings’ power play.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final

    May 22, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Nikita Kucherov, Ryan McDonagh AP

    Will New York be able to contain Tampa Bay this time around?

  8. Blackhawks need more ‘quick plays’ to crack Anaheim’s structure

    May 22, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Three Getty Images

    Not only did the Ducks block 27 shots last night, they clogged up the neutral zone too.

  9. Benning trying to figure where Markstrom ‘fits in’

    May 22, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Canucks GM witnessed the goalie get a shutout in the AHL playoffs.

  10. TVR won’t play Game 4, but he’s ‘cleared to participate’

    May 22, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT

    Trevor van Riemsdyk Getty Images

    Coach Q: “He’ll need a few days out here. We’ll get an evaluation and go from there.”

  11. ’16 Draft prospect Bellows, son of Brian, wins USHL Rookie of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT

    Bellows

    Son of ex-NHLer Brian is off to Boston University next year.

  12. Video: Emotional Babcock says good-bye to Detroit

    May 22, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Babcock

    “It’s been real special, to say the least.”

  13. Columbus goalie prospect Dansk bolts for Sweden

    May 22, 2015, 12:47 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets

    The third ‘tender taken at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft had a rough first pro season in North America.

  14. Wild re-sign AHL Iowa assists leader Keranen

    May 22, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Petteri Lindbohm, Michael Keranen Getty Images

    Finnish forward joined the organization last year after solid production in the SM-liiga.

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. H. Lundqvist (1441)
  2. K. Versteeg (1368)
  3. S. Stamkos (1326)
  4. P. Kane (1306)
  5. C. Crawford (1269)