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. Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    James Reimer, Mark Fraser, Steven Stamkos AP

    “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away.”

  2. Sakic says there was ‘never any animosity’ between Avs and O’Reilly

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic AP

    “Any of the perceived animosity came from the outside.”

  3. Jacques Martin is now Pittsburgh’s senior advisor of hockey operations

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Jacques Martin, Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Chris Kunitz AP

    His previously “yet-to-be-determined capacity” has been determined.

  4. Fayne looking forward to defending the ‘bigger guys’ in West

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    Mark Fayne, Mark Letestu AP

    “My style and build might be better against the bigger guys.”

  5. Ex-NHLer Paek to coach Korea, with goal of participating in 2018 Olympics

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings 2007 Headshots Getty Images

    Won a couple of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  6. Sabres sign d-man Benoit — one year, $800,000

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Had seven goals with 21 assists last year for the Avs.

  7. Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    The 23-year-old can now become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016.

  8. New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now)

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin, Victor Hedman AP

    Barry Trotz continues Adam Oates’ alteration, at least for now.

  9. Stars consider Roussel a ‘big part’ of their team

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Jaden Schwartz, Antoine Roussel AP

    They locked him up to a four-year deal on Tuesday.

  10. Report: NHL return possible for Peter Mueller

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Peter Mueller AP

    He spent last season playing in Switzerland.

  11. Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal

    Jul 22, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    That’s $1 million less than his reported asking price.

  12. Flames avoid arbitration with Colborne, ink two-year deal

    Jul 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    It’s believed to be worth $2.55 million overall.

  13. Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

    David Booth Getty Images

    Another buy-low bargain like Mason Raymond?

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1897)
  2. D. Roy (1528)
  3. R. Nash (1463)
  4. L. Stempniak (1448)
  5. M. Ribeiro (1369)
  1. D. Cleary (1326)
  2. B. Morrow (1232)
  3. B. Dubinsky (1225)
  4. V. Sobotka (1172)
  5. P. Subban (1151)