Thursday, December 6, 2007

Team Accountability?

1) With the latest suspension of a Flyers player (Riley Cote) many are clamoring to not only punish the player who commits the foul, but also the coach/GM/ the entire organization. Some of the ideas put forth by some in the print media/blogosphere include:

  • Severely fining/suspending the coach

  • Fining the GM

  • Fining the team

  • Taking away future draft picks

  • Taking away points in the standings

  • Loss of current/future Cap space

2) First to review for those keeping score at home. So far this season the Flyers have been the perpetrators in what seems to be an inordinate number of questionable/dirty incidents that have resulted in various suspensions. To review:

  • Steve Downie- (September 24) hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond during the preseason resulted in a 20 game ban. Downie is dispatched to the minors to 'serve his suspension.

  • Jesse Boulerice- (October 10) cross-checking Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler in the head getting him a 25 game ban. Later released by the team.

  • Randy Jones- (October 27) Hits Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron with a hit from behind that very well could end his NHL career. Jones received a mere 2 games.

  • Scott Hartnell (November 25) came across the ice to hit defenseman Andrew Alberts with a head shot that resulted in a 2 game suspension

  • Riley Cote- (December 1) with a high head shot to Stars defenceman Matt Niskanen resulting in a 3 game 'rest'

3) On one hand one can look at these as a trend. That the coach and organization must be saying something to their players as a whole to have such a rash of incidents to one team over such a short time. On the other they could be looked at individually and see what may have provoked/caused each, who was the culprit, and the intent if any. See if there is any commonality with the 5 plays in question. Then ask if this was an institutional issue, why would the Flyers as a team want to take such a course?

4) Ironically the worst of the incidents, the Jones hit on Bergeron, was probably the least as far as premeditated intent to injure. It was more careless than sinister. Downie and Boulerice have checkered histories that should not make it surprising that they would be involved in such a play. If neither ever played another shift no one would care/notice. Hartnell has no such 'rep'. He simply made a bad decision. Its hard to fathom that he was instructed to do what he did there. Cote is a tough guy/goon trying to make a name in the league and went over the edge as a result. Unlikely he was under orders from the team. Jesse Boulerice, the worst(most blentently trying to hurt the opposition) offender and the team promptly released him after the incident

5) Now, before the anticipated backlash starts, we are going to go on record to say we are NOT fans of the Flyers and their organization. We merely hate it when the media gets into a feeding frenzy like here and tries to link everything together into some kind of conspiracy where there is no evidence one exists. We also have no issue if the NHL wants to have rules in place that fines more than players for such incidents. As we listed in our post crime-and-punishment.

6) However we object to the apparent de-facto rules changes that Gary Bettman seems to be doing with Philadelphia now. We can find no precedent in the NHL rule book that allows the commissioner/league to link separate incidents together and suddenly fine/suspend a coach/GM/team. Individually that has occurred, but never because one team had a 'rash of suspensions/separate incidents. Some severe some more mild.

7)If they want to change the rules, thats fine, do so in the correct manner; at the GM's/ownership meetings. Set firm outlines of what teams and players can expect. There is entirely too much arbitrariness in the punishment process NOW. Imagine if the league starts to levy fines/suspensions to non involved parties(coach/GM) and/or take cap space/points away, etc.? Meanwhile what do the Flyers do now that they are under 'Double Secret Probation from Dean Bettman? Worry every time they throw a check or drop the gloves? Not knowing what may happen now that the league microscope is upon them. There has to be a better way Gary. This current system is broken!


Ron said...

Come on faux. You must be the only person who sees this as coincidences. Stevens may not be pulling a Crawford and telling who to hit and when, but there is a definite change in the way the Flyers play from last season. Five dirty plays in 2 months can not be explained away by coincidence

T. Lloyd said...

You lost me here faux. You seem to be defending those bastards but then you say your not a fan? Those SOB's put my teams best player's career in jeopardy and then tried to do it again the other night. I'm sorry but these events are linked. Linked by the thug mentality of the owners on down. Holmgren was a thug player so I wouldn't put it past him to tell his coach what to do. The proof you ask for faux is in the results of their actions

Zulu as Kono said...

I agree with you boss. I would be angry if the league tried to make an example out of my team. We get into a lot of fights so I'd hate it if they all of a sudden said that wasn't OK to do no more.
hey man, we're getting Niedermayer back! Look out NHL. We're gonna start to whip ya asses agin!


1) Ron & Lloyd: Sorry you guys feel that way, but we stick to our original position. We are NOT downplaying the incidents, BUT we object to the leagues handling of them, then and now
2) If there were already rules on the books allowing Bettman to impose additional fines for a "trend" or a "series" of incidents instead of each individually then we'd be OK with that. We hate the sudden nature of the change(s) to the rule book, and the knee-jerk manner/arbitarary manner that it seems to be done
3) Zulu: Thanks man. You have it exactly right. The NHL is trying to make an example of the Flyers to mollify media criticism.
4) yes Scott is soon to be back. We're checking whether your team will be forced to make a trade to shed payroll before he can be officially reinstated

Joseph said...

The problem is that in the modern game,there is not precedent, there hasn't been a situation where one team has had 5 major goon shots in little over a month, thus, there are of yet no disciplinary guide posts for the league to follow. This does not mean that the league should pass a blind eye to the Flyers thuggery. If there is another Flyer incident, the league has to react. Suspend the coach, and fine the team, anything less makes the NHL look soft on crime.


1) Joe: We understand your position, however the Flyers and the other teams should be given notice PRIOR/NOW of what those additional punitive measures will be.
2) The knee-jerk method of discipline of the NHL needs to stop. One guy gets 25 games the next 3, and another 1. Sometimes all for the same type of infraction.

Jibblescribbits said...

I don't think it's a coincidence, however I don't necessarily believe it's intentional. The Randy Jones hit on Bergeron was dangerous and deserved punishment, however I don't think he intentionally hurt Bergeron.

And the leagues tactics in "punishment" are obviously: The suspension length shall be in direct proportion to the amount of public outrage a hit receives. A terrible way to run crime and punishment

The Dark Ranger said...

OF COURSE they are linked....

The Flyers philosophy is physically based - the good 'ole days of the Broad Street Bullies and the crass 'let 'em eat knuckles' mentality carries on in Philadelphia. Anyone who attends any sports event in Philly will know that you are surrounded by blue-collar fans - a toughness, honesty, and no-holds-barred badge of using your fist. Though hockey fans have softened at the Wachovia, the old days of Black & Orange at the Spectrum were celebrated times. Much of that sentiment still remains with the Eagles in Philly - don't get caught wearing a Giants jersey in Philly. For real!

So if anyone feels that the individual is solely responsible, then you don't really understand. Take a trip to Philly, go to South Street, and scream "Flyers Suck" and see what the people around you do...

By the way, Flyers suck. Rangers Rock!

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