Friday, April 13, 2007

Cheech, and dirty hits

So I make it a point to read the Mercury News coverage of Sharks hockey, since it is the hometown paper here on the Sharks, and I have to agree with Mark Purdy. Mark, please do me a favor- STOP REFERRING TO THE SHARKS AS "LOS TIBURONES". It was old about a decade ago, and it hasn't exactly taken the country by storm. Anyway, Purdy's column talks about how Barry Trotz said hit shouldn't have even been a penalty, and opines that Hartnell should have been suspended.

First things first. Trotz, while not having a neck, is sticking up for his guy, and is completely ridiculously wrong. It's a dirty hit. It came late, and was a bush-league effort. It was not designed to put body on body- it was intended to block Cheech by taking his feet out. As Purdy said, Trotz would be outraged if Forsberg or Kariya was on the receiving end of such a hit. So outraged he might actually grow himself a neck. Sorry, but that joke is just too damn easy.

Check out this post. It has stills from the video. Clearly Hartnell has his right knee forward, and from the video, we know he is gliding. That means he's trying to hit Cheech with his knee. We also see his elbow contacting Cheechoo's head. I believe Hartnell when he said that he didn't try to take Cheech's knee out, but it's hard to argue that he wasn't trying to take him out in a extraordinarily reckless way. He got 'unlucky' and took Cheech's knee out, but did successfully elbow him in the head, knocking out a tooth.

I'm not getting my righteous indignation on here, because this kind of thing can and does happen to a lot of players. Hartnell is a tough, gritty player that made a shitty play. He deserves a suspension, and more than one game. He wasn't calculating the attack angle on Cheech's knee to determine maximum ACL damage, but it was a dirty hit that could have had career-ending consequences. Ask Cam Neely about how easy that happens.

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