November 07, 2008
One of the saddest declines in professional sports is the pacifist overreaction to plays like this. Like a baseball manager calling for a pitcher to be tossed out of the game for throwing inside to a batter crowding the plate. You'll notice Voros's skates enter the crease during that clip. You'll also notice Smith attempting to clear out his crease, and the space in front of the goal, by any means necessary. He received two for slashing, two for high-sticking and five for fighting; he got caught, and the case is closed.
Oh, if only it was: Rangers Coach Tom Renney went crying to the media last night asking for Smith to be suspended for his actions. Seriously:
"You usually don't get hurt fighting, but you might get hurt with a spear or slash to the back of the leg," Renney said. "It was completely unprovoked, and I think Smith should be suspended."
Cram a few more exaggerations and misconceptions in there, Tom. "Completely unprovoked?" A guy screening a goalie a foot in front of him isn't provoking some sort of retaliation?
Ron Hextall and Billy Smith must be laughing before shedding a tear about how emasculated this league has become. When a Rangers columnist looks at this play and writes that Smith's "despicable antics will now be remembered by Aaron Voros and the Rangers, along with their fans, for a long time to come," does he just pretend that Sean Avery and Voros haven't been making more contact with goalies than the puck does?
This is like a Cincinnati Bengals fan complaining that some other team's wide receivers are just too crazy for the NFL ...
The Mike Smith thing was embarrassing. So what does that make the latest Alexei Cherepanov thing?
Larry Brooks of the NY Post broke the news yesterday: The Rangers are seeking a compensatory second-round draft pick because Alexei Cherepanov died. The Rangers explained their case to Brooks:
"The question is with the one parenthetical phrase in Article 8.3 (b) that refers compensation for an unsigned first-round draft pick who is '... again eligible for the Entry Draft or becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent ...'," Rangers assistant GM Cam Hope told The Post. "That language was inserted to clarify that a team would be owed a compensatory pick even if they were to re-draft that player or sign him as a free agent."
"It seems now as if that phrase is unintentionally precluding the deceased from being included as eligible for compensation. We understand that this is a sensitive issue, but with all due respect to Alexei's family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year."
"We are not attempting to capitalize on a tragedy, but there would be no question regarding the Rangers' right to a compensatory pick if Cherepanov had been revived and survived the incident and were on life support. If an unsigned player sustained a massive injury on or off the ice, the drafting team would get a compensatory pick."
Yes, quite the injury Cherepanov had, being dead and all.
So now all the NHL has to do is figure out if a player in a coffin fits under the "eligible for the Entry Draft or becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent" clause of Article 8.3 (b). It's days like these that Bill Daly and Gary Bettman must just love their jobs.
Mirtle doesn't come down on either side of this, but is running a poll that clearly shows public opinion is against the Rangers on this.
That said, they might actually come off slightly less petty here than in their misguided outrage over Mike Smith.