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post Wheel of Justice Stops, Points to Joe

November 5th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

So Joe gets two games for the hit on David Perron last night, let’s take a look:


To me, this hit looks fairly similar to the one Mike Richards put on David Booth, probably not as bad.  Richards knocked Booth out for an extended period of time, and got no suspension.  Joe got two games.  Truly, the NHL justice system is probably a bunch of monkeys throwing darts, or perhaps typings stories (“It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?!  Stupid monkey!”).  I predicted to Doug yesterday that Joe would get at least a game, and maybe two.  Whee, I was right.

Despite the public outcry about the hit, either for or against the suspension, I think there’s a more serious issue in play.  Take a look at Perron after the hit.  He’s facedown on the ice, not moving.  The trainer comes out, Perron’s on one knee, then slowly back to the bench.  It’s not disputed that Perron was in fact hit in the head, and that he lay motionless on the ice.  After that, Perron takes his next shift only one minute later in game time (probably 5-10 minutes later in real time).  I’m no health care professional, but I’ve read enough about concussions to know that the symptoms can be widely varied, and the severity of the initial symptoms don’t always correlate to the severity of the concussion.  Most importantly, the incidence and severity of future concussions is greatly increased if a person hasn’t fully recovered from a previous one.

That being said, one of the following two statements has to be true:

  1. The Blues’ training staff played very fast and loose with David Perron’s health.  Seems difficult to believe that a thorough neurological exam could take place in the space of 5 minutes.
  2. David Perron faked his injury.

Either one of these is a serious problem for the NHL.  Jamie Baker said in his post (he’s certainly on the side that Perron faked it) that this is becoming a trend- to fake injuries to draw penalties.  All I know is, if the league is going to come out and say there will be stiff penalties for these types of hits, they have to know players will take advantage of that.  Whether Perron did or didn’t here, there’s no way to know for sure.  But I got my eye on you, Mike Ribero.

52 Comments to “Wheel of Justice Stops, Points to Joe”

  1. MJ says:

    the league has just released an addendum to jumbo’s original 2-game suspension:

    ….he can only check players from his knees for the remainder of his career.

  2. Ruben says:

    Maybe the solution is to require that the player who was hit by the player receiving the game misconduct is required to go through a 30 minute med exam by a neutral NHL-paid physician before returning to the ice. That fixes:

    1) faking the injury, because the exam is automatic along with any game misconduct
    2) team trainers playing fast and loose with head injuries

    The player likely won’t miss more than a period, but will lose some time if he is faking. The doc is neutral, no bias.


    • WingsFanInSharkLand says:

      I like this. I was thinking something similar when I was reading Mike’s post. In football, the player has to come off for a play when he goes down and if this becomes a trend, the NHL will have no choice but to enforce something like this. The integrity of this sport must remain intact. It’s a big part of what makes it what it is.

      Whether or not he was faking, who am I to say? That hit had to hurt, but his quick return certainly makes it suspect. I’m pretty sure that if Perron and Thornton are the same size, we’re not even having this discussion.

      I’m of the opinion that the NHL (and NFL) should protect their players. I’m just not sure they are going about it the right way. The calls and suspensions don’t seem to be consistent from incident to incident. That can’t last.

  3. Cyoor says:

    Soccer here we come.. Players rolling 5 times, holding their hands over their face and screaming as if they were about to die.. Then there is a penalty and everything is fine..

    If its heading that way, I think its the end of hockey as we know it.. =/

    What if this was the case for forball? “Hey guys, just dont touch anyone out there, or they will fake death and you are out for 2 games..”

    Seriously.. This faking just makes me sad.

  4. Tom says:

    I think it’s a clean hit. No different from Mitchell on Toews. DW makes the same case in his statement.

    Why is it Toews responsibiliy to keep his head up and not Perron’s?

  5. Haie says:

    Yeah I’m sorry, headshot or no, Jumbo shouldn’t be penalized for being tall. Maybe Perron should be a little more aware next time, but it’s a moot point because he didn’t endure Booth’s injury and all this “keeping the players safe” for the NHL and NFL is bull****. Don’t wanna get headshot? Stay away from bigger, stronger players positionally or go play soccer.

    • MJ says:

      i completely agree with you.

      this rule can now be interpreted as, “the shortest players in the league can have a field day with anyone, while the Jumbos and Charras have to pick their targets accordingly”

      “sorry coach…he’s only 5’11, i’m 6’4. no can-do.”

  6. PJ says:

    No whammies, no whammies, no whammies… big bucks.

    Doh, a 2-game suspension.

  7. Andy C says:

    The first time I saw this was the Blue’s commentary team & they kept talking about how Joe clearly came in from the blind side.
    Mike’s link to the Jamie Baker post took the words out of my mouth: “it wasn’t a blind side hit; it was a player (Perron) skating through the neutral zone with his head turning back to the defenseman.”
    It was Perron turning his head into Joe’s shoulder that made it snap back – which was unfortunate timing and not maliciousness needing a 2-game suspension.
    The message should be “Perron – look where you’re going!”

    Having watched enough football (soccer to you guys…), it is very difficult to make the distinction as to when a player is faking it, although often the players actually on the field have a better idea than the crowd. One of the reasons I love hockey so much is the ability to self-police – a great quote from JB’s same blog “So later in game one I retaliate behind the play and punch Clark in the face as we were heading up the ice.” I’d far rather watch a sport involving punching people in the face than playacting & I just hope this isn’t a trend.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Here’s the problem for Joe – he dipped his shoulder to inflict damage. If he had simply let Perron run into him, no problem. It looks to me like he initiated the contact.
    As for the wheel of justice, it’s the hits from last year that necessitated the suspensions of this year. All players had a chance to see what was illegal from the NHL’s perspective – the league did provide video training.
    And I wouldn’t be too quick to say Perron was faking anything. There’s the possibility he simply got the wind knocked out of him – way out of him! Going from whatever speed to full stop that fast is bound to leave anyone stunned and gasping for air.

    • Tom says:

      First off … Differing opinions are always welcome here but you are so off base on this.

      Joe initiated contact yes… ITS HOCKEY! any player with or receiving the puck can be hit.

      The only reason Perron’s head was involved is because HE lowered it while in the most vulnerable place on the ice… Joe has the right to hit any player, with his shoulder, coming into the neutral zone…

      Are you proposing Joe just let him waltz right inti his zone, just because his head is down?

    • Patrick says:

      Here’s my problem with your thought process: “All players had a chance to see what was illegal from the NHL’s perspective – the league did provide video training.”

      Meanwhile, that video training included a hit that was extremely similar to Thornton’s, yet was identified by the NHL as an example of a clean hit.

      Thornton took two (small) steps out of the box and hit a guy in the head/chest, albeit with his head turned the other way. Hjalmarsson made a bee-line from the blueline to the halfwall, 4 full strides, and crushed a guy in the back/side with his head turned the other way. Both got two games.

      Just because the NHL provided training, doesn’t mean there is any sense of precedent or clarity among the players as to how the new rule is being called.

  9. Ruben says:

    Well, I was trying to explain the hit to my wife, as well as the rule, and her response was “so he hit him when he was looking the other way? Sounds like the definition of a blindside hit to me.” When I asked what she meant, she said “uhh, the side of a person that is blind is the side where he isn’t looking, duh”

    Maybe we are so used to a certain style of hockey, where the culture supports this play as a good hockey play and lays blame for these hits on the hittee, that we can’t fathom the obvious wording of the rule. Maybe the NHL is looking at Europe, where you never see these hits no matter how tall or short these players are but there is still wonderful hockey, and see themselves as trendsetters in the balance between safety and competitive sport in North America.

    Or they are ruining the game, possibly both.

    • Tom says:

      The problem with that is then skaters can just keep their head down to avoid getting hit or being impeeded with while attacking through the neutral zone…

      It’s taking hitting out of the game and I’ll have none of that shit.

      Even Perron said he didn’t know what Joe was supposed to do in that situation… Implying he though the hit was acceptable.

      • Andy C says:

        Yeah – I take Ruben’s point that blind side can be defined as the opposite way to where he was looking, but I think this is overruled by the direction he was skating in. I don’t know the exact legal definition, but I’ve always seen it as approaching from the side or back as in an illegal block in american football (football to you guys…)

        P.S. Talking about football, Go Niners – saw them win at Wembley last week!!! – anyone think they can still share in this Playoff trend thats going round the Bay Area? Nope. thought not.

        When I mentioned playacting earlier, I was speaking generally: I agree with Jeremy that I don’t think Perron was playacting & may well have just been stunned & echo what Tom said, that his comments (made before the 2 game suspension) implied he thought the hit was acceptable. That’s the thing that really grates about the suspension – generally the people who know what really went on are the players involved, but it seems that the NHL doesn’t subscribe to this view, and think they know better… Bunch of monkeys throwing darts… he he.

        • Ruben says:

          But then why use the phrase “blindside”, why not use the phrase “from behind or the side” if that was the intent of the rule?

          I think it is because the league is trying to protect defenseless players from career altering hits. I totally understand the sentiment about just skating with your head down all the time, but isnh’t that bad hockey not just from a not getting smashed point of view, but also from a passing/shooting point of view as well? I just don’t see that happening. And there are many, many other situations where hitting will still be central to the game without the high likelihood of an emergency room visit for the hittee (chasing defenders in the corners -no boarding of course-, front of the net battles, hip checks).

          And the fact that Perron seems to agree the hit was acceptable goes to my comment about the culture of the NHL. I dunno, the more I think about it the more I understand what the league seems to be doing, but to reach their goals it is going to unavoidably alienate some fans and go through a rough ironing out period. Not saying I agree or disagree (I’ve gone back and forth for years on headshots), but I don’t necessarily think they are being quite so random this year.

          • Tom says:

            They use that term because generally players are TAUGHT to keep their heads up when rushing into and through the neutral zone. They are TAUGHT that if they keep their heads down while looking at the puck in those instances, and they get nailed, it’s THEIR fault.

            The Richards hit on Booth and Cooke hit on Savard were hits where the player receiving the hit did could have prevented it. They were basically sucked punched. They were hit from behind and the side and couldn’t avoid it.

            Jumbo was right in front of Perron.if he had kept his head up like he should have, his head would not have been contacted and he probably could have avoided the hit altogether.

            • Tom says:

              First line of 2nd parag should be could NOT have prevented it.

              • Ruben says:

                Being a fan of hockey since I was quite young, that was my initial impression, too. And I see your point about the NHL instructional video.

                But I think the NHL knew they had to go about this piecemeal. I really think they have this idea that they can almost eliminate concussions from the NHL (setting a positive PR standard for other leagues), but they couldn’t do it in one swoop. The language is there for them to enforce, they eased enforcement at the beginning, and now they are slowely expanding the rule all the up to its basic wording that any regular person would expect the rule to cover. Players like Thornton are just collateral damage on this mission.

                Like I said, I don’t know if that is good or bad for hockey. But Bettman has proven to have a lot more foresight than many fans give him credit for.

          • evilducks says:

            They said “Blindside or lateral.” Lateral would be the “from behind” you’re talking about, as opposed to a north/south hit (which is what this was).

            • Ruben says:

              So when is a person hit blindside in the course of hockey, where it is not lateral? Is the suggestion that Rule 48 applies when a player is standing around, and another player comes from behind and just clobbers the head? Basically the Hjalmarrson hit, and no other situation?

              Again, I think if that was the the ultimate focus of the rule, I think it would have been much easier to add “head” to the definition of checking from behind, instead of creating a whole new rule. I think this is eventually where the NHL wanted to get with this rule, despite representations to the contrary (e.g. the instructional video). Of course, that is just speculation on my part, but isn’t that the lifeblood of 🙂

              • evilducks says:

                Hjalmarsson’s hit on Pominville was a suspension, but it had no relation to rule 48. He was suspended for a malicious boarding hit. Boarding is usually what happens when you have blindside hits that aren’t lateral. It’s very difficult to hit the head otherwise as people are rarely leaning backwards.

    • evilducks says:

      Ask your wife:

      “If you were driving through an intersection looking in your back seat and a car hit you head on, would you say you were blindsided or that you had a head on collision?

      • Ruben says:

        The car would be hit head on, you would have been hit on your blindside.

        • evilducks says:

          I guess I just don’t agree with that definition of blindside.

          • Ruben says:

            Yeah, that seems to be the debate in a nutshell. And the NHL seems to have sstarted with your definition the shifted to my wife’s. Not very fair to the players, but like I said, collateral damage in their quest to vanquish concussions.

  10. walt500 says:

    Moronic post, you obviously know nothing about concussions if you even consider Perron was faking. Sometimes concussion symptoms only manifest themselves 2 to 3 days after the injury. Perron suffered from headaches and dizziness on Saturday morning during the morning skate. It seems that the minute his heart rate goes up, the dizziness and headaches set in. The hit was a cheap shot that has no place in hockey. Jamie Baker ate his words and offered an apology for suggesting Perron was faking. You should do the same.

    • Tom says:

      I’ll let Mike defend himself from your troll like attacks….

      However, Dan Boyle, Danny Heatley, and Joe Thornton all said publicly that they thought Perron embellished the hit. So I don’t think it’s that far fetched.

      And since you feel so empowered telling other people what THEY should do…. YOU SHOULD apologize to all of us for trolling it up here…

    • Mike says:

      Moronic comment. This post was less that 24 hours after the hit, when nothing was known about Perron’s condition. I also said in the post almost exactly what you wrote about concussions- you can’t tell immediately how severe they are, and if you play before you are healed, it next one can be much worse.

      And I gave two possibilities. It turns out the first possibility I gave turned out to be true. Nowhere in the post did I say I thought Perron was faking.

      Next time try reading for comprehension.

      • Patrick says:

        Walt500 coming through the neutral zone and… WHOAAAA, big hit by Mike!! Walt500 is down, folks, and he is hurt!

        Given that Walt500’s comment is about as moronic as charging through neutral ice with your head turned 135 degress the wrong way, I guess the obvious resolution is a two-podcast suspension for Mike.

        I nominate Evil Doug as special guest host, and two weeks of Dougs on Hockey. “He is now accepting callers he is calling me DOUG!”

  11. Ruben says:

    Except for walt500 up there, I have to admit this has been a good discussion. Fair points all around. Bravo Dudes for fostering reasonable discourse!

  12. Tom says:

    @Ruben. Dude I really enjoy your opinions and I want to be respectful here, but that’s the craziest thing Ive ever read.

    You can change the definition if a word but it doesn’t change the fact.

    The example ED used it exactly correct. If you have you head down while driving and get hit head on you’re not blindsided. You would be dumb for keeping your eyes off the road.

    You can call a dog a cat all day but it’s still a dog…

    I think this issue is more an issue of the culture in the US right now where no one is ever reay responsible for anything anymore. I guess if I don’t watch where I’m driving and drift into the opposite lane and crash… It’s not really my fault, I got blindsided?!? HUH?!

    • Ruben says:

      Really? In ED’s example and my response, it’s a matter of grammar. When you ask a person about a car accident, they are describing the interplay between the cars, and a car’s head is always in front, thus it is hit “head-on”.

      No, look at this dialogue:

      “Ma’am, when you were struck, did the vehicle that struck your car approach within your field of vision, or from the side in which you were blind to?

      Well, the answer to that is, of course, her blind side.

      Now, whether she should have been looking in the backseat (and whether Perron should have been looking behind him while skating through the neutral zone) is another issue entirely. We are solely talking about definitional interpretation, and I don’t think that interpretation of the phrase “blind-side” in rule 48 is crazy at all. In fact, it is the normal interpretation. It is only when we start adding in our commonly-held beliefs about hockey does that skew the interpretation.

      It is that which turns the cat into the dog, or something along those lines of your metaphor.

      As far as “fault,” I do agree about the culture in the US not assigning blame anymore (don’t even get me started on obesity). But expecting a hockey player to not look at a puck in his skates while in the neutral zone seems unreasonable to me, especially when combined with the consequence of a potentially career-ending injury. But I’m an admitted softie like that 🙂

      • evilducks says:

        Okay, more heart wrenching tale..

        Mother driving looks in the back seat at a screaming baby. While not looking she goes through the intersection and t-bones a car already passing through that intersection she hadn’t seen last she looked up.

        That car that she collieded with blindsided her? Hit her laterally?

        Or just back to the play, Joe braced himself for impact, what should he have done? Dived out of the way so Perron could get by and potentially score on a break?

        • Ruben says:

          Lol, oh man this is getting crazy.

          I would say the mom should have poke checked the puck away from the other car, thus setting up a potential 2-1 with that sleek new Mazda Couture coming down the left wing.

          But yeah, fault is gonna be based on a traditional vs. safety minded view of hockey. I don’t think there is a right answer, its like saying whether beer or tacos are better.

          • evilducks says:

            Yeah, it’s never ending… I just think I want to look at what the league claims are illegal hits vs. legal hits.


            Here we can see the type of hits they’re trying to prevent. All of the illegal hits shown are hits that come from behind the player hit, they’re the back-pressure hit where a player coming back on a back check is unexpected, and not within a viewable angle for the player with the puck (meaning they couldn’t look around and see them coming).

            The legal hits occur from a variety of angles, some straight on, like the hits on Kessel and Toews and some from a perpendicular angle, like those on Eaton and Elias. Both the Eaton and Elias hits look similar to what Joe did, and are considered legal, north/south hits according to the league.

            I believe they defined the blindside as an area you can’t see, not an area you aren’t looking but are capable of looking.

            • Ruben says:

              Yeah, I think one thing we can all agree on is that the league is certainly not being consistent, which is probably most frustrating to the players. Whether or not they are moving towards tighter standards for these hits, they aren’t being clear in communicating it except with these surprise suspensions.

              • evilducks says:

                I’d be fine with the suspension if the league just came out and made a rule about contact to the head. They haven’t and have expressly said this kind of hit is legal with video evidence. Thus my frustration.

                I’m only arguing this from the standpoint of the law as laid forth by the NHL… and am very irritated that the NHL sided against me.

        • Ruben says:

          And there were three Sharks back on the play, worst case if Joe misses is a 4-3 where Perron likely dumps the puck in for changes as the Blues just finished a PP.

          • evilducks says:

            I prefer Thornton makes that hit and gets suspended than letting Perron skate by.

            First, because I’m right and it’s a legal hit and is the correct hockey play to make. 🙂

            Second, because Joe has a reputation as a softy and letting him go by would have been confirmation of Joe avoiding contact.

            • Ruben says:

              Haha, touche good man. Only 1 designated poke-checker allowed per team, and we see where that has gotten Marc-Eduoard Vlasic in the hearts and minds of Sharks fandom.

  13. PJ says:

    Hard to say something is moronic when Perron himself said that night he was lucky it wasn’t worse. That obviously changed. According to SS at Fanhouse, Scott Nichol said Perron also admitted to trying to draw 5 on the play after the game.

    I think everyone is concerned with his health now, but to crack on people for being sceptical is ridiculous. Oh, and one other nugget. Referee Brian Pochmara was the one who blew the fake hooking call Martin Havlat staged on Mitchell Tuesday. That lead to the 5-on-3, and the lone goal that Minnesota sat on for the win. Pochmara was on the ice 2 nights later in St. Louis, but as someone said, it was a “decision by committee on the ice”.

  14. Andy C says:

    @ ED – thats an instructional link that really needs to be watched before commenting on the subject.

    Having now watched it, it seems to stress 2 things to me that we haven’t really touched on, which is “where the head is targeted.” (Not that this distinction seems clear from the videos that then follow…) & also that “those (hits from) E-W would not be permitted”.

    Watching Jumbo’s hit again after this, I can see how you can reach the decision that he was moving in an E-W direction & that he targeted the head & therefore that he was suspended on these counts (regardless of which way Perron was looking).

    I still don’t like it as:
    – If Perron was looking where he was going, he would have avoided the hit
    – Jumbo didn’t set out to hit him in the head – just unfortunate timing & height differential
    – The NHL haven’t gone out of their way to clarify their thought process on this

    If people who have lived the game their entire lives are confused about this & where the NHL are drawing the lines between the 4 areas of 1) E/W movement, 2) targetting the head, 3) blindside & 4) resulting seriousness of injury, what chance do the rest of us have?

  15. ga says:

    If DP was faking it why is he out indefinitely with a concussion?

    • Ruben says:

      Maybe faking isn’t the right word. How about, he exaggerated the effects he was feeling in the moment after the hit? He was certainly hurt, he got a concussion, but instead of doing like Jonathan Toews and trying to get off the ice, he laid there to get a whistle and hopefully a penalty.

    • Tom says:

      I have a couple of theories on this so I’m glad you asked…

      One, maybe while flapping like a fish-out-of-water he hit his head on the ice???

      Or two, maybe he faked it because he’s hiding the fact he gets beat by his wife???!!

      Or three… Maybe he was just so in awe of Jumbo’s manliness that he thought it would be a honor to get hit by him, but then felt shame about his man-love and just pretended to be injured???!!

      I say a bro-mance is brewing….

  16. MJ says:

    47 comments. is that a record?

    48 now…

    c’mon boys, aren’t we missing the obvious solution? if every player wore a cowbell on the ice, we wouldn’t even be having this debate.

  17. Nick says:

    Lots of great discussion. I just want to throw one small side note into this all. Now knowing that Perron is out with a concussion the St. Louis medical staff should be ashamed of the fact they let him go back out and play at all in the rest of the game (let alone the next shift!), risking even more serious and career ending injury.

  18. Andy C says:

    @ MJ: Nope – we got to a 100 a couple of months back while diagnosing EvilDoug’s mental illness…

    However, I think I just hit the 50 mark, although with a new post up there, this one’s just for the accountant in me wanting to reach a nice round number…

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