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Are the Ducks completely delusional?

Image (1) WisniewskiHit-thumb-250x372-7453.png for post 379

I’m not one to just openly bash players or coaches, but frankly I’m getting weary and angry of constantly writing about dangerous and illegal hits instead of actually covering hockey. So when I watched the James Wisniewski hit on Brent Seabrook last night, I just sighed to myself and readied myself for another debate on illegal hits and the NHL’s punishment system.

Personally, I am a stern believer that any dangerous hits in hockey should be sternly dealt with immediately and with increasingly severe punishments. I don’t want hockey to become a ‘wimpy’ sport, but I also don’t want this sport that I love to brought to the general public’s attention only when there is a shockingly bad hit to cover.

What really irks me is when teams turn a blind eye to the transgressions one of their players has committed. I am all for defending your teammates and your players, but there is also a responsibility of the coaches and leaders on the team to not promote the dangerous plays we’re seeing with more and more frequency in the NHL.

After last night’s game between the Ducks and Blackhawks, the Ducks seem to be confused about what happened in last night’s game. Here are some quotes from Wisniewski and coach Randy Carlisle, courtesy of Eric Stephens of the Ducks Blog on the OC Register:

“That is the hot topic and it probably will get looked at,” Wisniewski said. “I think the result wasn’t because of a shot to the head. I’m 5-11. He’s 6-3. I really think what happened was my face hit his face. That’s why I got a slit right here because of the visor came down and hit me right in the face too after we collided heads.”

“There’ll be lots of banter back and forth on whether the hit was this or the hit was that,” the coach said. “Bottom line is that he hit the hockey player. He used his body, his arms were down and he made a hard hit on a player. We’ll let other people make those decisions.”

“Nothing surprises you in the way these things are dealt with,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “There’s a criteria that the league follows. We have always taken the stance that we don’t always have to agree with what the league decision is.

“We have our point of view. We have ample video. We’ll watch it and analyze it. We’ll plead our case if there needs to be a case pleaded.”

Here’s the reality of the hit: Wisniewski had Seabrook lined up for a big hit from the top of the faceoff circle. He wasn’t looking at the puck at all; if he had been, he would have realized that Seabrook never had the puck to begin with. He was focused on Seabrook and determined to lay him out with a big hit.

It’s true that their faces seemed to be the first to collide. But his arms weren’t necessarily down, as he and his coach claim. Take a look at the picture above (this is the best quality I could get of this exact moment as they collided). His arm was not the first to make contact, but his arms were raised and they drove Seabrook’s head hard into the boards.

To think that NHL should not take action for this hit is delusional. This is an even more clear-cut illegal hit that should result in a suspension, much more so than the Ovechkin hit. And the NHL cannot claim they have no rule to fall back on here: charging, boarding, intent to injure. You name it.

It’s not like this should be anything new for the Ducks. To say they have an unsavory reputation when it comes to dirty hits is just a bit of an understatement.

I understand that the Ducks want to defend their player. But don’t just turn a blind eye to, and pretty much promote, what’s driving this league straight into the ground.

(Photo courtesy of FSN and NHL Network)