Blog Entry

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:12 pm

The verdict is already down on Steve Downie and Chris Kunitz from their Game 4 elbows to the head. Each player will be suspended for one game .

In Game 4, the Lightning's Downie flattened Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy on the boards behind the net. Lovejoy clearly wasn't aware of the hit coming and it came up high, a very dangerous combination.

A little later in the game, Kunitz threw a clear and undeniable elbow at the head of Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne. He was penalized on the play two minutes for elbowing. While the damage potential wasn't incredibly high, the intent is what matters here, and there's little way to say there was no intent to throw an elbow to the head.

The decision comes down a day after the NHL elected not to punish the Canucks' Raffi Torres for a questionable hit on Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks, who will miss tonight's Game 4 in Chicago.

The hits are exactly what the league has been trying to eradicate in recent years. It's been a touchy subject with a lot of gray area, but anytime it seems clear there was an intentional shot to the head, the suspension is likely to follow.

In the playoffs there seems to be an uptick in the amount of the big, dangerous hits, something you can likely attribute to the playoff brand of hockey, a more physical and intense brand.

-- Brian Stubits

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:34 pm
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Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 8:20 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

One Game!!!! What a joke they should both be done for the year.  I'm not usually one to push for lenghty suspensions but those hits were completly flagrant and uncalled for.  The NHL needs to get a handle on this.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 7:25 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

First of all, I said that if and when he gets rid of Cooke I'll give him props for that. Why should I commend him before he actually does it? You're making too big a deal out of my point about him waiting. I merely said it would have been "more meaningful" if he had done it right away. It would have sent a more powerful message and been more in line with where he says he stands. If Cooke never plays again for Pittsburgh that's good. But you can't deny it would have been a more powerful statement to get rid of him right away. Which was my point.

Second, there is a subtle but important distinction between "team full of headhunters" and "team that can't stop dishing out headshots". The first statement is a general character judgement. Certainly Cooke can be labeled a headhunter. Kunitz is debatable - I can see arguments both ways. No one else on the team, to my knowledge has done much if anything to earn the term. So if I had made that statement it would have been patently unfair. The second statement, though, is based on events that have actually occurred. "Only" two in a month you say. How many is acceptable? Again, which teams have committed more? And, again, the last one came in the most recent game they've played. Can you say that they have stopped dishing out head shots? By either measure - frequency and recency (if that's actually a word) they are among the worst if not the worst offender. So I do feel justified making that statement.

Finally, how do you know I even hate the Penguins? Just because I'm a Flyers fan you assume I hate Pittsburgh? It's true I don't like them much. There are a lot of teams I don't like much. But I guarantee you my stance has nothing to do with that. Maybe I wouldn't be as vocal about it but I promise I'd feel exactly the same way if it was Ed Snider instead of Mario Lemieux we were talking about.

And I'm not going to get on your case about numbering your points "one" and "second". Anyone can make a typo. Enjoy your playoff game tonight. Hopefully, I'll enjoy mine.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:31 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

Haha numbering my points "one" and "second" sure diminishes some credibility in what I'm trying to say.  It's been a long day and it's starting to show.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:26 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

One, using the phrase "team full of headhunters" in lieu of "a team that can't stop dishing out headshots" is more of an overstatement than twisting words.  But like the rest of my argument went (since apparently you didn't notice that part) 2 bad headshots in a month does not "a team that can't stop dishing out headshots" make.  Use logic, not hate.

Second, why would Lemieux himself get rid of Cooke right now?  Under the new CBA players can't be outright released; they have to either be traded, placed on waivers, or bought out.  I get that Mario says Cooke won't play for the Penguins again.  Since Lemieux was one of 6 owners to vote for a no-headshots rule, I'm pretty sure that the other 24 teams out there will be more than happy to have a chance at a guy like Cooke; looking past the headshots, Cooke is a talented hockey player who can go out and play a gritty style, score 15-20 goals a year, and is a great penalty killer. 

So my question is why would Lemieux (or rather Shero, but since Lemieux controls the bank he basically makes this kind of decision) simply give up a talented asset for absolutely nothing (or actually have to pay to get rid of him if he would buy out his contract) and face the potential of that asset coming back to bite him in the backside, even later in these playoffs if the Penguins advance?  To ask him to do that, especially during the playoffs, is incredibly asinine.  Please name me one competent business owner that would do that.  And no the Pirates' ownership/management group doesn't count. 

He made the statement that Cooke wouldn't play in a Pens uni again.  How about let's just wait to see until opening day next year to see if he carries that statement to fruition before calling him a hypocrite.  Otherwise you only continue to come off as a hater who refuses to take off the black and orange shades.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece


I'll give you that you are at least trying to make logical arguments rather than spewing mindless insults. So I credit you for that. But, much like a lawyer, you're twisting my words. I didn't say they had a "team full of headhunters". I said "a team that can't stop dishing out headshots". They've had two blatant headshots in the last month. Tell me one team that has more than that. Plus, the latest one was in the last game they've played. Hence, THEY HAVEN'T STOPPED.

And as far as Cooke goes, I DID mention that Lemieux said he intends to get rid of Cooke. But he hasn't actually DONE it yet. He can say whatever he wants but until he actually does something, Cooke is still on the team. Meaning that if the Pens struggle to get past Tampa and/or incur further injury and Mario changes his mind he can still stick Cooke back in there. Do I think he will? Probably not. But as of now, he still has that option. So don't hand me a bunch of dates based on what he SAID. As of yet, he has not actually "walked the talk".

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

"I may not be changing your minds but you're not changing mine either."

By the way, I never cared to change your opinion.  I'm just tired of blind homers like yourself who loathe everything Pittsburgh so much that you try to influence other people into thinking that Lemieux is a hypocrite, that Sid is a diver, that Gary Bettman has some conspiracy for the Penguins, etc.  You may only be guilty of the first example, but the "proof" you gave in support of your argument ever so carefully ignored that he made the statement 10 days after the suspension, not 3-4 weeks (and after the Pens "realized they can win without Cooke" as though his name is Ovechkin or Sedin), and that Mario himself said that he refuses to have a player on his team that he is trying to weed out of the league.  When you're making an argument, it's rather unethical to pick and choose around proof that goes against your own argument.  Use the good and acknowledge the bad.  Otherwise, you're nothing but a blind homer.  Thanks for playing.  Buh-bye.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 4:48 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

I consider myself one of the more reasonable Penguins fans on this site, so I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt regarding the headshots quote.  I'm not like a lot of these yinzers on the boards who think anything in black and gold is beyond reproach.  However, you interestingly left out this quote: " "Even after the first round of playoffs, [Cooke] will not be back with the team". Lemieux added that in life, you have to walk the talk.  "We lost Sidney for a long period of time because of a head hit, and my team will not be one of that kind."

And to my defense, I hadn't come across this article (sorry, in law school and things are starting to get tight so I don't have much time to peruse hockey articles at my leisure) until you brought it to my attention.  Lemieux has played this card regarding stomping his feet and threatening to take his ball and go home before -- for instance, when the "threat" of the Penguins leaving Pittsburgh was basically a direct result of him saying the ownership would be willing to move the team when it all truth there was no way he was really going to leave; he just wanted the new arena.  So when he and the Canadians owner say they are going to start a "premium" league, it's something they can say until they are blue in the face, but it's never going to happen.  Nonetheless, back to your response... 

You're not a hypocrite for having a headhunter on your roster. You're a hypocrite for setting yourself up as the league's saviour from the dangers of headshots and then continuing to field a team that can't stop dishing out headshots."

So the Penguins' entire team is comprised of Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz?  Hmm, interesting.  But I forgot, it's not like the Penguins themselves haven't had at least a half dozen concussions this year.  So even if the team itself did suffer some karmic revenge due to Cooke (and now Kunitz, though he doesn't really have a history of this stuff and simply made a horrible, stupid decision), to say the entire team is fieled with headhunters is overdramatic.  But to expect him to come out the day after the hit, particularly when the league itself hadn't made a decision, and make an example out of one of his own players is a stupid idea.  What business owner thinks he can publicly target a particular employee in the media  for a one-time (yes I've seen the videos of Kunitz, but he isn't anywhere near the same league of guys like Cooke, Richards, etc.) transgression?

I also don't think he purposely "waited to see that the team can get by without Cooke" before saying he won't be back.  Look at the date of the article...March 31.  Then look at when Cooke was suspended (March 21st, but the hit took place March 20th).  I'd say waiting ten days after the suspension was handed down before saying Cooke would not be back was absolutely reasonable given the ramifications of that statement. 

I asked for proof, and you gave me enough to solidy my argument without me really having to lift a finger.  Thanks.  I might try to improve those argumenting skills. 

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:47 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

PS - My previous post should say "Pittsburgh Herald" rather than "Pittsburgh Gazette". I can only imagine the crap I'll take for getting the paper's name wrong...

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece


Those links I posted weren't meant to show what Lemieux said, they were meant to show that I wasn't the only one with this viewpoint. Some Pens fans on these boards are acting like it's ridiculous that I'm even bringing the subject up. I wasn't necessarily talking about just his quotes at the end of the Islanders game. And though it's pretty disingenuous to stick your fingers in your ears and say "Nope, I never heard the words 'head shots' in that rant, that can't have anything to do with what he was talking about", I'll admit he never DIRECTLY addressed them at that time. But he has definitely gone after the league about headshots in particular in the wake of Crosby's concussion. Consider this article:


Specifically note #2:

"Mario Lemieux and Geoff Molson [Penguins' and Habs' owners] are with the 4 other sane owners, a league without headshots and with respect for the human dignity of hockey players so they are not degraded to Rollerball players."

Then follow the link marked "considering establishing a premium league". It takes you to your very own Pittsburgh Gazette to give you the following quote from Mario:

"I want a league where stars can play without having the fear of finishing their days in a wheel chair or being mentally limited because of head hits".

I can only spend so much time googling. Is that enough for you?

Granted, that first article also mentions that he is planning to ditch Cooke and if so, that would be a good first step. Of course, it would have been more meaningful if he had done it right away rather than waiting 3-4 weeks and finding out that his team can get by without Cooke. But even so, I'll be willing to give him props for ditching Cooke if he does so. But what about Kunitz? Is Lemieux doing all this posturing just to get 1-game suspensions for these head hits? Unlikely. So what does he do to stop the madness on his own team, where he has the power to do something?

You're not a hypocrite for having a headhunter on your roster. You're a hypocrite for setting yourself up as the league's saviour from the dangers of headshots and then continuing to field a team that can't stop dishing out headshots. Again, for those who can't see that there's no point in my going on because there's no penetrating blind homerism. You asked for proof so you got this post but I can't see it getting through to anybody so you guys can go on defending Lemieux and Kunitz and anyone else that wears a Pens jersey. I may not be changing your minds but you're not changing mine either.

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