Friday, October 25, 2013

10 Minute Misconduct: Shanabans For All

loui eriksson john scott hit
The Sabres keep making headlines, and for all the wrong reasons. They can't win a game, they are going to trade anyone decent for peanuts, and they now have more suspensions than wins. Woof!

1. Wooboy, John Scott at it again. First he goes after Phil Kessel in a move that goes against everything The Code purportedly stands for, and then he lays out The Perpetually Underrated Loui Eriksson ™ with a despicable head shot. Pretty clear Brendan Shanahan is going to treat Scott as a sacrificial lamb and suspend him for eternity, or at the very least blast him off into the sun. He'll decide while Scott sits out indefinitely. It's even more clear the Sabres know they're terrible and are looking for ways out of this season. Can't wait to see what Steve Ott does next week to get himself suspended. Poor Ryan Miller is soon going to wish he was anywhere else, even Edmonton.

2. Of course, the Sabres don't even have Scott on the roster if Milan Lucic doesn't run Miller a few years ago prompting zero response from every Sabre on the ice. After that the Sabres had to get big and tough to take on the Big Bad Bruins, but they turned themselves into a terrible team that will be lucky to be better than 30th in the league. But hey, at least they eventually paid back the Bruins, right?

3. Mike Milbury went off on John Scott even before the game started, saying he had no place in the league because he can't skate or pass. And then after watching Scott go head hunting Milbury didn't hold back after the game, going after both Scott and head coach Ron Rolston and calling them "two meat heads." When you're getting called a meat head by a guy who went into the crowd to beat a fan with his own shoe, you know you did something pretty dumb.

4. When you Google John Scott the picture that comes up for Colton Orr under "People also search for" is this beauty. Yikes!

colton orr goon leafs

5. The days of the enforcer are slowly dying. Fights per game are down since the 1999-2000 season (although there has been a slight upward trend over the past few years) and the super goon, those players who can do basically nothing else but fight, are also disappearing from the game. More teams are realizing the utter uselessness of having one-dimensional fighters take up a roster spot. Fighting may still have a place in hockey, but the goon doesn't.

6. Sean Gentille of the Sporting News came up with eight ideas to speed up the exodus of the enforcer, and to rid the game of the players visiting most often with Brendan Shanahan. I've long argued that teams should be forced to play with a short bench for the duration a player's suspension. Another idea is to limit the amount of fights a player can have by his amount of goals. That rule eliminate the goons almost instantaneously, yet still allow actual hockey players to fight.

7. The most common argument against legislating enforcers out of the game is that the rats will take over, something Brian Burke complained about when he sent Colton Orr down to the Marlies in 2011-12. I'm not entirely sold on this argument. First, because it's usually the enforcers who make it, and they're a little biased in the matter. But more importantly, because it's the players tasked with policing the game that are most often suspended. Enforcers are the ones that need to be policed.

8. For argument's sake, let's say the rats will take over, then the obvious solution is to just mandate that referees focus on stick infractions, just like when Lockout II ended and the league cracked down on obstruction. For anyone that doesn't get the message there are suspensions waiting. It really isn't that complicated.

9. It really feels like there is momentum to even consider some sort of broader ban on fighting, but then I remember that the debate about fighting in hockey has been going on forever and it's still here. Plus, banning fighting would give Don Cherry a conniption so furious he might literally explode. I don't think Gary Bettman wants to be the man to kill Don Cherry, his legacy is going to be bad enough.

10. John Scott's antics weren't the stupidest thing this week, however. MLSE is raising a permanent banner in the ACC for, get this, Bon Jovi. Why? Apparently because Bon Jovi has set records for tickets sold at the ACC and it's not like the Leafs or Raptors have been busy winning championships. Or there's this: Tim Leiweke has had "a longstanding and productive touring relationship with Bon Jovi." (Hat tip to @So_Truculent) What a joke.

“We’ve left plenty of room up there for Stanley Cup banners. This doesn’t take away from the Leafs,” said Tim Leiweke, an idiot. First he goes on a rampage wanting to tear down historical pictures of the Leafs' past glory, and then he makes parade planning comments. Get this guy out of here. A Bon Jovi banner is what a franchise with no history, and no history of success, does to put something up in the rafters. It's not what one of the league's flagship franchises does. A complete and utter embarrassment.

Just wait until Alan Frew gets his own banner for "significant contributions to terrible Leafs anthems of the aughts".

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