Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There are very few people I consider to be experts. This is probably because I have a Political Science Degree and therefore the complex to go along with it. Nevertheless two such people I believe to be experts are TSN's hockey god, Bob McKenzie, and current Kable Town executive John Francis "Jack" Donaghy (for extra credit I'll also say this guy is an expert in the field of music that I'm not cool enough to listen to).

On to the purpose of this post. Years ago when the giant Andrew Sutton played for a now forgotten hockey club, he once asked a reporter in a ill advised post game scrum if the reporter was an expert due to footage he saw during the game, and more specifically during a replay of a borderline body check performed by Sutton. Doesn't ring a bell?

Was the reporter an expert? Probably not, his name is not mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog post.

Andy Sutton however is an expert, an expert in violent hockey hits, some which have caused him to be hurt financially. Come with me as we take a look at some of the more notable "highlights" of this career in expertise.

Sid is lucky the Pens already played the Oilers
First let's take a look at some proof that Andy Sutton can be an effective clean yet devastating NHL hitting machine:

Could some of those hits be called charging? Yeah probably, but charging is one of those subjective hockey calls. Is Any Sutton a predator on the ice? Yes, but there is nothing wrong with that in a physical game like hockey, as long as he is able to hit cleanly and not hurt his team by taking penalties, or by being suspended, which has happened more than a few times over his career. 

Let's take a look at some of the dirty hits now which have caused Mr. Sutton to get a stern talking to, and watch a few games from the press box:

Saw the number, drilled Pascal Dupuis head first into the end boards. Looks like Dupuis may have been knocked out and is lying in a pool of his own blood too for good measure. Sutton received 2 games.

The incident that sparked the expert interview. No suspension for this hit, though it probably would have been this year. May have targeted the head, may have gotten the elbow up a bit, I'm no expert. Were this hit to take place in the regular season it may have been suspension worthy, in the past the NHL has made it clear it won't suspend players in the playoffs unless it is absolutely necessary.

That brings us to this season, take it away Brendan Shanaban:

Pretty cut and dry there, Sutton almost only hit him in the head. Most interesting part of the video is that Shanahan mentions Sutton has been fined in the past. Fines the don't include a suspension do not have to be disclosed to the public. Further digging has uncovered that Sutton has been fined over SEVEN times for on ice incidents. That is fairly significant.

Fast forward, Sutton misses his 5 games, is force to donate some of that sweet $2.125 million contract to the NHL Player Emergency Fund, and he's back on the ice. I can't remember what happens next....

Sometime during his first shift of the game, which I was lucky enough to attend, I turned to my buddy and said "Every time Sutton is on the ice I get a feeling that something dirty is going to happen."

That night Sutton's stat line read: 1 assist, 2 minutes for boarding, 2 minutes for boarding, 5 minutes for fighting, totaling 9 minutes in penalties in just over 18 minutes of ice-time. Sutton was a +2 and has given the 3rd Star by TSN. Of course that doesn't the "clean" hits including a knee on Eric Staal in the first period that resulted in Staal receiving an unsportsmanlike penalty and his devastating third period open ice hit on Jeff Skinner which I cannot find video footage of. It is interesting to point out though that although the hit was deemed clean, Jeff Skinner has not played since and is out with an "undisclosed injury." Read into that what you will.

The big talking point from that game though, since the Oilers really shat the bed, was Sutton's second boarding penalty. Again let's turn to an expert in his own right, Brendan Shanahan:

The Oilers did not make Sutton available for interviews after the game. Probably the wisest decision that club has made since signing Corey Potter in the offseason (I thought about saying since they kept RNH in the show but come on, that was a gimmie!)

Recently Sutton has opened his mouth about the incident to say how he feels the system is not doing him any favours. While he may or may not be right about the suspension hearing system in the NHL, he is certainly not doing himself any favours by coming out with quotes like this following suspensions:

This one released through the Oilers after recieving 5 games for the Landeskog hit: "I have been informed of and understand the League's decision, however, I had no intention of delivering an illegal check.  For 14 years, I've always played the game with respect and integrity and I will continue to do so when I return."

And this one released without club censorship following his current 8 game ban for the above hit: “They make their decisions and unfortunately you have to live with them. I really don’t have much recourse in any way shape or form...” 
Obviously the public isn't privy to these discipline hearings, but I doubt these quotes and Sutton's obvious violent history will help him during his next hearing. And there WILL be a next hearing.

Sutton's 8 game suspension makes him next available to the Edmonton Oilers on December 31st, when the Oilers play one of Sutton's old teams,  the New York Islanders.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Leafs Get Unlimited Texting....According To Their Contract

Well well well, in one of the more interesting NHL ownership squabbles of late it looks as though that group of communist Ontario teachers have sold their stake in MLSE (The Leaf, Raptors maybe, and some futball team no one like) to a group consisting of Canadian media giants Bell and Rogers.

The real question here is how will things be different, and are their any jokes to be made at the expense of Toronto Maple Leafs and their new owners that don't involve texting (NSFW and sorry).

Casual television watchers (like if you are a Big Bang Theory or X-Factor supporter, fools) and cell phone users must be wondering how these two competitors will be able to work together and they may be surprised to learn this is not the first time they have.

Remember that thing with the fire and ice and hockey and Crosby? You know that event that brought a peaceful nation together at last? It was the Olympics, the other sporting event that happened in Vancouver that didn't result in a riot.

For decades the CBC was the sole media entity that brought you coverage of the Summer and Winter Olympics in Canada. That all changed when two media giants (in Canadian terms) came together and out bid the crown corp. I am of course talking about the entity known as Canada's Olympic Broadcast Consortium. I lovely entity which Joshua Staav and I once stole Coke Zero from which was comprised Bell Media and Rogers Media.

So likely Toronto FC will now have a new home on Omni Television, which really makes sense when you look at their demographics. That's not racist.

Both networks already play as many Leafs games as they possibly can, so that won't change. Maybe the networks will work together to give people who watch the Leafs games the best possible in game analysis, though that really just means watching the TSN feed and letting Jeff Marek on the panel.

"But Dan," says the astute reader (singular) of my blog who was in my Vancouver Olympics course at Brock University (name drop), "I knew all about the Olympic Consortium, I remember watching Olympic highlights brought to me by hipsters in a hot tub and watching Biathlon on Omni, and recaps on RDS. Give me something new!"

Settle down imaginary person. Years ago did you know that Rogers Sportsnet and TSN shared office space in a building in Scarborough, Ontario? and further more they shared a parking lot?

From 2001 to 2008 the two competitors shared the Agincourt complex. Altercations were few and far between even though Bob McCowen often said on air he enjoyed throwing bottles at the TSN studios. Competing Anchors Shawn McCormick (of Sportsnet and drunken Oilers/Leafs game fame) used to carpool with his wife and Jennifer Hedger (of TSN and yelling at Shawn at said hockey game fame) to work.

But alas all was not well in sports media land. Darren Dregor crossed the parking lot (without being compared to a female dog by Peter Mckay, Canadian politics joke), started wearing nice suits and joined the TSN crew. Sportsnet moved downtown and TSN remained the only thing of substance in the Scarborough area.

So the two networks CAN work together.

Will this change the way they report on the NHL and it's favourite son, The Toronto Maple Leafs? Probably not. I mean I'll probably make tampering jokes every time anyone on either network talks about trade rumours but let's me honest, Brian Burke controls what they talk about anyway and both national networks are already huge homers for the blue and white. I was going to put a link in here but it seem like a waste of time, just check out the network websites, there is probably a story about what a good captain Dion Phanuef is or how the Leafs are right on the path Brian Burke envisioned for them three seasons ago.

I guess the Score is a little weaker, but I know of a couple hockey teams in the Toronto area that could use the sponsorship anyway.

On the plus side I assume that Leafs players will no longer have any issues with their cell phone plans, and those pesky roaming charges when they use Twitter on road trips will be waved. Who am I kidding everyone has a problem with their cell phone plan unless your name is Nathan Reboh.

I wonder is Damien Cox will still be critical of the Leafs, probably not, but you have to ask, right Damien? 

This isn't that exciting, I'm going back to listening to The Clash and doing all that other stuff that is supposed to get creative people out of the funks they put themselves in.