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News Report: Rutherford Speaking out

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When a player doesn't play the puck, it means they're playing the body, which is perfectly fine. How many times last year did Ruutu completely ignore the puck, but instead attempt to lay out a player along the boards? Weight made the smart move, which was to use his considerable size advantage over Sutter to knock him off the puck.

Sutter wasn't on a breakaway, but had he gotten away from Weight, he would have been. Which is why it was better to play the body in that situation, instead of attempting to steal the puck back.

What's really ironic is that Brandon's relatives were known for hits like these when they were playing. Borderline dirty, massive open ice hits. You ask his father about the hit, and he'll probably say that Brandon should have kept his head up.

Agreed, Isles were on the PP, Weight isn't the greatest defensive player, but he's a veteran who knows to go after the body, not the puck in that situation. If you play the puck, your leaving yourself open to the chance that the puck bounces or skips by you and away goes sutter. It's a split second decision, Weight can't just decided to poke check him cause he doesn't want to hurt Sutter. I mean he didn't want to hit him in the head, but unfortunately its tough to time these things.

Also on the Cole analysis by others, it was sort of a head shot really like the others. Cole was hit hard from behind and had his head rammed into the boards in a vulnerable position, way worse intent, hence the suspension to Orpik.

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Weight did nothing wrong here--he meant to deliver a blow--but it would have just been a nice clean open ice hit if Sutter had not leaned forward to hit the puck a little forward. It looked like Sutter was trying to poke it forward so he could side step Weight and just estimated the speeds a bit wrong. While Weight carries more "weight" then Sutter, he is still a good 3-4" inches shorter--he would have to jump to get to Brandon's head in normal play.

However, I don't see how you can call the Letowski or Cullen plays anything but headhunting. The Letowski play is virtually similar to the shot Drury took against the Sens. The player who hit him (Armstrong in this case) lined him up from behind and delivered a blow to the head. It wasn't somebody Letowski should have seen, it wasn't designed to knock somebody off the puck--it was designed to punish and was intentionally aimed at the head. Orr, in the Cullen case, had a choice to knock Cullen for a loop with a clean hit to the chest--or he could dip his shoulder and aim a blow to the underside of Cullen's chin. Orr took the nastier hit. Was it "clean"? Under the current rules yes--but the blow was intended to knock him out and it did. That is what the NHL needs to stop--not the accidental hit that Brandon took.

And I know everybody hates Lindros--but look at the hit Stevens knocked him out with. Lindros was battling another Devil and Stevens used him as a screen to set up Lindros and intentionally hits him with the top of his shoulder pad in the head. Didn't even look at the puck, which he could have stolen easily, or play the body at all. The only part of Steven's equipment to hit Lindros was his shoulder pad to the head. Youtube scores a great hit and the NHL loses one of the most dynamic players or his era--good trade?

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I think that those who keep arguing the legitimacy of blindsided open ice hits or shoulder to head hits are ignoring the real point JR and others are trying to make. Yes, they are legit right now and THAT is the issue. Considering the severity of possible injuries from these sorts of hits, I feel there is nothing the League can ever say to justify why they need to be or should be "legal". I'm sure that at one point other dangerous hits like boarding, elbowing, sticking out your knee, skates leaving the ice on a hit, etc. were "legal" too, until the League decided enough was enough and put rules and penalties in place to punish players and curtail those hits. So why not with totally deliberate blindsides and/or hits to the head? The League really needs to wake up and do something about it.

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I think that those who keep arguing the legitimacy of blindsided open ice hits or shoulder to head hits are ignoring the real point JR and others are trying to make. Yes, they are legit right now and THAT is the issue. Considering the severity of possible injuries from these sorts of hits, I feel there is nothing the League can ever say to justify why they need to be or should be "legal". I'm sure that at one point other dangerous hits like boarding, elbowing, sticking out your knee, skates leaving the ice on a hit, etc. were "legal" too, until the League decided enough was enough and put rules and penalties in place to punish players and curtail those hits. So why not with totally deliberate blindsides and/or hits to the head? The League really needs to wake up and do something about it.

I think you're on the right track. The NFL has a penalty for blows to the head and head to head hits. And they have better helmets and don't play on skates and ice. The NHL could have a two tiered penalyy just like the two different facemask penalties in the NFL. Any blow to the head, or any blow that results in a player's head hitting the ice is a pentaly, even if, like an inadvertant high stick, it is accidental. Then there could be a major penalty if the official determines that it was malicious.

Yes that puts the ref in the position to try to determine intent, which is not ideal (though they have to do that all the time), but the point is that there would be something there in the back of the player launching the hit's mind. They would be more likely to check their target before impact.

Taking it further, there could be an eye for an eye approach on outcome. A player who causes a consussion is out for the same time as the player he concussed up to a max of some # games. That would stop it cold. Knock it out as it were.

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Crosby and Ovechkin often play with a style that puts them in vunerable positions. Wait for the outrage when they get KO'ed like Sutter. I know it's a double standard, but wait till some chump tries to put them out of a game, I'll bet the league will have something to say then.

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Crosby and Ovechkin often play with a style that puts them in vunerable positions. Wait for the outrage when they get KO'ed like Sutter. I know it's a double standard, but wait till some chump tries to put them out of a game, I'll bet the league will have something to say then.

I mentioned this in the Gameday thread. NASCAR had several drivers killed by head trauma in the years prior to Dale Earnhardt being killed. It took that level of star to be hurt/killed before anything was done. The NHL could wait for it to happen, and surely it will. The athletes are bigger and faster than they were in the past. If Crosby or Ovechkin had been laying on the ice like a rag doll instead of Sutter, it would have been the lead story on Sportscenter (providing ESPN still covers hockey).

As i stated earlier, I like physical hockey but something needs to be done to address hits to the head. Sutter did put himself in harms way by skating with his head down. The defender in that situation has to make sure that he doesn't strike the head.

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What's really ironic is that Brandon's relatives were known for hits like these when they were playing. Borderline dirty, massive open ice hits. You ask his father about the hit, and he'll probably say that Brandon should have kept his head up.

Interesting point!

My question is you have to look down to see where the puck is and that you have control and on your stick at some point. Right!

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Just a question reference the Weight/Sutter incident. Say Malkin is coming across center ice with his head down. #12 Staal hits him with a clean shoulder and puts his lights out cleanly and Malkin is out for weeks with a concusion. Would you be yelling for Staal's suspension? If you say yes then you have a valid argument. If your answer is well, er, uhh, he wouldn't deliberatly do it, he has no record of malicious play, etc. your argument doesn't hold water. I stick to my guns, I don't want to see Sutter or anyone hurt, but I don't want "no hit" hockey either. It was an unfortunate (for us, I have been a Canes fan for years) incident, but it is a contact sport and people will get hurt sometimes unless there is no contact.

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Betteman takes calls on XM radio Thursdays at 4PM. I'll be at work and will see if I can sneak away to make the call but if anyone else feels like putting him on the spot nows your chance! ... Just had a thought. Wouldn't it be funny if JR called and asked him on the radio? Or even Sutter?

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Seems to me we already have a precedent with a rule about 'intent' (or not) - high sticking. Even the NICEST players, if they accidentally high stick someone, gets a penalty (FOUR minutes if there is ANY evidence of blood!). Why can't we have a similar rule for hits to the head? Even if it's an accident, 2 minutes. It would be hard to assess the extra 2 as teams could embellish the effect I suppose... but to say "penalties for hits to the head would discourage hitting" is like saying "penalties for high sticking would discourage shooting and passing"

A more appropriate comparison would be if Brindy hits Patrick Kane. Doug Weight is no Conboy or Brookbank. That being said Weight didn't do anything wrong and doesn't have a rep for making questionable hits. He (or one of their other players) should have paid the price however and I am very disappointed in our team for not even a cursory retaliation. With 11 minutes to go in the period there was plenty of time wothout the death sentence for instigating inside 5 minutes.

I do think the NHL will listen to JR and very likely he will get a call from Colin or Gary about openly airing comments like these but in the end we will see some type of NO Head contact rule similar to the NFL.

Now I was going to post this in the other thread we already have going but I guess its more applicable here....

My caveat: My memory is terrible so its entirely possible I am forgetting something but Did anyone else notice what is painfully absent in this comment????

Rutherford told TSN.ca. "I've had four players - Erik Cole, Trevor Letowski, Matt Cullen and now Brandon Sutter - get badly injured on hits to the head and only one of the guys who hit them was suspended."

It may be apples and oranges but if he includes Erik Cole who wasn't hit in the head but Boarded from behind then why wouldn't Tanabe be included whose career is over as a result of a concussion blow to the head? Did it just slip his mind or an intentional omission or did it not fit the criteria he was talking about with guys needing to be suspended from "hard hits" to the head area? I just found it interesting when he threw out hits from two years ago but not one from more recently that has ended a guys career.... Just curious.

Or did I miss a true "concussion hit" on Erik?

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Seems to me we already have a precedent with a rule about 'intent' (or not) - high sticking. Even the NICEST players, if they accidentally high stick someone, gets a penalty (FOUR minutes if there is ANY evidence of blood!). Why can't we have a similar rule for hits to the head? Even if it's an accident, 2 minutes. It would be hard to assess the extra 2 as teams could embellish the effect I suppose... but to say "penalties for hits to the head would discourage hitting" is like saying "penalties for high sticking would discourage shooting and passing"

That's what is killing me when I hear people say "discourgaing hits to the head will take hitting completly out of the game". Uh no it won't. You can hit somebody without hitting them in the head. We see so many hits a game, and 97% of those hits are not to the head. So yes, it can be done.

The NFL continues to a contact sport and they have strict rules in hits to the heads. I watch football every sunday, I have yet to see a player not make a hit.

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Sorry to say this as I am a TOTAL hurricanes fan but the hit was legal and I see nothing wrong with it. Yes, it was a hit to the head but Sutter should have been paying attention to his surroundings. He had plenty of time to see Weight coming and could have avoided the hit.

Yes, it was a dangerous blow but that's one of the reason these guys get paid so much to play too. Talent and hard hitting is a part of the game. You take away the hitting and you might as well be playing in a house "C" league. All professionals take a chance when they sign the dotted line but they want the money so they have to suffer some bruises and possible injuries. Do you think a football player knows he is going to be hit in the air, land on his helmet, and break his neck? No one wishes injuries on anyone but if it's part of the game, it is going to happen. You cannot always blame the person doing the hitting.

Weight was going for a shoulder to shoulder hit but Sutter reached out too far at the last minute and exposed his head. What was Weight suppose to do? He was going for a legal hit and the circumstances changed at the last minute.

As far as I am concerned...Welcome to the NHL, Sutter!

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Looks like Sutter left the hospital. I hope he's doing much better.

Keep your head up. Its a hard lesson to learn but Sutter will be keeping his head up from now on. Everyone's heard the cliche, "this game is a game of inches." If Sutter didn't reach out and by consequence lowered his head, it would have been a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.

On a different note, are the Hurricanes cursed? Pitkanen is out for about a month with knee surgery.

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On a different note, are the Hurricanes cursed? Pitkanen is out for about a month with knee surgery.

Answer=yes, they sold their souls for the Cup. ;)

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Every injured player on the opposing teams during our Cup run = 1 year of injury-riddled Canes.

Let's see: Koivu, Tallinder, Numminen, McKee, Roloson

So, we're not too far off. I'm not sure if McKee or Numminen were injured when we faced them or they were hit in previous rounds, so the time might be lower

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The comparison to the NFL is dead on.. the NFL takes a lot of efforts to protect ALL players, doesnt matter if you are Tom Brady or the 4th string punter... Any unsafe hit, whether helmet to helmet, or unneeded hits out of bounds, hits below the knees, hits on a kicker with his leg extended, anything that could cause a player to be injured is penalized, and a lot of times fined as well. Yet, you watch a football game and there are still bone crunching hits that make you cringe and be like "OOOOooh man.. he got jacked".... The hits in the NHL will still be dramatic since shoulder to shoulder open ice hits, or hits along the boards or hip to hip back checks will not be penalized or removed.

As far as the previous question about why Tanabe was left out by JR, wasnt Tanabe plagued by less serious stuff, but it happened multiple times, like a boxer or a NFL QB? Not one big hit that left him unconcious.. but a couple of slams into the boards and then a month later.. "Man this headache wont go away" type thing? I don't know for sure but thats what it seems like to me from reading about it, but please correct me if i'm wrong.

Also, as far as the Erik Cole hit.. not sure if that one applies either, but I think Erik was bent kinda low and may have taken an elbow to the back of the head as part of that boarding? Still deserved to be penalized and a suspension handed down, but maybe not the same as the Sutter hit.

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legit hits to the head,

I think JRs point is the league's stated "concern" for hits to the head, not the 'legitimateness' of the hit. Outlaw hits to the head, and it would not be "legit". Your point about it being legit would be in order were that the discussion. I do have some questioning as to Weight not being able to do anything about it. Weight finished his check. Sutter was leaning over well before Weight got there. Those guys have mavelous body control EXCEPT when it comes to hits, then it's unavoidable. Yeah, right.

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Wanna remove hits to the head, start enforcing the current rules and give harder suspensions for boarding, elbows and crosschecks resulting in injury.

3 Games for that board on Cole was something to be mad about. Cole didnt make a stupid play putting him in adverse position and Orpik could have just bodied Cole into the boards rather then crosscheck him into the boards. See now thats avoidable and if you enforce current rules its less of a problem. Colin Campbell lacks the balls to make an example of anyone. Philly having like 6 suspensions and then just going on Bettmans watch list was a joke.

Send a message suspended someone for 20 games for the current rules and whamo you finally got some wheels turning to cleaning up cheapo hits.

For those that think he coulda stopped please watch the youtube video at

Please notice at the 0:03 Sutter is just at the blueline... before the 4th second Sutter is knocked out. 1 Second...

Please break this down

If you manage to do this, click pause and play until you get Sutter is just above the top left mini logo. This is about 3.75 seconds and Sutters head is still up and its going to be a clean check. Hit play and pause as fast as you can and now Sutter's head is down and Weight is coming to finish his check and it's prolly 4.25 seconds if you are able to do it right. Regardless all this happened in less then a second. From that point I would say at about 4.5 or 4.75 Sutter is out cold on the ice.

Guys we are talking about literally half a second here that you want Weight to recognize that the kid put his head down and stop. Thats so unreasonable its absurd. Sutter doesnt make that stupid move while knowing full well Weight is coming this doesnt happen and you cant bs me and say he didnt know Weight was coming he made the particular move he made because he knew Weight was coming.

There is to many unpredictable movements in the NHL to police THAT, however what happened with Cole was ridicolous and not handled properly in the least. This though, was unfortumate but I'm sorry Brandon is at fault.

You dont tackle someone in football with the tip of your helmet you'll break your neck, you dont put your head down in the neutral zone or you'll get your neck broke or concust. It's one of those things you are taught very early.

The only action that was piss poor that JR should be more concerned about is the lack of retaliation to stop people from thinking you can perform open ice checks without paying for it. Brookbank needs to goto the AHL if all hes gonna be is a pine warmer while Gleason and Lacroutre have more fights. When Walker is back he'll be virtually useless... For those saying Brookbank was protecting our guys I was telling you to give me a break and now I'm saying told you so. He has nothing to do with our players safety in the end expecially when no ones afraid to fight him.

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Brandon Sutter's tough, both him and Ward played junior in my hometown, Red Deer, he'll be okay. Carolina is lucky to have him, he's got lots of heart. I do find it amazing that you guys are having difficulty selling out with $10 tickets. Tickets for the Flames and Oilers go for anywhere from $75 to $300, and there sold out all the time. Carolina should look at trading for Brandon's cousin Brett Sutter. Hell of a good player and the Flames don't seem to be calling him up.

As far as the hit goes, its too bad, but the physical game is what makes it the best sport out there, or should they change the rules to "touch" hockey? C'mon, hockey without spine rattling checks and fights?

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I was watching NBC17 news last night and they were talking about the hit on Sutter and his condition last night. I noticed something that renews my opinion that the hit was uncalled for. If you watch the replay notice where Weight starts from. He is coming at Sutter from his defensive zone and could have went for the puck.

While "legal" I still contend that the hit was uncalled for.

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Well, I knew there would be people that did not agree with my post and there were points brought up about if it was my kid laid out how would I feel? That is a valid point but I must stand behind my feelings. A blow to the head IS very dangerous and 9 times out of 10 is uncalled for. But in the instance with Sutter and Weight, I have replayed the video many times over and here is what I see.

1). Sutter is driving hard to the puck, and Weight is as well. Some said if you look where he was coming from he could have gone for the puck. True!...but Sutter was reaching trying to push it deeper into their zone and Weight knew Sutter had beat him to the puck.

2). Sutter looked at Weight before he got to the puck so he knows he was there. It was not a "blind side" hit. Sutter chose to pursue the puck and beat Weight to it. It was his choice.

3). Weight saw that he was beaten but wanted to stop the puck from going deeper into his zone. He went for the legal hit of shoulder-to-shoulder but Sutter decided to reach the puck hoping he could avoid the hit by poking the puck then spinning. Weight was there faster than he thought. So, when he reached for the puck it made him bend at the waist thus lower his head to be exposed to Weight's hit. Weight saw Sutter bend and tried to soften the blow by not leaning into the hit but rather leaned out away from it.

In the time it took for the hit to happen, it was too fast for either to avoid the head blow. Weight did what he could to avoid it and Sutter was not fast enough.

Now, should blows to the head be disallowed? Absolutely!!!! But this one was unavoidable and not intentional.

Just my .02 and I hope Sutter gets back soon as I am a HUGE Canes fan!!!

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Just a question reference the Weight/Sutter incident. Say Malkin is coming across center ice with his head down. #12 Staal hits him with a clean shoulder and puts his lights out cleanly and Malkin is out for weeks with a concusion. Would you be yelling for Staal's suspension?

Now that would never happen. Staal may check against the boards, but an open ice hit? Only in my dreams.

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Now that would never happen. Staal may check against the boards, but an open ice hit? Only in my dreams.

It happened last year. Staal with an open ice hit on Ovechkin while we were on PK. We were scored on few seconds later, but it happened.

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