Oct 28, 2007

Randy Jones

Let me say this upfront: Like those other two, I am not unbiased on this one.

However, this time my bias is in Randy Jones' favor rather than against it.

Obviously I'm concerned for Bergeron like everyone else. Concussions are serious medical conditions, and broken noses aren't all that fun either.

The hit will be reviewed by the NHL, and I'll be truly surprised if they don't hand down another suspension because:

(1) It's the Flyers, and
(2) A player was seriously injured as a result of the hit.

However, my opinion is that Randy's suspension shouldn't be anything near as long as Downie's or Boulerice's precisely because he is a real first-time offender.

Randy's role is deeper than the traditional "enforcer" defenseman. He makes strong contributions to the team's scoring in addition to making solid - and up until yesterday's game - acceptable hits. Randy's not careless, he doesn't lack self-control, and he doesn't have anger management issues either.

Randy hasn't had this happen with one of his hits before. He's clearly shaken by what happened, to the point that you can see it in the interview tapes. He's sincerely apologized at every opportunity to do it. He accepts the blame everyone casts at him and he probably heaps more of it on himself in private.

So, while my concern is extended to Bergeron, it's also extended to Randy Jones. It's going to take time for him to move beyond this, and not because of disciplinary measures.


Anonymous said...

I have issues with this being an "illegal hit," which is what I've been hearing all over. Ill-advised, possibly, but illegal? My inner derby girl sees it as a target-fixation hit... see the opposite team's colors going past you, and damn, if you can line it up, you're there. It's just unfortunate that "there" was right next to the boards with Bergeron's head down.

Honestly, I think this hit was much less premeditated than a lot of the hits (this is the only time you'll hear me say this) that Army laid on people behind the net last year. Army had half the ice to line it up and or not make the hit, while Jones had only what, 20 or so feet? Basic physics says it's hard to pull a hit in 20 feet.

What I see, though, is that while Army and Jones do both make the big hits, they're shaken up by the actual injuries that result, indicating that they're both not just big goony headhunters. I think that really says a lot about a player as a person.

Do I think it was intentional? The hit, yes, the injury, no. Is the suspension called for? Probably. For guys with a conscience, it'll make them more aware of what they're doing out there.

Also, I've started thinking that stuff like this and the Downie hit and all of that is why we HAVEN'T seen a behind the net pasting from Army this year.... he's afraid he's going to get stuck in the middle of backlash like this.

(Yeah, this almost became a post at THTM, but meh. I think it's better in context here.)

Nadine said...

Teka, I agree that it was more of a dumb hit than a "dirty" one, which is what Julien called it in the interviews. (Although he did clarify that he doesn't believe Randy is a dirty player.)

An earlier post addressed the fact that the NHL seems incapable of consistently using the review criteria and suspensions as a disciplinary action for anyone not in a Flyers sweater.

My concern is that the NHL will hand down a longer suspension to Jonesy as a direct consequence of earlier ones, in spite of his lack of record and premeditation. (Downie got 20 for a premeditated hit that resulted in a concussion. Boulerice received 25 for a premeditated hit that left marks, but no major injury.)

If he does get a long one, then I'll be getting a "Free Jones" T-shirt...those other two screw-ups can just sit in jail a lot longer as far as I'm concerned.

I'm won't argue about a suspension. One is merited under the new criteria. But should it be a huge one when this player doesn't have the issues the other two do?

My answer is no. Randy is smart enough to see what was wrong on the game tape, he's a feeling person who never had his humanity squashed by early coaches, life circumstances and personal choice, and he does learn from his mistakes.

Of course, all of this could end up being needless worry and speculation on my part. We'll all find out something (relatively) soon, I'm sure.

And I should probably qualify that I'm also not unbiased because he's my #2 hbf.

Nadine said...

Although, if I'm really gut-level, reptilian brain honest, I don't think he should receive any suspension.

It was equal parts stupid by both players. Bergeron for bending down - probably to avoid the hit - and Jones for not changing the aim some to mitigate it a little more.

But, like I said, that's my reptilian brain speaking...we all know it's not rational! :)

Ryan said...

Did I go too far today?

Nadine said...

Ryan: See my comment to your post on your blog.

Ryan said...

I fear sarcasm is my only tool....thaks for the feedback! The only game I'm sure I'm going to this year is the day after Thanksgiving against the Caps...kind of a family tradition. Do you have season tickets? To meet you and Kristin for a margarita would be like a dream come true....

Nadine said...

Thank you, God! Only a two-game suspension. I can handle that.

Ryan: Not a problem! I never hesitate to give feedback when I'm asked for it. (I even try to keep it friendly, sometimes!)

Alas, no, I have no season tix. Kristin sorta has access to season tix...not quite sure of the whole dynamic on that.

I won't be at the Black Friday game because my family is in town for the weekend.

I know that I'll be at the Nov. 12 (Islanders) & 17 (Devils) games. After that, I'll have to re-evaluate my account balance to see when I can go again in December.

We should definitely try to meet-up prior to a game, or possibly at a neutral site when the guys are on the road! If it's a game, you can join us for a 'rita (or whatever), watch warm-ups with us, and then we can all scatter to our far-flung seats.

Shmee said...

I agree in that I dont think it was on the scale of the Downie or Boulerice hits -- those were intentionally malicious. Bergeron did turn his back to the guy.

But, what the heck is going on with the Flyers?

Nadine said...

Shmee: Thanks for the comment and asking THE question! Here are the problems as I see them:

1. People really are afraid of our Halloween colors.

2. The non-Flyers hockey world continues to labor under a very memorable, yet severely out-of-date, image for the team as the 1970s Broad Street Bullies. It described those previous squads' penchant for fighting anyone, not their physical style of play. That era was over by the mid-1980s.

(Just a friendly statbit: There are 11 teams with more fighting majors than the Flyers at this point in the season.)

3. We took on Downie and Boulerice. I had concerns about them because of their histories. While I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and did this for them, I'm happy with their suspensions. Both hits were premeditated, intentional headshots on unsuspecting players.

I'm really frustrated by people saying that there's a problem with the Flyers. (By the way, I remember people saying the same thing about the Caps in the early 90s when I started watching hockey.)

If you discount Downie and Boulerice and the spectacular examples they hand-delivered, there isn't a problem here. Our coaches and management have held the same training sessions as all of the other teams.

The comments saying to penalize the coaches or organization are particularly unhelpful. That wouldn't do anything about players who lack self-control or have anger management issues.

Issue long suspensions and large fines for the loose canons the first time around. If it happens again, ban them. They're professional athletes, treat them like it.