The face of evil.
The Canucks are already having to get creative in order to ice a competitive lineup. Thursday night in Phoenix, they had defenceman Keith Ballard playing as a winger. On the third line. If that doesn’t say something about how incredibly shorthanded they are, I don’t know that does.
And now they’re going to be even more shorthanded. The Shanahammer has come down on Alexander Edler for his charge on Coyotes’ netminder Mike Smith and it’s come down absurdly, head-scratchingly, absolutely what-the-effingly hard: Edler will sit for two games. On the bright side, they have a third-line winger they can probably convert.
Here’s Rob Blake, I think, with the explanation:
The Canucks issued a brief, terse statement on the suspension. If you’re wondering, Mike Gillis disagreed with the Department’s assessment:
As an organization we respect the NHL and its process for supplemental discipline. While we may not agree with this ruling, we will move forward and prepare for our important game tomorrow in Los Angeles. We do not intend to comment further on this matter.
I’m impressed that there were still 3 whole sentences after all the profanity was edited out.
I’m with Gillis on this one. I don’t even know what to tell you and I don’t have much to say. I disagreed with aspects of the Jannik Hansen suspension, but a game didn’t surprise me. I disagree with pretty much everything about this one. I’ve already made my opinion of this incident perfectly clear, and while these videos occasionally catch something the layman might have missed the first time around, this time, there’s nothing present in the explanation that changes my mind in the slightest.
Yes, Edler “does not make any effort to minimize or avoid contact”, as the video states. But, as I said this morning, that’s largely because he’s not expecting Mike Smith to be there, or to suddenly suck up all the space like a black hole:
Smith appears behind the net unexpectedly while the Canucks are trying to regain possession of a puck on a powerplay. Edler is following the puck over his right shoulder, and when he looks ahead of him, already on his way behind the goal, suddenly Smith is out. Considering most goalies stay in their net while the opposition is in their zone on a powerplay, it’s hard to say Edler should have known Smith was going to be there.
Furthermore, while Smith originally appears to be planning to push the puck towards the far boards, explaining why Edler would speed up and hope to slide past him, Smith swivels at the last second, suddenly making himself unavoidable.
These images here and here, taken less than a second apart, illustrate the way Smith opens himself up wide for the collision. Edler’s only option was to come to a screeching halt in front of Smith and honestly, he may still have collided with him if he’d tried. In some sense, suspending Edler here is like suspending the car that hits the frog in Frogger.
The video makes no mention of any of this. Not a single mention of Mike Smith’s inexplicable decision to close off the entirety of the space behind the net with his body while the Canucks were in the Phoenix zone on a powerplay. The lesson: all goalies should do this. It’s a fantastic penalty-kill strategy.
Two games is a baffling decision. It remains two games more than this play deserves, but it’s also one game more than even what I thought might be the worst-case scenario. As our narrator says, there’s “No malicious intent on this play.” So why, then, does a player with no history of dirty play earns repeat offender status on a play that, by the Department’s own admission is free of intent — a play on which even ICBC would be dividing blame?
Just baffling. The Department’s video does a great job of explaining why a penalty was called. As for why it necessitated a suspension video, the explanation is nonexistent.
Finally, while it’s easy to do, let’s refrain from comparing this hit to the Rick Nash non-suspension the DOPS also gave us today. I agree that it’s a bit silly for Edler to sit for two for an accidental collision that wasn’t entirely his fault while Nash carries right along after a leaping hit, but the two plays are very different, and comparing them is a fool’s errand.
Frankly, trying to look to almost anything for precedent, or even make sense of some suspensions in isolation — like, say, this one — is becoming increasingly difficult.Tags: alex edler, Mike Smith, suspension, suspensions