Kevin Bieksa didn’t spear Martin Havlat in the groin; he slashed him (in the groin)

Martin Havlat left Wednesday’s game halfway through the first period for, since it’s the playoffs, undisclosed reasons. It didn’t take long, however, for the reason to become completely disclosed, causing male hockey fans everywhere to cringe in unison.

You see, according to Mike Halford from Pro Hockey Talk and David Pollak from the San Jose Mercury News, Kevin Bieksa speared Havlat in the groin. The NHL Network even has a video of the unfortunate moment, complete with a slow-motion replay.

Halford and Pollak are dead wrong, however. Bieksa definitely did not spear Havlat in the groin. Nope, not in the slightest. He quite clearly slashed him in the groin.

You can see the moment quite clearly in the video: as Bieksa is boxing out Havlat from the front of the net, he raises his stick into Havlat’s unmentionables, causing the Sharks’ winger to visibly cry out in pain. It’s possible that Bieksa was originally intending to lift Havlat’s stick or it’s possible that he was aiming for the groin all along, but either way, it’s not a spear.

Here is the definition of Spearing, Rule 62 from the official NHL Rules:

Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not.

Where is the point of the stick blade? Well, it’s not in Havlat’s groin: it’s on the other side of Havlat’s body.

That’s because Bieksa didn’t hit Havlat with his stick blade. Instead, he hit Havlat with the shaft of his stick, lifting it right into the crux of Havlat’s hockey pants.

I’m sure that doesn’t make it hurt any less, of course, and it’s unlikely to assuage Sharks’ fans who are understandably upset at what they see as a dirty play. Still, specificity matters: spearing is a far more serious penalty than slashing.

Pollak somehow manages to misidentify it as something else entirely:

Taking the butt-end of the stick in that region, even with whatever protective equipment is in place, is likely to be at the very least, a painful experience and one can only hope the damage is superficial.

I’m sure it would be painful to take a butt-end to the groin, but that’s even less accurate than calling it a spear. The butt-end is on the opposite side from the blade and butt-ends are generally punished severely by the league.

Is it a dirty play? Yeah, it kind of is. I mean, I don’t think Bieksa intended to jam his stick into that location in order to hurt Havlat. I think he was just trying to tie him up to prevent him from getting to a potential rebound. Still, when you hit someone in the junk, getting labelled as a dirty player is pretty unavoidable.

Still, if Sharks fans are going to get upset about it, they should at least get upset about the right thing. It was a slash, not a spear. Now feel free to get back to complaining about it.

 

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20 comments

  1. kenahora
    May 3, 2013

    The CANUCKS will bury the Sharks …plain and simple.

    Then the sour grapes will fall from the thortons of the game.
    His feet smell…that’s why he didn’t buy the Gucchi’s

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    • GO SHARKS
      May 4, 2013

      yeah? How is that working out for you? 2-0.

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    • sjsharkie
      May 23, 2013

      lol

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  2. Simon
    May 3, 2013

    This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Bieksa box guys out like that. It might be the first time I’ve seen him actually hit the guy in the junk though.

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  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    May 3, 2013

    I hate how every play that’s against the rules in the NHL nowadays is considered a “dirty play”. Should a penalty have been called? From that angle, it appears that yes, the officials missed one. But was it “dirty”? Not really. Ference’s elbow the other night was a dirty play. Gryba’s hit on Eller was a dirty play. Torres’ hit on Hossa last year was a dirty play. This was an illegal play that resulted in a painful injury, but there’s no way to really assert that it was dirty.

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    • Jim
      May 3, 2013

      Uh, Gryba’s hit on Eller wasn’t a dirty play. The injury was unfortunate and hopefully Eller recovers fast, but it was just a really stupid pass to make. Very clearly zero intent to injure. IMO hitting someone in the nuts if there is any intent behind it at all (which I obviously can’t say there was for sure) is dirty.

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  4. Tess
    May 3, 2013

    Yes, I can see how using your stick as a weapon on a guy’s groin (a guy without the puck) isn’t dirty at all. Wonder why any Sharks’ fan would be upset about it?? Of course, if the stick were on the other ‘groin’ of a Canuck, I’m sure there would be a suspension. Not counting the Sedin sisters, of course. They have different anatomy

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    • Chicky
      May 3, 2013

      Please take your ignorant, defamatory comments elsewhere. Classless posters as you have now demonstrated to be, need to troll elsewhere. This is not the blog for you. Boston’s probably more your style, or Chicago perhaps?

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      • GO SHARKS
        May 4, 2013

        “lease take your ignorant, defamatory comments elsewhere. Classless posters as you have now demonstrated to be, need to troll elsewhere.”

        LOL, this whole article is a joke, much less ignorant and defamatory. It is mocking an injury and taking shots at fans of the opposing team.

        Hey, you just lost 2 at home and are about to lose two more in San Jose. How do you feel now, you classless Canuck fan?

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 3, 2013

      This is a blog for grownups. There are lots of sites for preteens elsewhere.

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      • GO SHARKS
        May 4, 2013

        So, a moronic “article” making light of an injury is for grown ups? Really? 2-0.

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        • Harrison Mooney
          May 4, 2013

          I bet after every time GO SHARKS leaves a comment here, he wishes he had a friend to high-five.

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    • Rituro
      May 3, 2013

      Um. Second-last paragraph:

      “Is it a dirty play? Yeah, it kind of is.”

      Pretty sure nobody’s saying it wasn’t a dirty play.

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  5. J21 (@Jyki21)
    May 3, 2013

    Apart from her boring (and apparently hypocritical) shot at the Sedins’ manhood, Tess clearly has never watched the Canucks before this playoff series, since her comments on suspensions don’t really line up.

    Anyway, it’s not like he meant to do it, and if anything it means Havlat is likely to be back just fine.

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  6. Nee
    May 3, 2013

    “PITB Investigates: THE GROIN SPEAR”

    Excellent work, Daniel. Pollak, you’re off the case!

    By the way:
    “Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not.”

    Stabbing? Now I’m imagining hockey sticks and spouts of blood, Sparta style.

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  7. garth
    May 3, 2013

    speaking of groins… http://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/marchand.gif

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    • Dougdter
      May 3, 2013

      Now THAT was dirty. And a spear.

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  8. best behaviour
    May 3, 2013

    Does anybody know how to scroll back and see old stories on this site? I wanted to see last week’s set of fan tribute videos, so at the bottom of the main site where it reads “1/2/3/4/5″ I clicked on “2″ and it was a link to a 2011 post on 20 things overheard in the NHL war room. “3″ was a 2011 post on why it’s OK that Ryan Kesler was unable to start the season.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 3, 2013

      Infuriating. Something must be wrong with our archives. I’ll get someone on it.

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  9. Jos
    May 4, 2013

    Typical Dirty garbage play by the Canucks, Bieksa is a dirty player and garabage! Don’t care if he is humanitarian, or finds the cure for cancer, he is human garbage, Hope tORRES take his head off

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