Some Vindication for Washington

Word out of Toronto this afternoon that the Rangers’ Colton Orr gets five games for his blatant cross-check on Washington’s Alex Ovechkin last night at Madison Square Garden, and Washington’s Donald Brashear gets one game for punching New York’s Aaron Ward immediately after the Brashear-Brendan Shanahan fight in the third period.

What’s interesting about the whole thing is that Brashear was ejected from the game and given a major penalty for intent to injure, although his action was much less severe than Orr’s. The officials in the game last night totally muffed the call on Orr; he got called for charging rather than cross-checking (although he did come from the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel to make the “hit”) and all he got was a minor penalty although it was clear that his intent was far more malicious. Brashear indicated last night after the game that there was more to this than what showed in the penalty portion of the scoresheet, and he was right.

Also interesting to note that Shaone Morrisonn, despite receiving an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the game, did not get suspended and Caps coach Glen Hanlon did not receive a fine. Kudos to the NHL for seeing it right and not being influenced by the blathering, bombastic rantings of some guy on some TV network in Canada. Major plaudits also to Morrisonn, and to New York’s Ward and Shanahan. They were merely being good “teammates” with their actions — right, wrong or misguided — and all three of them can play for my team anytime.

Finally, you’ve got to find some humor in this angle of the whole incident. After the game, Rangers coach Tom Renney couldn’t leave well enough alone. His team just ended a seven-game skid, but instead of walking off with dignity, he let go of this beauty of a quote:

“I don’t know what Glen [Hanlon's] intention was lining Brashear up against Jags all night long,” Rangers Coach Tom Renney said. “When it comes down to it, everybody’s got that in their lineup. And we’ll do what we have to do in order to ensure the safety of our players.”

First off, as the home coach Renney has the last line change. He sees Brashear on the ice, he can respond by keeping Jagr off and putting anyone else on the ice. He blames Hanlon in the press, but in reality he has only himself to blame for Jagr being on the ice at the same time as Brashear.

Secondly, Brashear had 14 shifts on the night and played a total of 6:27. Jagr had 23 shifts and played 19:11. Not sure how Renney’s glasses make that into “all night long,” and a look at the shift chart might do wonders for him.

Thirdly, poor Jaromir. Imagine the horror, the terror and the impending sense of doom and tragedy he must have felt at being forced to line up opposite of big, bad Donald Brashear, all 6-foot-2, 234 pounds of him. Poor wittle Jaromir only stands 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds himself. Tissue, please.

Finally, “everybody’s got that in their lineup.” I guess that’s a veiled dig at Brashear, who is actually a decent hockey player who is not out of place on a checking line. He has lasted 800-plus games and 13 years in the NHL, and that isn’t going to happen if you can’t play. Brashear has more shots on goal than games played in his NHL career, he has 75 career goals, he has not been a healthy scratch all season, and he routinely averaged more than 11 minutes in ice time a night before the lockout. New York’s Orr has seven shots on goal and one assist in 61 career games. His next goal will be his first. His last three games worth of ice time put together don’t add up to 11 minutes (and there were three “healthy scratches” sandwiched in between, three of 15 healthy scratches for Orr on the season). I admire Orr’s willingness to stand in and do his job against the likes of Brashear, but there is no comparison of the two as hockey players.

Even Renney knows that.

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5 Comments on “Some Vindication for Washington”

  1. Jeroen Says:

    I wish more journalists would take the time to sort through all these facts before jumping to wild conclusions and throwing random names at the Capitals players and staff. We seem to get the blame for any transgression merely due to the vastly differing degrees of media exposure our rival teams get compared to us.

    It seems to be pretty unanimous on our side (the Caps fans) that these punishments were handed out fairly. But does the rest of the NHL viewing communtiy know this, too?

  2. TJ Says:

    I was at the game, and besides the score it was an entertaining game. The Caps were anemic at best, but the fights were nice. The powerplay looked out of whack. I cant recal them generating many good scoring chances.

    Anyone know why the crowd got on OV, they booed him for most of the game. He had some big checks but I wouldnt think that would bring the boo’s out.

  3. Kerplunk Says:

    Well said (writ?), Signor Vogel. I mentioned the same to myself (hard to find someone to watch the game with me). Renney’s comment made little sense. All night long for 6 and a half minutes. As for the Canadian announcers, hockey being what it is in Canada they get a lot of the same boneheads that write /talk about football on this side of the imaginary line.

    Speaking of bonehead writing, Brashears shot at Ward was not a sucker punch, as noted in many columns. Ward mouthed off and generally such antics result in a bop in the mouth. Had Brashear just grabbed a random player and smacked him in the head (like Berry did a few seasons back), THEN it would have been a sucker punch.

    As for Brash being a decent hockey player, sure. Not to mention the fact that the fight he had against Montreal, He had the class to gently puch down on his punching bags backside and easse him to the ice since he wouldn’t go down. And he offered Shanahan a get out of jail free card. Shanahan (who rocks, no bones about it) talked up his refusal to back down. He also should have made mention of the fact that it was classy of Brash to give him the out. He didn’t have to. He could have just charged into him.

    I’m glad Brashear is with us and I hope he keeps up the good work. Can’t wait for the next Rangers game. Lets see if Renney plays Orr then.

  4. GoBucks9 Says:

    Nice write up.

    The only question is what did Ward say?

    And will Ovie get booed again the next time the Caps head to the Garden? After he was sent flying into Lundqvist the fans seemed to boo him. Oh well – soon it will be the whole state of NY vs Caps.


  5. [...] Jan. 1, 2007: Some Vindication For Washington [...]


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