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.