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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good Call, Bad Call: Mike Green and A 'Bow for the Ages

So Mike Green, not known for his great defense, throws out a 'bow on Michael Frolik and LL Cool J's him.  Here's a good replay of why he decided it was necessary; in summation, it was retaliatory for a clean hit Stillman threw at him:



Now, here at Bettman's Nightmare, we often allude to the "Honor Code" with regards to fighting, but the Code stretches quite a bit beyond that.  In this case, Green breaks the Code in two ways: 1.) he takes out his "revenge" on non-Cory Stillman, and 2.) he throws a clearly illegal (and dangerous) hit in response to a legal one.  Now, I'm sure the NHL's ruling on the hit (3-game suspension) wasn't in response for a violation of said Code, but it was a good ruling.

Bruce Boudreau turned in his asinine comments for the event.  I was with him when David Koci ran Mike Green earlier this year; Boudreau was particularly livid about the fact that Koci's shoulder "hit Mike's head."  Apparently Boudreau wasn't so sure that Green's elbow contacted Frolik's head, because he was "livid" about the suspension levied against Green.  Of course the coach is going to be upset about losing a key powerplay guy, but that didn't seem to affect Green's teammates Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble (see the link for "livid");

Laich:
"Obviously, we don't want to lose Greenie...But at some point you have to take control of the game and protect the players...You hit to the head you're going to get suspended.

Knuble:
"He got him in the head...I'm sorry it happened to Mike.  But guys know, an elbow to someone's head is going to cost you one way or another."

As for Green...in a way, I understand why this all happened.  I'm not taking the "I'm sorry it happened to Mike" route, either.  As mentioned before, Mike is not a defensive defenseman; he doesn't play with the hitter's instinct.  Had he, the opportunity to flatten Frolik legally was right there for him.  Watch the replay again, and you can see Frolik is on a tee.  Instead, he thinks the check isn't enough, he needs to really get the guy, and throws the 'bow.  So part of this incident can be chalked up to Green's lack of attention to defensive plays.

I'm not excusing him; he did it.  What's worse, he targeted a guy who's not physical, didn't hit Mike in the first place, nor is very big (6'1", 185 lbs.).  My purpose is to point out that Green's failings are the Code and sound defense, and they were magnified in this incident.  I'm glad the NHL responded.

P.S.  I don't agree with the commentary in the video that this is equatable to the Booth hit.
P.P.S.  Bettman's Nightmare might adopt a new format so I can fit those damn YouTube videos better.

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