Thursday, October 18, 2007


The ’07-’08 hockey season has begun with a bang, lots of surprises and excitement for almost everyone. For some, such as Jesse Boulerice and Steve Downie, this year got off to a rocky start. The NHL has suspended both Philadelphia Flyers for illegal checks. The 29-year-old Boulerice was suspended 25 games by the NHL for cross-checking the Canucks' Ryan Kesler in the face, and earlier Downie, 20, was suspended for 20 games for his pre-season hit on Dean McAmmond.

Downie was demoted to the Flyers AHL affiliate where he was additionally suspended until November 3rd, from participating in any games there. Moreover, the demotion to the AHL cost him $63,101.60 US in salary. AND, if ever he is recalled, he will still have to sit the 20 games before he can begin play. Boulerice, on the other hand, was placed on waivers by the Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren who said the decision to waive Boulerice was “based on the team's need for more roster space while dealing with injuries.”

Both of these players face a long and maybe impossible trek’s back to the NHL. But, isn’t that what we want? Players who abuse the system, intentionally hurt other players and have no respect for each other don’t belong in the NHL. Has Holmgren found the solution to the growing problem of out-of-control players?

Not likely.

Not many general managers have the chutzpa to waive players because they know some other manager will pick them up. With thirty teams, the talent pool isn’t as deep as it used to be and few teams have the luxury to rid themselves of players once thought to be worthy of NHL status. Demoting players is a solution for some, but players have limits to the number of times they can be sent down and others have one-way contracts, not affecting them financially. This would work best for younger players, looking to make it to the big boys league and works almost like a “time-out” for hockey players. “Drink your milk and sit for awhile, daddy will let you go in thirty days.”

In reality, there is no “finite” solution for this problem. One-time offenders should be treated as such and repeaters need to learn the hard way it won’t be tolerated.

Cutting off their allowance? Time-outs? Grounding them?

Yeah, sounds like parenting a bunch of babies. Well, it’s close.

~ ogre1kanobe
The NHL Arena


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