Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The power of the internet compels you

In the 50th comment of last post, Scarlett Ice’s Sherry posed this question, in response to my comment that Pronger’s forthcoming suspension (expected tomorrow) was the result of “nice whining.”

So as fans of the game, why shouldn't we whine about it? Isn't that part of what blogging is about?
Sherry, believe me, I've been whining all day, just in my own cynical way. And frankly, I’m really impressed that the NHL could be this swayed by pretty much the internet alone (I don't think the Canucks did or said anything, did they?). Score one for the web opinionists, especially if the overnight swing goes from 0 to 10 games for Pronger's stomp. Because frankly, while there was a clearer YouTube offered today, I have to say that I didn't see anything particularly new. It was certainly focused and to a degree more compelling, but it still left me with the possibilities I saw yesterday. At best, he’s freeing his foot, and at worst, he hopes Kesler never skates on two legs again, and it’s tough for me to expertly decide. But I don’t want to get into that debate here—keep those Pronger-opinion comments in the post below.

This post is to marvel at the power of a united hockey internet. While the unveiled video may offer an official excuse for Colin Campbell to change his position, I’m not falling for that explanation. Instead, I’m going to associate every one of these new suspended games to the growing power of the internet outcry, and it’s a pretty special thing to see. Journalists, message-boarders, bloggers, and commenters all chimed in very strongly with a loud cry for justice, and wow it seems to be getting results. The league seems to be listening. Even if tonight’s decision goes against everything I’ve personally been preaching, I don’t know if I’ve ever been as proud of the hockey internet as I am tonight. It’s just fascinating to see a cumulative voice of the fan make change in an often-stubborn league.

Congratulations, hockey internet. You may have just become a force tonight, and I’m glad to be around to see it.

Still, I have to maintain a little smugness around the whole StompGate affair (it is after all my main character flaw):
  • It's a good thing this sort of internet swaying power wasn't available last spring, else the Red Wings or the Senators could have extended a Pronger suspension and won that cup. That is, if they had shown any ability to win against a Prongerless Ducks team when given the chance.
  • Losing Pronger will certainly hurt the team's short-term chance for good seeding, but it won't be the worst thing to get his jaw rested up for the playoffs. I'm surprised he rushed back from the cracked jaw so urgently, to tell the truth, especially with the team's acquisition of MA Bergeron. I suspect it has something to do his sense of obligation about wearing that "C", which seems oddly honorable.
  • And hey, this may just give Pronger enough time to put a second post up on his blog, and maybe he can start a little internet squabble of his own.
Again, good work, hockey internet. Someday I hope we'll be whining our way to change on the same side of an issue.


Jeremy said...

Internet-driven hysteria: impressive - yes; applaudable - no.
I can't imagine the NHLPA standing for a double ruling. If Pronger is suspended, there will be an appeal. That appeal will be upheld. Don't expect him to miss any time. Mr. Kelly will make sure of that.

Pensblog Staff said...

well said Earl

Itlan said...

The Clinton's govern by polls, maybe Campbell reads TSN.ca and saw the poll? They should test it. New Poll: How many games should Jose Theodore be suspended for his vicious attack on Corey Perry's MCL?

Heather B. said...

How many games should Jose Theodore be suspended for his vicious attack on Corey Perry's MCL?

None! Corey Perry's a punk ass bitch who had it coming!

Juuust kidding, Ducks fans! :P (Do I want Chris Pronger on my team? Hell to the no. Would I take Corey Perry? Yes, please!)

Mr. Plank said...

hey earl i have no idea how to contact you without using the comment boards. at any rate i apologize. i started a san jose sharks blog two days ago and would love if you linked me from your page. ive been an avid reader of your page, even though it is mostly ducks/kings coverage... blah ;)

at any rate heres the url, feel free to delete this post after the linkage.


Sherry said...

I wouldn't call it "hysteria" per say. People blog from the perspective as fans of the game and as fans it's not unreasonable to want and expect the league to do certain things.

Earl Sleek said...

i started a san jose sharks blog two days ago

Conveniently timed, after a ten-game win streak, no? I kid. I added the link.

Now you too can be part of this super-internet and its league-altering ways! Bwa ha ha!

Anonymous said...

Do you think that the league would be re-reviewing this if it was NOT a Canadian team as the "injured party"? Or if Pronger was still on a Canadian team? I think not, and this article from the News-Observer has the data to back it up:

I find it very hard to believe that potentially suspension worthy infractions occur at such an uneven rate, with more occurring against Canadian teams and less being committed by Canadian teams. It's just that the internet backlash is stronger when something potentially inappropriate is done to a Canadian team.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is full of it. I happen to be a Canucks fan and I've seen infractions take place against Canucks players where Campbell ignored suspendable offences. Five years ago Shanahan played for the Wings when he slashed Brendan Morrison in the face, piercing the skin into his mouth, knocking out teeth and splitting the gum. Morrison spent the next day in a dental surgeon's chair for 6 hours. The play was caught on camera and no suspension was given. The following season Bryan Allen was suspended for slashing Zetterberg on the back of the leg in a game between the 2 teams. The infamous Moore hit on Naslund. Naslund wasn't carrying the puck, Moore started to play the puck then skated past it to launch himself into a prone Naslund. Campbell claimed Naslund put himself in that vulnerable position, therefore no suspension. Yet 2 years later Campbell said even though Eric Cole had put himself in a vulnerable position by turning his back to Brooks Orpik, there had to be a 6 game suspension to Orpik for knocking Cole into the boards, that Orpik should have let up. This season Marion Gaborik wasn't suspended for a headshot elbow to Kesler, Mikko Koivu wasn't suspended for a headshot elbow to Ohlund but Ohlund was suspended for a retalitory slash to Koivu's leg. Later in a Canucks/Wings game, Cowan was suspended for a headshot elbow yet Downey wasn't suspended for skating across the red line and spearing Burrows in the warmup before the game. The last Canucks/Nashville game, Tootoo charged across the ice to knock Miller out of the game, then turned and crosschecked Bourdon in the face with his stick. No suspension. Campbell was going to ignore Pronger's stomp until pressure from the media and bloggers forced him to take a second look. This isn't just a Canucks fans bitching about his team getting jobbed, the player on my team aren't angels and deserve suspensions when they get out of line. I've seen Oilers players and Flames players get clocked and no suspensions given if the team is owned by WalMart, AEG, Little Caesars, Delaware North, Ontario Teachers Pension, etc. The truth is Campbell is inconsistent and incompetent in his job and the NHL has no guidelines for suspensions when infractions happen. They just make it up as they go along and Earl is right, the media and bloggers should shame these incompetents into improving or resigning. A Canadian team being involved has nothing to do with it.

mr perfect

Mike in OC said...

The truth is Campbell is inconsistent and incompetent in his job and the NHL has no guidelines for suspensions when infractions happen.

You have to admit, this is very true. The man is right.

Now that this is over with, I wonder if TSN & You Tube will start sending all the missed crap video's to the NHL for re-review?

If they do, how about someone from the NHL to authenticate the viedo's from these "other" sources so the Edmonton fans don't make up a bunch of fake Pronger high sticks. (In the mean time I am working on a couple of my own re-review videos of Perry & Prongers injuries for TSN & the NHL to ignore)

The whole thing stinks like shit.

MikeP said...

Edmonton fans don't have to make up Pronger high sticks. The man's actions speak for themselves. Nice cheapshot though.

Mike in OC said...

More to my point is the "hard on" that Edmonton has for him. Go to the the Edmonton message board right now and you will see it everywhere. The only one they talk about more is Burke.

Not a cheap shot, but I am getting sick of it. I know it's tougher on the dumpee, but please try to get over it all ready.

Dennis said...

Earl: I really like your cartoons and I think you're a sharp guy.

But if you posted this for any reason other than to foster discussion, ie if there's a shred of you that truly believes Pronger shouldn't have been suspended, well then, I don't know what else to say.

Dennis said...

Mike in OC: do you want to debate that Oilers fans don't have cause to hate Burke?

Listen, I'm an Oilers fan who's not a big fan of Lowe's and I honestly get a kick out of Burke and I think he's a smart fellow.


This whole crying about the Penner signing rings false when he failed to beat the band when the Flyers tried to lift Kesler the summer before.

Sherry said...

I'll actually defend Burke (I can't stand him half the time and get a kick out of him the other half) on the whole Penner thing. I think he's said before that he didn't have a problem with the offer sheet so much as how he thought it was too high of a price for Penner.

Mike in OC said...

Mike in OC: do you want to debate that Oilers fans don't have cause to hate Burke?

You can hate whoever you want, I bet you even have some good reasons. Heck I hate TSN right now. I just wish, with regard to Pronger, that they would get over it.

I think TSN blew this out of porportion and the NHL gave in. I attribute that at least in part to the way you guys feel about Pronger. If that was Teemue we would have never even heard about it. I was at the game did not see it, then I watched the Tivo of the game, and did not see it.

I do respect most fans of other teams, I like the Oilers and most of the Oil faithful.

In the end I am just as bitter as a guy who lost the caitan of his favorite team because of media (read TSN) pressure on the league. Tell me who would not be pissed about that?

antro said...

nice post. i do agree with Earl and Mr. Perfect (and many others) that the "wheel of justice" is arbitrary, and includes variables that have nothing to do with the actions taken by the offending player (like, was it "reactionary" [Pronger's stomp] or "premeditated" [Simon's stomp], etc).

but if the internet-mediated hockey public is able to sway colin & co., it may be because the line b/w hockey toughness (like a good hit) to hockey infraction (like a hit with the elbow) to outright unhockey violence (like stomping, or slashing to the throat) isn't actually all that clear. we all feel like we know it when we see it, but then it turns out that fans of a team see things similarly, and fans of the opposing team can see it differently. i think pronger's stomp was clear, but i believe that earl can still wonder about the clarity.

the point is one which i heard a bunch of players say after the bertuzzi mugging of moore: there's so much grey area, and players are supposed to be "intense," that it's a wonder that it doesn't happen more.

so maybe the arbitrary wheel of justice is just a fact of the game. some incidents will create an outcry, and then the nhl will be forced to respond.

or do people actually believe that clear and consistent punishments can be handed out?

Earl Sleek said...

if there's a shred of you that truly believes Pronger shouldn't have been suspended, well then, I don't know what else to say.

Well, the politics of it was strange. It wasn't prompted really by the opponent or referees, just the tenacious YouTubing of an angry Canadian media. I'm not for stomping or anything, but I think it was tough to do much just on the video and not much else.

Here's what else scares me. Now I think it will be a viable "pest play" for a player to innocently wrap his legs around another player's. Not only will it impede the opponent, but if he gets stepped on it's high-profile suspendable. The Ryan Keslers and Corey Perrys of the world now have another weapon in being obnoxious.