December 09, 2013
While Jonathan Drouin will play and score again, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is back under the microscope for a cavalier approach to cracking down on dirty play.
Credit Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell for pointing out this contrast. The QMJHL once suspended a Halifax player for a game in the playoffs after an opponent's helmet came off in a fight. But Team USA hopeful Adam Erne's hit from behind on Drouin and Team Sweden hopeful Nick Sorensen's cross-check to the neck of the Mooseheads' Darcy Ashley were not suspension-worthy. Picture some brows being furrowed in a vain attempt to understand the situation.
From Willy Palov (@CH_WillyPalov):
“My reaction? It goes beyond disappointment,” Russell said. “You have two separate plays and two players breaking the rules. There’s one player hitting another player from behind — clearly from behind — and our player going headfirst into the boards, being cut under the eye, missing the rest of the game and the next game, minimum, with a concussion. And no suspension.
“Then you have Darcy Ashley cross-checked in the throat on purpose and once he goes down, he’s cross-checked again while he’s on the ice. And no suspension. I remember two years ago Darcy Ashley doing the same play and getting four games. It was almost identical to what Sorensen did and Darcy was suspended.
“And the player who hit Jonathan Drouin is a repeat offender. Cameron Critchlow got more of a suspension for apparently removing a guy’s helmet, which you can’t even see on the video replay, in the playoffs two years ago and he received more of a suspension. It doesn’t make sense to me. We’re supposed to be protecting all of our players and I don’t see that happening.” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Please keep in mind Russell initially demurred from offering a public comment, meaning that he was observing a 24-hour rule before choosing his words. One suspects a league fine will be worth it.
Laurent Dauphin's check from behind three weeks ago that cut Russia's Igor Baldaev during the Subway Super Series was more egregious than Erne's. Dauphin was suspended for six games, so the lack of even a two-game ban is perplexing.
One would hope against hope this inconsistency on the QMJHL's part is simply inconsistency, along with a few other words that begin with the in- prefix. That can be fixed. One would hope this isn't political. That could apply to both the long alleged bias toward Maritimes Divisions teams and the league's desire to see as many of its players as possible compete in the world junior championship, regardless of nationality. Erne and Sorensen competing for teams USA and Sweden is good for the league's image. So there is that for the conspiracy theorists.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: Eastlink TV).