Two clips of Buffalo Sabres video this morning: One that is legitimately hilarious, and one that simply continues the comedy that is NHL supplementary discipline.
First, we'll have a laugh. The Willful Caboose posted this postgame interview with Sabres goalie Ryan Miller that features perhaps the funniest moment caught on tape in an NHL locker room since Sean Avery's press conference on his dating history. Check out Sabres tough guy Rob Ray, shocked and awed in the background:
7. Patrick Kaleta walked up to the blackboard and solved the unsolvable physics problem that Lindy put up for the janitor to solve.
Any ideas? Seriously, we haven't witnessed something this awkward in the background of an interview since Dustin Brown walked behind Derek Armstrong on ESPN. (For the dozen of you who got that reference, congrats; for the rest of you, we beg you not to search for the punch-line. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Meanwhile, in a moment just as ridiculous as Ray's, but slightly less funny: How in the name of Chris Pronger can Maxim Lapierre of the Montreal Canadiens not receive a suspension for the following hit on Pat Kaleta?
The video quality is about that of a surveillance camera at a 7-Eleven, but you can see the hit from behind in question rather vividly from Saturday's game:
Pat Kaleta received a concussion after being hit from behind by the Canadiens Maxim Lapierre on Saturday. Lindy Ruff said the news is better than expected as he was clear all of yesterday and road the bike today. Ruff said after further testing, he may be able to practice Tuesday and could be available Wednesday.
The captain was not at all pleased about the hit. Craig Rivet said, "I think it was dirty. I know Lapierre's a hard working guy but he's also border line on the dirty side. That's the way he plays. Everybody's seen the hit and they have to address it, that's the bottom line. He saw Patty Kaleta's numbers and he still took strides and he still hit him. If there's no suspension, then it's all for nothing." Lapierre will not be suspended by the NHL as it's already looked at the play and ruled.
That last part was reiterated by Bob Gainey of the Canadiens, who defending Lapierre as a clean and humble player. The Gazette spoke with Lapierre, who received a two-minute penalty on the play, about the hit:
With 66 penalty minutes in 72 games, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Lapierre can hardly be accused of being a headhunter, although he's starting to become a more complete player.
"It's sad that (Kaleta) suffered a concussion, but I wasn't going toward anybody. I was just doing my job," Lapierre explained. "I slowed down, but not enough, I guess."
Weak. Totally, completely weak. If we're the NHL, we post-facto suspend the dude for that defense of his actions. Here's some friendly advice: If you see the numbers and the back of a guy's head near the glass, maybe "slowing down" isn't going to be enough. Perhaps "total avoidance" or "not finishing your hit" would be optimal.
We don't want to take hitting out of hockey. We're not in favor of the draconian enforcement for hits to the head.
But on a play like this, it's such a basic picture that Bill Cosby should be drawing it with a bumblebee marker: Player has back turned; opponent skates in and hits him into the boards; player suffers concussion.
And League looks the other way.
As a hockey culture, we can't get outraged over players' brains turning into baby food over the course of their career and allow reckless plays to go virtually unpunished. No one's calling for a 10-gamer here; but putting the spotlight on a dangerous hit, and its consequences, for even a one-game suspension is positive prevention.