The Chronicle Journal – National:
Flames defenceman Denis Gauthier is getting knocked for his hitting style
Avery’s comments, which appeared on TSN’s website, came in response to Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Denis Gauthier’s hit on Jeremy Roenick in a Sunday pre-season game that left the Kings star with a concussion..
“I think it was a clean hit,” Avery told TSN. “I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up.”
Roenick, who was livid with Gauthier after the game, suffered the 11th documented concussion of his career as a result of the clean hit that Gauthier delivered during the second period.
Okay, let me get this straight. If I can.
Jeremy Roenick, one of the more physical players in the league, and a guy with a history of concussions to boot, gets whacked by Denis Gauthier in a clean hit in the middle of a real hockey game (if it were a fake hockey game, fans wouldn’t be paying full price to see it, right? That is what fans pay to see exhibition,um, pre-season games).
Roenick has his head down. This is somehow Gauthier’s fault, because he’s transcended some unwritten rule, one that seems to indicate that it’s okay for guys like Roenick to hit players in the preseason, but nobody’s allowed to hit him. Because Roenick is, um…
Old? Sorry, a veteran.
Because it’s okay to skate with your head down in pre-season, because it doesn’t count?
Because the league outlawed body checks in pre-season and didn’t tell the fans? (well, from what I’ve seen, that’s mostly true, but ignore that)
Because – Roenick is stupid? Because Roenick should know better than to ever let his head down on an ice sheet, pre-season or not, because he’s risking the final concussion of his career even by accidental contact?
Because Roenick has never heard of a player on an opposing team needing to make an impression with his coaches in a pre-season game? Because Roenick doesn’t see that a good, clean, aggressive body check is the kind of play a bubble player needs to convince coaches to keep him out of the AHL?
Gee, in Roenick’s world (where contracts are large and roster spots are guaranteed), maybe that makes sense. But to therefore assume everyone else has to play by his personal rules? No wonder he has lots of concussions. Smart people never put their heads down. Roenick must be a slow learner — his response is to blame everyone else, not himself.
Jeremy, if this was a nasty hit? I’d be on your side. I hate concussions in hockey. We’ve lost too many good players to them already. But the first lesson a hockey player should learn when he’s caught with his head down is to NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN. Not to complain about it.
And to assume pre-season games are no-hit games is stupid. They’re bad enough with the low-hit ratio we’ve seen, but to amgically create some no-hit rule. That’s not Gauthier’s fault. I don’t for a second blame anyone for actually trying to spark up some action. Some of these pre-season games are as bad as the All-Star game.
And then there’s Steve Avery, who seems to be trying to become the next Brett Hull, only without the childish charm. Maybe Steve ought to go ask his teammate, Luc Robitaille, what he thinks of his quote. I’ll bet there’s some fun in the locker room in Los Angeles.
Avery was one of the players who spoke out during the lockout, with his “brainwashed” comment. If he alienates many more of his fellow NHLPA brothers, he’s liable to start having to eat alone on the road. He probably needs to start carrying two pairs of shoes, too — one to wear, one for the shaving cream. He’ll be lucky if that’s all he gets.
One has to ask: if things are already this — spirited — in the King’s locker room, are they going to be able to pull it together and play, or is this going to be a year of chemistry and quagmire for the Kings?
I feel for Andy Murray. But not for Roenick. And Avery needs to learn to engage his brain before his mouth. But he probably won’t. Here’s hoping the team doesn’t pay for it….