Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I hope there's enough room in that penalty box for an entire hockey team and its management.

In an unprecedented move, the NHL has taken disciplinary action this morning against the Philadelphia Flyers for their dirty play this season. In light of new evidence found, the entire team has been suspended and barred from participating in postseason play, as outlined by Senior VP/Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and commissioner Gary Bettman. Wow.

Apparently, an interoffice memo within the Flyers organization, thought to have been co-written by current Senior VP/former GM Bobby Clarke, has been discovered entitled "Restoring Honor: Philadelphia Flyers 2007-08". This outline essentially instructs players to play borderline illegal hockey in order to win, regardless of current NHL rules and practices. Some choice quotes include such instructions as: "increase your hitting, without regard to current imposed NHL limitations", "follow through on all your checks, using your stick or elbow if necessary", "continue to intimidate well after the whistle has blown", with the caveat that "referees cannot call every infraction". This is all expected to add up to "the restoration of the honor and pride of the Flyers organization, using our collective will, strength and intimidation". As a result of this damning set of instructions, the league took the "only recourse that would deter any further league infractions", according to Sherriff Campbell's statement. No response has been released by the Flyers as of yet.

None of this comes as a complete shock to me, as they've been "on notice" all season. Despite my obvious bias as a Devils fan, I'm not alone in feeling that Philthy is (and has been) as dirty as they come, as players like Jesse Boulerice and Steve Downie seemingly to have no respect for the game or the livelihood of their opponents. It turns out that management is complicit in this, as I suspected all along. However, as satisfying as the punishment is, the solution to this problem was rather eye-opening: not only have the Flyers have been banned from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Sabres have been awarded their playoff spot (#8 seed). Are you kidding me? What is the reason? "As the reigning President's Troohy winner, we felt it was only fair to reward [a playoff birth to] the Sabres organization, who have always acted with the utmost professionalism both on and off the ice," Bettman said in an early morning press conference. "We also wanted to reward the loyal Buffalo hockey fans, who are the greatest fans on the planet!" Unfortunately, he was not standing at center ice at the HSBC Arena when declaring this, and not surprisingly there was no effusive applause from the collected members of the sports media. As it turns out, Bettman still sucks.

So because the Sabres have a low number of suspensions this year, that's the sole requirement to play extra games? What about having 2 fewer points than the Kapital Komrades? That doesn't enter into it? I can't believe I'm torn about this decision, as I've been calling for the league to hand down meaningful punishment on Flyers management since the preseason. On second thought, forget about my apprehension, I'm all for it. Hopefully, this will be an actual deterrent and teams will realize that they cannot hide behind dirty play and intimidation in lieu of talent and teamwork.

Flyers suspension press conference - NHL Video - April 1, 2008 [YouTube]

UPDATE (10:00 PM): I forgot to add . . . APRIL FOOLS!


Anonymous said...

Finally, this is Betteman's best decision yet and it should send a clear message to other teams!

Ashley said...

As a Pens fan, this would be right up there with getting the new arena.

Philly sucks.

Kris said...

I'll tell you, since this news broke I've been pretty psyched. I didn't expect the Sabres to get in on a technicality, but I'll take it.

Fuck Philly anyway. Is this surprising to anyone? They're a bunch a shithead goons.

As much as I criticize Herr Bettman and Campbell "Soup" I do think they're finally cleaning up this league for the best.

I LOVE YOU said...