| Ott whines, Heatley
Sharks forward suspended two games for
One of the reasons I fell in love with hockey,
aside from the speed and grace of a human being racing on a sheet of frozen
water on two quarter-inch blades bolted to his shoes while trying to maneuver a
small piece of vulcanized rubber, is the notion of a self imposed code of
conduct. There's simply something honorable about a game that allows it to be
controlled by an unwritten set of rules and behaviors. Then there are games
like Tuesday night's debacle in Dallas, which remind you that not everyone
lives by that code.
I'll go on record by saying that I think what
transpired in Dallas, in the Sharks 6-3 win over the Stars, was simply
pathetic. There are two parties involved in this mess, and both are guilty of
behavior that disrespects everything that's great about hockey.
Everyone is well aware of the antics of Dallas agitator Steve Ott. His shtick
is nothing new. When you have no skill to lean on, you have to rely on other
skills. For Ott, it's being a pest, and cheap shot artist.
Heatley is no choir boy, but his reputation irks people more for his actions
off the ice. People have their opinions about Heatley because of his
culpability in the death of Dan Snyder in 2003 or the way he handled his
contract situation in Ottawa in 2009. On the ice, his behavior isn't something
that typically draws the ire of fans.
Both players played a role in
Tuesday night's debacle that landed Heatley in front of a disciplinary hearing
on Wednesday afternoon. That board ruled that the elbow that Heatley threw at
Ott was worthy of a two game suspension that Healtey will serve when the Sharks
face the Minnesota Wild and St Louis Blues Thursday and Saturday.
suspension will also cost Heatley $80 thousand in salary, which will go to the
Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Ott undoubtedly took great
satisfaction in hearing that Heatley had been sanctioned for his actions that
left Ott, "with headaches from the camera lights", that were used to shine down
on the Stars agitator during a post-game interview session on Tuesday night.
Ott used the opportunity to jump on a soapbox and vent about the
plague known as the head shot that has infected the league this season. It was
the perfect opportunity to knock out an opponent for two games without having
to throw one of his patented knee-level checks. He got Heatley suspended simply
by acting as if a sniper's bullet cut him down when Heatley threw his elbow.
"I think Colin Campbell's got his hands full, that's for sure," Ott
told reporters. "I think the Loui Eriksson hit is prototypical. He's reaching
for the hit. The big guy (Douglas Murray) knows what he's doing. He's bearing
down and finishing the check. He did it again on an offensive play against
Vincour, elbowed him right in the face. My head's killin' me from this light
right now from Dany Heatley's little cheap shot."
He got Heatley
suspended by linking his incident to the hottest hockey topic of the hour,
concussions. Ott didn't suffer a concussion of course. That's because he either
didn't get hit hard enough to suffer a concussion, or the spacing between his
tiny brain and skull is large enough to buffer any contact between the two. I'm
going with not getting hit hard enough to cause a concussion.
doesn't actually have a tiny brain. It's his spine that's missing.
With a reputation like his, it's comical to think that anyone would take Ott's
comments on Tuesday night seriously. It was Ott, who was tossed from a game
last week for spearing the Kings Kyle Clifford.
With that said, was Heatley's behavior justified? No.
He threw an elbow away from the puck. It was a bone-headed move, worthy of
Ott's admiration actually. If anyone can critique a cheap-shot, it's Ott. I was
really expecting to hear him grade the quality of the elbow, not complain about
That doesn't admonish Heatley from his decision to put the Sharks
in a precarious position. With the Sharks clinging to a one-goal lead late in a
game that was beginning to tilt in the Stars favor, Heatley's move was
ridiculous for the simple fact that it could have cost the San Jose the game
against a division rival that's three points behind in the standings. Simply
put it was a selfish decision.
Heatley received his punishment, but
the league has to factor in the notion that Steve Ott was on the receiving end
of that elbow. They needed to recognize that Ott was holding court after the
game, lobbying for the league to suspend Douglas Murray for clean open-ice hit,
mocking the game in order to derive an advantage for his team as the playoff
race winds down.
All the league did is promote the notion that
gamesmanship will be rewarded if you whine loud enough.
Heatley recognizes that he will be judged by the number of pucks he deposits in
opposing nets, rather than the number of agitators that he settles scores with.
He'll have two evenings free this week to ponder that.
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