Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Potpourri: Jesse Martin, Hypocrisy, The League

DU forward Jesse Martin is in a Minneapolis hospital today having surgery to alleviate swelling around his spinal cord associated with three fractured neck vertebrae resulting from a hit applied on Saturday night by UND's Brad Malone.

Best wishes from UAA fans for a full recovery are in order.  Fans across the country have already and will continue to wish for Jesse's good health.  Sports at this level are often high impact and it's what attracts us fans.  When an unfortunate injury occurs it's difficult for everyone.  The communal empathy is widespread and we here certainly feel it today.  Get well Jesse.


Every human being is a hypocrite at some point in their life.  Recognizing it in oneself is highly difficult and the greater the hypocrisy the less likely it is a person can own up to it.  Last night after writing that I hoped the referees stay out of the game and let UAA and Mankato play, I yelled at the refs when they didn't make some calls.  I was a hypocrite for doing it.  

Sure, I do want the refs to stay out of the games but I want them to penalize the other guys.  Hypocrisy in action.  I tend to think that it is of the minor variety.  Perhaps it's even cute in some sense; we had a little titter last night about it in our seats.  There are clearly varying levels of hypocrisy though ... and the more acute level it reaches, the harder it is for everyone else to stomach.  Yes, I'm about to talk about some UND fans and the Brad Malone hit on Jesse Martin in yesterday's DU-UND game.  Because I'm having a real hard time stomaching some of the atrocious bullshit I'm seeing written.

There are certain UND fans on the Internet that I expect to be hypocrites.  A regular contingent of these hypocrites make themselves apparent virtually every weekend.  I was not surprised to any great degree to see some of them bitch and moan about the 5 minute major against Brad Malone.  It didn't surprise me when some of them denied the obvious parallels of past events involving these same two teams.  It doesn't even surprise me that certain Least Common Denominator voices look to decry the referees as being at fault because they didn't call some completely unrelated weak sauce little tap as spearing (which it wasn't anyway).  All those things are a regular occurrence amongst that sorry fanbase and some of the low-IQ trash that express themselves on the internet.

It does however surprise me to see other petty attempts to deflect the issue from Jesse Martin's health by focusing on what the referees and/or league should be doing.  Shameful stuff Patrick Miller.  You in particular should know better.  You've lowered yourself to Goon's level with this hypocrisy.  Your really concerned about the effect of the initial failure to make the call on the outcome of the game?  That's what you wrote? Wow.  Not to mention that your analogy to football is ridiculous.  You start off with the false premise that football has it's shit together with regard to dangerous hits.  An argument built on a false premise is over when it starts.  Football in no way shape or form has any sort of effective control over such events.  

There is only one place where control can be exerted to eliminate such things.  The ability to control something like this lies with ONLY one person.  The player going in for the hit.  End of story.  I think the Jeff Paukovich hit on Robbie Bina some years back is a perfect example.  Let me explain, Paukovich was highly prized for his play by the NHL.  As a really big player,  he delivered more than a few bone jarring hits to the opposition.  NHL scouts were loving him.  Then he made a stupid decision that he had no idea would have wide-ranging effects.  

Bina was seriously injured and eventually recovered well.  Paukovich was NEVER the same player again.  The timidity his stupid choice to hit Bina resulted in doomed his own hockey career.  If Geoff Paukovich had never made that stupid choice, I'd put good money that he'd be plying his trade at the highest level today.  Instead, he is still playing in the washout ECHL.

So that's why I say the individual player is the ONLY place where ANY control over dangerous hits can possibly start.  Every hockey player involved in the sport at any level can learn a lesson from this incident.  Is the potential to deliver a "kill hit" really worth the risk to careers?  Brad Malone could have pulled out of his charge and delivered an effective hit.  He was in control and nobody else.  That and that alone is the lesson here.  This is about the player's mindset going in.

Looking to blame the sport, it's leagues or it's referees is ridiculous and only serves to completely and utterly discredit the person laying the blame.  Patrick you were dead wrong about your school's nickname (as you know I told you years and years ago with regard to your USCHO debate with Chris Lerch) and you are dead wrong again.  Never posting on your pretentiously named blog again would be a good idea.  Because just like Brad Malone ... you are the only one who can exert that control.


Changing gears let's look around at where other WCHA teams are in this early season.  The aforementioned DU squad is sitting at 3-3-2 so far.  They won and tied in their opening series against Vermont.  They got smoked by B.C. in their home opening series.  Pulled a nice three points versus Wisconsin at home and split the weekend versus UND.  DU fans are pretty pleased with the record so far (as they should be) considering the difficulty of their early schedule.  

I think the Pios and Seawolves share some commonalities.  They both have young unproven goaltenders.  They both have a large contingent of youngsters skating.  And they both have suffered somewhat from having key players out of the lineup.

St. Cloud looks to be vying for the Jekyll/Hyde early season moniker.  Their 3-4-1 after a schedule that's a bit of a mixed bag.  They opened with RIT and Clarkson.  They took care of business against RIT the first night and then completely imploded against Clarkson.  In their second series against Miami they got their butts kicked the first night and came back to tie the next.  Against the Gophs they stepped up on Friday night winning handily but Pride On Ice came back the next night to hand the Cloudies a bitter defeat.  This weekend they continued with the Jekyll/Hyde theme by losing to Quinnipiac 4-2 on Friday before defeating them 5-2 on Saturday.  Someone needs to check Bob Motzko's medicine cabinet for secret formulas.

Michigan Tech's heels have been cooled slightly.  The Badgers swept them this weekend in Madison by three goals each night.  Prior to that the Techies had put together a nice 5 game unbeaten streak to start the season.  They've still got a very respectable 3-2-2 record.

Wisconsin is 5-2-1 over it's first eight games.  They lost to BU, beat Holy Cross, stomped UAH, had a bit of a setback versus DU and just swept MTU.  Nothing really impressive here though.  No Wisconsin players should be writing home to mother and bragging just yet.

UAA's prior opponent to Mankato the Duluthians are unbeaten so far this year with a 6-0-2.  They tied to open the season at Lake Superior, then beat NMU, killed Providence, squeaked by UAA in OT before crapping all over us the next night.  This past weekend they beat Bemidji in OT on Friday and tied them 1-1 last night.  They won't be unbeaten for long.

North Dakota is 4-3-1 to open the season.  After tying the Seawolves in their opener they handled UAF, swept Bemidji, got stomped by the Mainuhs before splitting with DU this weekend.  Look for them to continue with a similar or slightly better winning percentage over the next couple of months.

The Gophers are a respectable 5-3 after their first 8 games.  They fairly easily took a two game season opening set over UMass before getting embarrassed by UNO then splitting with the Cloudies.  They did however definitively sweep CC this weekend in Colorado Springs.  They've got Wisconsin on the docket this coming weekend.  So that should be interesting.

CC appears to be living up to preseason billing (for once).  They split with RPI to open the season before beating UAA and losing to UAF.  Then last weekend they split with Mankato in the least racially diverse city in America (yes ... even less racially diverse than Colorado Springs ... by a mile actually).  Then see above about their series against the Gophers who outscored CC this weekend 13-5.  Ouch for BBEF.

UNO is 5-1 in it's first 6 games and had this weekend off.  They stomped a Clarkson team that beat St. Cloud in the same tournament.  They took care of business against RIT.  They embarrassed the Gophs at The John.  Then split with the Ugly Helmets in Ann Arbor.

Bemidji thinks they're in the Ivy League and have only played 4 games.  They're 0-3-1 with the pride of that record being the tie last night with UMD.

Lastly, Mankato is 2-2-4 after it's first 8 games.  They tied St. Larry twice to open the season.  Lost to and then tied MTU in Hougton (which has no Wendy's).  They hosted CC and got a split with the Black Bears before coming to Anchorage.

So that's where it is.  The biggest story now isn't Michigan Tech's surprising start.  It's now St. Clouds performance against high expectations.  It's early of course and lots of things will shake out over the coming weeks.  October is only just now in the rear view mirror and we all know wins in March and April mean a helluva lot more than at this time of year.  I think lost of teams are just finding their stride and/or identity.  It won't be boring.


Sam Mellor is still a stud. Nuff said ...


Anonymous said...

Right on for calling out malone and the und fans!!!

A DU Fan

BBEF said...

Ouch indeed! We had a lot of Minnesota fans on hand last night. They were loud and proud – not a lot of fun but generally fine by me.

My one complaint was the drunk fuck in front of me. After the 2nd Minnesota goal he felt compelled to turn around and scream “Fuck all ya’ll” to everyone else in attendance. After the 7th goal, he stood up proudly announcing “7 baby” while hold up 8 fingers. No joke…

Oh well I guess. The Schwartz brothers are really fun to watch.

Also – good luck to Martin – no one wants to see that. It’s also questionable - to me - that a blogger returns to action after more than six months off to defend something like this.

annabelle said...

Best wishes to Jesse for a healthy recovery.

Donald Dunlop said...

Don't get me wrong here though. Brad Malone could be any player. I'll assume that Brad feels a bit sick to his stomach about it. Which is what my story about Paukovich and Bina was also meant to express.

UND fans (in general ... and we all love generalizations don't we?) all too often react as if their team was an NHL franchise.

vizoroo said...

Donald, thank you for your comments about the venom that has been spewing from some UND fans. I had to stop reading the DU-UND thread. It simply was too unsettling. Considering the seriousness of the injury to Jesse Martin, why would the tasteless remarks about what happened continue? You would think these same UND fans could remember how they felt when Bina was injured.

Donald Dunlop said...

A segment of UND fans are constantly in need of being exposed as assholes. I wouldn't have considered Patrick C. Miller amongst them and I think it's a shame he's put himself in that group on this issue.

Patrick C. Miller said...

Part I: Donald, as usual, you missed my point because you get so wrapped up about who's writing rather than what they've actually written.

I agree that the rules in football can't control all the dangerous hits. Obviously, they don't and I never said they did. What I said is that football has made more of a conscious effort to take dangerous hits out of the game than hockey has. And I stand by that statement because I think it's absolutely true. I watch a lot of football and I see many penalties called for hits that would have been legal a few years ago. Why do you suppose that is?

I am truly sickened by what happened to Jesse Martin. It's especially gut-wrenching for me because have been complaining about dangerous hits in college hockey on USCHO since I started posting on the forums there 12 years ago. I've always condemned those types of hits, no matter which player on which team engages in them. I've lost count of the number of times I've been told by hockey fans that I don't understand the game and that I want to ruin the sport by turning it into ballroom dancing. I've never advocated making hockey a non-contact sport. All I want is for it to be a safer sport for the players, which I don't consider an unreasonable position.

I took a lot of heat from Sioux fans last season when I agreed with Don Lucia that the type of hit Matt Frattin delivered to Kevin Wehrs had no place in the game. I don't remember you ever showing up to defend me. But it's really wonderful that you've taken the time on your blog to twist my words into things I never said and call me names. You're still the same old sweet guy who got banned from USCHO.

Patrick C. Miller said...

Part II: You are absolutely correct that the one person who could have prevented what happened Saturday night was Brad Malone. At no point in what I wrote did I make any excuses for him.

What I would have liked to have seen the moment Malone delivered his hit was four striped arms up in the air because every official on the ice immediately recognized that what he did was against the rules. A 10-minute conference shouldn't have been necessary to make a decision. Nor should the Sioux have been allowed to retain possession of the puck and generate a scoring opportunity. But that's what happened.

I also would have liked it if Greg Shepherd had taken the time to help the media understand how it was that a penalty not called on the ice by any official became a 5-minute major. In ten seasons of covering UND hockey, I've never seen that happen before. I spent quite a bit of time looking through the new NCAA rule book today for an explanation, but couldn't find anything that clearly stated why the officials did what they did.

I want the governing bodies of hockey to make it absolutely clear through codified rules that there will be no more tolerance of running players with their heads down or taking advantage of players in vulnerable positions. Just because it's always been "part of the game" doesn't mean it has to stay that way, which football has proven.

It's way past time for players and coaches to understand that what was allowed in the past will no longer be tolerated in any way, shape or form. The NCAA's "points of emphasis" clearly don't work. Rather than saying, "Gosh, it sure would be nice if the college hockey leagues got serious about hits to the head," the organization needs to implement clearly written rules and make certain that they are strictly enforced. Only when that happens will players, coaches and fans get the message that there is no place in the game for dangerous and unnecessary hits. And the on-ice officials won't have to stand around looking confused because they're not certain if what happened really was a penalty.

That was the primary point of my blog. I didn't write it to say how sorry I was about what happened to Martin or to blast Brad Malone for what he did. Plenty of other people were doing that already. I was attempting to make a larger point about how this incident was a reflection of an ongoing problem in hockey that isn't being adequately addressed.

Finally, I'm not sure what my opinion on the Fighting Sioux nickname has to do with any of this, but two-thirds of voting tribal members on the Spirit Lake Sioux reservation agreed with me, not you. And I'm quite confident that a similar result would have occurred on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation had the tribal council there mustered enough courage to let the people decide the issue. If you don't understand why a vote wasn't allowed, then you don't understand much about politics.

Patrick C. Miller said...

Sorry for the multiple posts. I kept getting an error saying that my second post was too long. So I cut it back and tried to repost it, not realizing that it had gone through. Feel free to delete the second two posts.

Donald Dunlop said...

I appreciate you calling me sweet. You earn respect points for coming here to defend your views. I'll admit that my reaction to your post was at best incomplete. That said, to answer you I'll happily try to expound on the reason I decried it.

The event happened yesterday. UND fans other than you (which I specifically tried not to link to you) have made a number of questionable comments in various forums. I haven't linked to the various comments here simply because drawing attention to them wasn't the purpose of my post. I mention them primarily as exposition to contrast to your post.

With that in mind, you might see that there is a collectivity nonetheless between what other UND fans have said and what you said. I try here on my blog to associate the fan experience in ways that other fans will relate to in some way. In this case, the combination of shallow minded ignorance from some UND fans and your seeming inability to wait a few days (or a week even) to point fingers at the referees generated my honestly felt reaction.

The association with your views about UND's nickname was intended to display what I'd consider your only other major error in what I've seen you write on the internet. I perhaps didn't make that too clear. But that's the way it is sometimes with sports fans eh? In my case at least that's mostly always true ... I see my role here (as noted above) to relate my impressions of events in the world that I write about as genuinely as the occur.

No doubt you might imagine my post as an attack on you. However, hopefully you read my follow up comment where I said, "I wouldn't have have considered you amongst them..." that was me being respectful. I don't believe anything I mentioned in any manner impugns other positions you've taken with regard the game we both love. I'm purposely not the most high-minded blogger on the internet ... but my intent here was as much to criticize your timing as it was to take umbrage with your position on the matter.

As for me being "banned from USCHO". That's lulzy. Really. There is now and has been for quite some time behavior in that forum that far exceeds anything I posted when I posted under the name Drop The Puck.

Lastly with regard to the nickname, 'ad argumentum populum' is no basis for moral correctness. Democracy has it's place however it has often been used in the repression of minority viewpoints. I always speak against such things.

Donald Dunlop said...

I encountered the same error. I will clean it up as appropriate.

Donald Dunlop said...

And sorry ... I meant "argumentum ad populum".

Anonymous said...

Donald, I just read your post about Jessie Martin and it brought out some sad memories of our family's loss in a helmet to helmet hit in college football. I had written a post earlier and decided to surf around a little before I submitted a comment. We were relieved to see that Jessie had regained feeling in his extremities. That is a very good sign. His family I'm sure is very relieved to hear this news. These types of injuries can be devastating to everyone involved and it is difficult, because when it happens, you know very little about these types of injuries so it can be a daunting task to learn quickly what all the options are. It is frightening when you hear the docs say they did everything they could do and the outcome not a positive one. Just as Jessie's life has changed forever, Brad Malone's has as well. Now is not the time for bad feelings. This is a learning moment for us all, and if we all keep open minds and listen to each other the easier the transition will be for Jessie. Brad will have to accept his actions in his own time but it is not for us to judge how he responds to this, It is up to him and his family to deal with in their own way. It will be difficult. We have to say a prayer for him too.
I want to take a moment to say something about our trainers. They are the most under thanked people on our teams. They are there to take over the chaos that comes when there are injuries like this. They (Kevin Lectenburg) know their jobs well and in reading about Jessie, likely saved him from paralysis or worse, death. Sometimes, in these injuries, you are not able to breathe on your own, that is how serious this is. Thank you Kevin.
We lost Curt 2 days after he turned 24 due to complications of his injury. They dedicated the 25 yard line to him in Husky Stadium. It was his number.
Thank you,

Anonymous said...

In the series last Year at St Cloud. UND destroyed the Huskies. this was after Marvin had taken out Genoway a month or so before. Malone was nothing but a head hunter in that game. I am guessing there will be a couple of games susp coming for that Dickhead!

Anonymous said...

Just for the Record Martin didn't think it was a dirty hit.

Donald Dunlop said...

There is nothing in this post (or for that matter the comments) that indicated or inferred that it was a "dirty hit".

Anonymous said...

"Jesse had heard Brad was having a tough time and he wanted Brad to know he had no hard feelings," Terry Martin said. "Jesse doesn't think it was an illegal hit and he wanted Brad to know that."

On Wolves said...

Never going to change. The way to prevent those types of hits is to stop the games from being played. Other than that, not gonna happen.

It wasn't a check from behind. It wasn't head into the boards. It wasn't an elbow to a defenseless player. It wasn't a dirty play. It was a giant hit, that if Crowell or Portwood had delivered we would be standing and applauding.

And yes, your entire rant gives, at the very least, the impression that it was a "dirty hit". It was a fluky thing that happens when guys are... oh forget it. Impossible to explain. The only people who understand it are the ones on blades.

Donald Dunlop said...

And a major point of my "rant" was that only the players themselves are responsible for these events. That isn't blame. It is a fact. Yes. The guys wearing the blades. You see players in every game pull up from a hit at the last moment. You see players in every game not pull up. Such decisions made at speed are in the very least made in only milliseconds.

And impressions are defined by perception. I didn't say dirty hit. I didn't intend to imply it. You're of course welcome to your impression since I cannot control you perceptions. Nevertheless, it all is what it is and what I said ... I said. Everyone is capable of taking their own impression from what they read. If I didn't understand that then I wouldn't be writing ... especially when I'm addressing a topic that is clearly potentially volatile.

Patrick C. Miller said...

You can't stop people from driving drunk. Does that mean there should be no laws against it? Of course not. There are laws against drunk driving to A) let people know that they'll be in trouble if they caught doing it and B) attempt to minimize how often people engage in what everyone knows is an unsafe practice.

It's the same for dangerous hits in hockey. Can you totally eliminate them from the game? No. But can you attempt to minimize how often they happen by implementing and strictly enforcing rules against them. You'll never know until you try, and at least football is trying.

The only way that coaches and players are going to change the mindset that some dangerous hits are acceptable is for the organizations that regulate hockey to send the message in no uncertain terms that they're not.

Anonymous said...

"If" college hockey does create special rules for dangerous hits than these boys (our college boys) will be murdered when they get to the NHL. Why? Because they wouldn't expect every hit to be huge and possibly dangerous.
If you want dangerous hits enforced it needs to change at the NHL level first then trickle down.
I am sorry for Jesse and Brad that this happened.

Anonymous said...

Donald Dunlop said...

Unless I'm missing something that's a link to a guy that has marginal stats in the Ontario Junior league. Top scorers in that league average 2 points a game. That player hasn't reached 1 point a game in his 4 year junior career.

I'd have to say there's nothing exciting about his addition unless and until someone tells me he's the most underrated player ever in that league. All teams need role players as well as talented players without a doubt. But, I guess for now I'll just wait and see since unsubstantiated recruit signing have appeared from time to time here.

Anonymous said...


from Anon@406. My bad It really should have been Donnie Harris from West Virginia.

Donald Dunlop said...

Donnie Harris from West Virginia seems like a nice bloke with high ambitions. His dream school ... Boston College. He played AAA Midget Majors with the Northwest Regulators then he had stints in the NAHL, USHL and played last season and this season with Bonnyville in the AJHL.

Looks like a rugged stay at home defenseman with a heavy shot that doesn't take a lot of penalty minutes. Listed at 6ft 2in and 208lbs. Turns 20 next week.

Definitely has lots of experience playing away from home. He hasn't exactly been a "Star Player" on any team he played on but resume only tells part of the story I suppose. So he's a player in my mind that our staff would have faith in or they wouldn't have recruited him.

I'll wait for official announcements though before I pen him in and write it up. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

So with the passin of Prop B, is a new hockey arena included in the new facility?

arcticfox said...

Seawolves Fanatic,

OMG -- I was just getting ready to put a post on here asking what everyone thinks about Proposition B being passed! :-O You're amazing!

I looked at the goseawolves website and saw that they moved the info on the new facility to the front page. I'll bet that Dr. Cobb and everyone else at UAA who supported it are happy it was overwhelmingly voted in!

Dr. Cobb was buzzing all over the Sully at the last games passing out the Prop. B fliers and talking to anyone who wanted to hear more info about it. :)

I know for a fact that one of the two businessman/investors/hockey lovers that hopes to build a private hockey arena onto the new sports center is also stoked that Prop. B passed. I only know one of the two guys, and I haven't talked to him myself in quite a while. I DO know someone else who see's him daily though, so I get my info second-hand.

I'm not sure how much easier the new facility makes it for these two to get the go-ahead for their 7+ seat hockey facility, but I hope we find out more info SOON!!!

arcticfox said...

7+ seat hockey arena? LOL!

I meant to say 7500+ seat hockey arena.

Donald Dunlop said...

The new sports facility that will be built from the Prop B funding DOES NOT INCLUDE HOCKEY. It's a great thing overall for UAA Sports but if you ask me it probably makes it less likely that we'll EVER see an Ice Hockey Arena built on or near the campus.

I'm as wishful as anyone that we'd get an on-campus arena for hockey. But unless it's built with private funds somehow it just is unlikely to happen in my opinion.

That's just my five cents of course. I once was fully optimistic. That optimism has waned drastically over the last several years. The privately funded proposal could work but it gets ZERO play from the UAA Administration. And that isn't Steve Cobb per se but his boss Bill Spindle and Spindle's boss the UAA Prez. So don't count on it. At all.

Anonymous said...

Haha thanx ArcticFox . . . There is a reason why my name is A Seawolves Fanatic on blogger ; }

I voted yes on Prop B! Did anybody else?

And D, hmmm time will tell eh?

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