Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Justification for the "Death Penalty," or Firing Colin Campbell

by Ken Houghton


No, not that one. It's time to end the Philadelphia Flyers franchise.

I say this with a heavy heart, knowing I have at least one relative who may never speak to me again. Knowing that the Devils have the best record in the conference (take that, Burnside), knowing that the Rangers have not won in 2008 yet. But when Bobby Clarke gets loose with this, it's clear there's GOOD reason that league games are more difficult to find than the English Premier League football:
"When he went after [Jason] Blake, I loved it," Clarke told The Sports Network of Canada.

What's Clarke's definition of "Went after"?? Here's Downie on Blake:

That's right:
Downie punched Blake in the left eye as Blake was being held back by an official during a scuffle. [emphasis mine]

Here's Downie's hit on Dean McAmmond in the preseason, which may not quite reach McSorley or Todd Bertuzzi levels, but for which there is no excuse:

Well, unless you're Clarke:
Clarke said Blake deserved Downie's punch for saying Downie should have been suspended for more than 20 games.

"Blake was a guy who had no problem going out and saying [Downie] should be suspended for life or suspended for the year," Clarke said. "When you say something that stupid, why shouldn't this kid go after him for it?

"The kid did what every hockey player should do. If a player like Blake who's been around as long as he has wants to criticize a player, then he has to go on the ice with him and suffer the consequences."

"The consequences" = sucker punched while the referee holds him.

Here's that 25-game Boulerice hit (with the Flyer announcers trying to be nice):

Colin Campbell should resign in shame, having admitted that he "sells hate."

There is some justice, but even that's not the type anyone wants to see. Ken Campbell (presumably no relation to Colin, as he appears moderately sane) notes:
But perhaps the Flyers will learn something from the fact they’ll be without Joffrey Lupul for at least two weeks after he suffered a concussion and a bruised spinal cord. Because the only reason it happened was that he was decked by his own teammate’s illegal hit.

The only reason why it’s Lupul and not Maple Leafs winger Alexander Steen who is injured, is that Flyer defenseman Derian Hatcher’s classic headshot didn’t hit the intended target. On the play, Hatcher spotted Steen skating through the neutral zone, then came in with his elbows up and left his feet in an attempt to separate him from his senses.

Although Steen did get hit, he managed to avoid the brunt of it, but Lupul, who was skating right behind him, took his teammate’s elbows right to the head. Had that hit connected on Steen, there’s a good chance the league would have been reviewing two incidents involving the Flyers. [emphasis mine; think Downie's hit on McAmmond, and realise how well that "double secret probation" is working]

Enough is enough. It's intersession, and I was going to try to enjoy hockey. Instead, this coming Saturday features matches with Arsenal, Manchester United, and Juventus. None of whom employ Bobby Clarke or Colin Campbell.

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As a former lacrosse player, and reasonably longstanding Flyers fan, who was at the game when Clarke chiseled the ankles of Valery Kharlemov and Bullies roughed up the Red Army, the hit upon mcammond was unconscionable. It was the Hockey equivalent of an Ebbers or Skilling - a probably pathological pursuit of ... something ... that goes way-beyond "aggressive", and raises the real possibility the man too unstable and dangerous - both to others, and himself - that a lifetime ban, or a ban until he is properly examined and treated by shrinks is an order. And I don;t see how one could get re-programmed in 25 games.

The cross-check to the face was mild by comparison, and he probably meant to clip in the helmeted head. But you've gotta wonder at the premeditated flying leap at great speed blind-siding another. Just insane!
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