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Lipsberg - Wheaton Hit

A quick comment on the hit last night that sent Mitch Wheaton to the hospital.

It really makes me sick to my stomach to see a player get hurt like that. Hockey is a dangerous game that comes with known and generally understood dangers and there are moments where we forget that these players are still young men that are barely of legal age and some younger. I never ever, ever want to see a player get hurt like that.  The fans chanting U.S.A. has to be one of the dumbest things I've seen at a hockey game... but I could spend another entire article on that whole subject.

In real time, I didn't think the hit looked that bad with the exception being that Wheaton's "landing" was bad and that's an understatement.

Upon replay my opinion didn't change a whole lot.  Lipsbergs chases him behind the net and is initially on his back... which is what makes the hit a questionable decision.  The problem is that Wheaton turns back to absorb the hit and by the time Lipsbergs actually hits him I think he gets a lot of shoulder and some of the back.

I think a penalty was probably justified. Initially, I thought a boarding call would have been completely appropriate and I could see the justification for checking from behind.  I think this is one of those situations where I think the outcome dictated the extent of the penalty.

Regan Bartel posted his column this morning and I know he disagrees with me and thinks that the hit was bad and Lipsberg should face significant suspension.  I respect the hell out of Bartel. With all due respect to Thom (who is great) Bartel is the best PBP guy in the league and I respect the hell out of his knowledge and perspective. I just think this is one of those cases where I'd have to respectfully disagree with him.

Having said that... I'm biased and I think Regan would likely admit that he is too. It's difficult to separate yourself from "your team" and look at things objectively.

The league will take a look and I honestly wouldn't be surprised by their decision either way.  It will be interesting to see how the decision comes down particularly because there is a notion around the league (I'm not saying this is true... just "chatter") that the league tends to favor Kelowna on matters like this because Bruce Hamilton, President and GM of the Rockets is such an influential figure in league matters.

Again... I'm not saying this is true. I'm just saying that I've heard that stated by fans of different fan bases a few different times and that makes the decision a little more interesting.

For perspective... Here is a screen capture of the hit and the point of contact. The rule of thumb is that if you see the numbers on the back of the jersey you avoid the hit. Well clearly Lipsbergs sees the numbers as he skates in... but from the point of contact... geez I'm not so sure. It also appeared to me that Wheaton was either trying to reverse the puck or lean back into the hit to absorb it. He definitely should have carried it around the net but that is irrelated to the penalty. It looks to me like Lipsbergs is at least attempting to get around to the side of Wheaton and not hit him from the back and that should probably carry some weight in any kind of suspension decision.

Judge for yourself.

Moments before the hit....

Moment of impact...

and here is the full video... (updated for better quality)


Anonymous said...

Well that answers my question from the last thread. We must have hit post at the same time.

Kodi said...

I hope the best for Wheaton and that he recovers quickly from his injury.

That being said

I truely believe that athletes need to be protected from injuries including the dreaded head injuries but I think it's really starting to get ridiculous on what is being called a penalty. I sit fairly close to where the hit occurred and watching it real time it looked like Lippy was coming up behind him but Wheaton made a direction change at the last moment and moved his head down not giving Lippy any time to react. I'm not even sure I would have called a 2:00 let alone a major (which comes with the automatice game misconduct).

If the player that is hitting another player has to be responsible for his actions the player that is getting hit needs to also make sure they are not putting themselves in a vulnerable position.

Sports aren't all about rainbows and unicrons, injuries happen and the rules should be protecting players from being targeted or hit with intent. This was neither just a bad situation and a bad call.

I also went to go see what Reagan had to say and normally I agree with many of his points but I think he was flat out wrong and was taking the homer stance on this one.

Anonymous said...

It was a dirty hit...period. Chanting USA was classless period. Lippy will get what he deserves...and it will have nothing to do with Bruce Hamilton...that is the dumbest comment ever! Kodi is a homer that and probably has never played the game at least at this level. Glad to hear Wheaton is going to be OK. We need to show the injured players respect and accept things as they are...

Thunnex said...

Well I'm not sure I agree with you that we "have" to accept things as they are.

It's perfectly acceptable to disagree with a call and I think we can do that in a manner that remains respectful to an injured player.

Things are almost never black and white. That's why these are tough calls.

You think it is a dirty hit. That's fine.

Kodi said...

If you have read my posts over the years on this blog the last thing I would ever consider myself is a homer. I'm very critical of this team and am more than happy to call out a bad play or bad call no matter which side it occurs on.

I also don't need to "accept" anything. I'm more then happy to wait what the response from the league is but as someone has mentioned I wish the officials would call the penalty on the act of a penalty and not the result.

I do agree with you on the idiots chanting USA during that I mean it made absolutely no sense. I also had issues with someone who was yelling to hurry up and get off the ice. I kindly told that person that though I don't agree with the penalty I'm more then happy to wait however long it takes for the professionals to help the player.

Erica said...

There were definitely a lot of idiots in the crowd last night. I think 2 for Tuesday kinda brings out an odd crowd anyways. The "USA" chanting was downright embarrassing.

Mr Tell13 said...

arghh...that is really a though one to call.
Let's get this out of the way, yup 2 for Tuesday brings out idiots for sure.

As far as the hit, I am certain that Lipsberg had no other intentions than doing a good solid legal check on a puck carrier.
But... I do believe that the responsability is on the defensive (or forechecking in that case) player. He is the one making the choice to play the body. He could play the puck (or try) or could peel off(will not sit well with coach). You know that the player with the puck will do what he can to protect the puck.
I see it kind of like stick checking. Its fine to try and lift the stick of your opponent to a certain extend, but if it hits the guy in the face for some reason, its a penalty.

I don't know that I would call hit dirty because I doubt that there was ill intend on Lipsberg. But I would be fine with the game misconduct for boarding. I think any supension would be dictated by the resulting injury and anything over 1 game is exagerated. (IMO)

Jon said...

Mr Tell13, one question I have for you.

"You know that the player with the puck will do what he can to protect the puck"

Wheaton has the puck, and is travelling very quickly towards the net, with Lipsberg in quick pursuit. It seems to me the safe play, and the best way to protect the puck in this case would be to continue on around the net, and use it as a shield so Lipsberg can not check him or stick check him.

Instead he decides (appears to me like he decided), that trying to reverse direction with not only the puck, but with his body, was the safest play at the time. That I am not sure about.

Mr Tell13 said...

when you say it like that it make it sounds like you try to rationalise the hit.

From the angle of the video, it looks like he doesnt leave much space between him and the net, he probably thought that Lipsberg was going to continue in front of the net and block the lane on the other side. (maybe)

I do think the puck carrier has a bit of leeway to try and do a hockey play without getting driven into the board when he in a unstable position.

Jon said...

Not trying to rationalise the hit.

I just think that a lot of time, the player that is checked puts himself in the position that causes the hit, because of a bad hockey choice.

I have looked at the video frame by frame, and I don't feel he drove him into the boards at all, but that is open to each person's view.

The entire hit takes place over roughly 12 frames of video, or about 1/2 second. Real time, incredible hard to tell, and even in frame by frame, very hard to tell.

Anonymous said...

The USA USA chant came from the group of Army inductees that were recognized and welcomed earlier in the evening. Extremely poor judgement, and I'm hoping they recognized that when the injured player didn't get up. That being said, the dumb shits who yell out "you can keep it" After the "God keep our land" line of the Canadian anthem could use a lesson on where 99% of the guys on OUR team come from.

Anonymous said...

After watching the video I hope wheaton recovers, with that being said I don't believe this was intentional or would have even been contact had wheaton not tried to change direction but feeling the pressure from a skater who was catching up with him he tried to make a move I am not even sure lips had time to avoid the hit. All this talk about player safety you think coaches would be teaching these guys to protect themselves a dump up the boards and out of the zone and there no contact everyone plays on.

Unknown said...

A Tuesday is an unfortunate night to have an injury like this happen. You have the season ticket holders, then you have the rest of the crowd filled up with drunks drinking their $2 beer as fast as they can so they can go get two more. They don't care what is going on on the ice and even if they did watch a little bit of the game they still wouldn't know what was going on.

As a season ticket holder I hate Tuesdays. I hate to see players hurt whether they be a T-bird or opponent. My opinion of the hit is, what is Lipsbergs supposed to do? The guy turns into him as they are both skating pretty fast. Physics tells you the guy who surrendered his momentum is going to lose the collision. The player who got hit put himself in a bad position, but his team did get rewarded with a PP for half the remaining time in a tie game.

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