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10.13.2014

Tbirds add a Defender and the Wardley Hit

Just released, Seattle has added Scott Allan from Medicine Hat for a 5th round bantam selection. I know very little about Allan other than he is listed as being 6'5" and 235 lbs (sounds like a Farwell guy to me) and is listed as being from Colorado.

I would have to imagine this is a response to the anticipation that Evan Wardley will be suspended, Ethan Bear is injured or perhaps both.

I saw the Wardley hit over the weekend and here is my take.

In 2014, the world has been successfully conditioned to believe that everything is seen as either black or white. People seem to believe that things are either one way completely or they are the other way completely. This is quite unfortunate because I think most, if not all, things are actually colored quite gray.

To me, this is another one of those situations.

I watched the replay late that night and saw the hit, I watched the replay in slow motion probably 25 times. Portland announcers, writers and even the team itself called it a "dirty hit" while some in the Seattle fan base feel strongly it was a clean hit.

This is what I believe:

- Petan puts himself in a vulnerable position in the neutral zone in a tight space where he has to know he's going to get hit and really does nothing to protect himself from potential contact. Does this make it his fault? No. Does this mean he shares a little bit of responsibility? I say yes. Petan is already a small target at 5'9" and lowers his body position even more to receive the puck and enter the zone. This isn't his fault, I'm just stating it as a point of fact.

- Wardley has good gap, doesn't take unnecessary strides, lowers his body, keeps his skates down and his elbows tucked. All consistent with a good clean hit. Where I can see Wardley went wrong is that a split second before contact, his body position goes from a low crouch to a higher and extended position. This, in combination with Petan already being a lower target means that point of contact is going to be high.

Seattle is saying the point of contact is shoulder to shoulder or shoulder to chest whereas Portland is going to say the point of contact is the head.  I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. It looked to me like Wardley got quite a bit of body but also probably made contact above the shoulders because of the nature of Petan's position.

Do I think he'll be suspended? Yes. He's a repeat offender and the responsibility is always going to be placed on the hitter not to make contact high. Do I think it was a "dirty hit" as the Winterhawks official press release stated? No, I absolutely do not.

Wardley is trying to make a hockey play. That's his game and that's what his game should be. Portland is a finesse team and as such they believe they are should be entitled to skate around the ice without so much as a tiny bit of contact here and there. Well, it doesn't work that way. Some hockey players and teams are tough and strong and physical and their game is to make sure Nic Petan thinks twice about receiving a blind pass over the center of the ice. That. Is. Hockey. 

The NFL has a defenseless receiver rule. Hockey has no such rule. You are allowed to hit a player cleanly and legally even if he has hit head down and doesn't see you coming. I cannot tell you how many times we were told as kids to "keep your head up" at all times and be aware of your surroundings.

Wardley's hit will receive discipline and I would probably agree that it will be justified. But Portland's announcers, writers and front office should probably take a really close look in the mirror before casting casting aspersions on him. 

They should look no further than the hit delivered by Oliver Bjorkstrand to end the overtime period. Bjorkstrand's hit came well after the horn (Wardley's was during play), was delivered to an opponents back (Wardley's was not) and used the boards to inflict added harm (Wardley's did not). Both hits were delivered to opponents who were unsuspecting but Petan probably should have expected contact in the neutral zone during the middle of a play where Ethan Bear can reasonably expect not to get checked well after the horn sounds.

Portland fans, announcers and team officials will most certainly disagree but in my opinion the intent of the Bjorkstrand hit was far worse than Wardley's.

Shades of gray...

49 comments :

Kodi said...

Very good and thought out post.

I also agree that Wardley will likely get time but I think it's more because of his reputation and that he is a repeat offender. Right or wrong that's how it's going to be. It was what I was worried the most about when we were deciding on our 20's. I LOVE Wardley's aggressive play but I always feared he was a bad hit away from a 12 game suspension as well.

Will be interesting to see what the damage ends up being.

Anonymous said...

There are a few things that stand out as 'black and white' as opposed to grey when it comes to discussing this topic. 15 penalty minutes in 4 games, for starters. No matter who wants to cry foul and label Wardley as a 'marked man' in the eyes of the officials, it still shows that the 3 minors assessed in the Kelowna game did nothing to slow him down and the actions in the Portland game seemed ego driven and selfish.. And those are the words of a T-Birds fan, not a troller. Another thing I don't like about 'grey areas' is the lack of accountability that comes with it. Sometimes you just have to call someone out by name and place blame on a player who is costing us repeatedly. I thought that he would come back this season from Montreal's camp as a better, more responsible player. I was wrong, and I miss Adam Henry.

Anonymous said...

Where exactly did the Winterhawks say it was a dirty hit in an official press release? I never saw that. For the announcers, take them a grain of salt. They're biased...they will admit to that. So is Thom Beuning. So is Tyler Hunnex. They'll back Portland...Tyler will back Wardley.

I can imagine the tone of this post would have been different had Cederholm done the hitting on Barzal.

There is a difference between being physical and violent. Wardley's hit was violent...and, hopefully won't put a promising pro career in jeopardy.

Thunnex said...

I think Wardley plays on the edge but to call him selfish really isn't understanding how the game works.

Players who can hit the way he does has an impact on the game. The next time he plays... watch how opposing forwards enter the zone. It's a lot of chips and dumps. Not a lot of guys challenge that side of the ice with him out there.

Penalties can be detrimental to the team but that's ignoring the impact that his physicality has on the rest of the game.

Thunnex said...

Actually, I would 100% vehemently disagree with you.

I go out of my way to try to be fair.

Sure, I have bias as well. Everyone does. It would be silly to argue otherwise but I go out of my way to try to see both sides. I've argued for and against both Seattle players and opponents.

I'm trying to find the link to the release Portland put out calling it a "dirty hit". I saw it, thought I had it and now I don't. I suppose it is possible it was taken down or edited.

Anonymous said...

Tyler is dead on. Wardley has to play Wardley's game to be successful. Period. It's what his coaches want, it's what the fans want and it's certainly what the AHL/NHL are looking for in a physcial defenseman.

Does he play over the edge sometimes? Yes. And I laud him for it. All levels of hockey need more of these types of players, not less. 10 more years and the product on the ice at all levels is going to be unbearable to watch.

Thunnex said...

http://www.oregonlive.com/hawks/index.ssf/2014/10/portland_winterhawks_fall_3-2.html

In fairness, I should clarify. The article is from Oregonlive.com but it says "A release from the Winterhawks". So who knows.

Anonymous said...

I think most people not supporters of the Birds consider it a dirty hit and that says something. I know I was pissed when Leipsic hit Kolesar on a similar play...so I can see why Hawks fans are so up in arms.

Anonymous said...

This is Wardley ' s game and for one am glad he is back on the team. The penalties on Wardley in the Kelowna game, 2 were reputation calls that were at worst marginal calls and at best clean legal hits. As for this hit......If it was Petan on Wardley there would be no penalty.

I also think this was a physical play not violent as 1 poster said. Bjrokstrand hit was violent as it was after the horn...using the boards to inflict more damage.

This will never happen but refs need to judge the play not the player. If it is only a penalty because of a player not the play....that is a problem.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much what I expected out of these comments.. A whole lot of 'Wardley being Wardley' comments, but not a lot of commentary on what his actions have cost us. The T-Birds are arguably the most defensively stacked team in the league, and there they are trading draft picks for Defense in the first month of the season. Wardley's hit and the retaliation that followed have cost the T-Birds dearly. Put a price on how great it is to let 'Wardley be Wardley.' He is clearly not benefiting the team.

Anonymous said...

Three Portland players have been suspended by the league this season for a check to the head or check from behind penalty. On average, that's one suspension for a bad hit every three games. Where's the outrage? It's amazing how Portland fans conveniently forget this fact, or the Leipsic hit last season or the Bjorkstrand hit at the end of Saturday's game.

Anonymous said...

Idiot

Anonymous said...

Not a dirty hit? You're an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Well looking at it from the league's perspective, they are trying to make the game safer. I don't think this was an intent to injure play but I do think it deserves some kind of suspension. In the he end it was a check to the head in which Petan appears to try and make a move at the end. I think if he had simply absorbed the hit it would not have been so bad although it would possibly still be a check to the head.

Petan's responsibility here is minimal. However, he and Rattie and Leipsic have always played that brand of offense that shrinks from physical defenders and tries to dodge rather than absorb hits. I remember chance Lund hitting Rattie at the show a few years back and Rattie having to leave that game. It was a clean hit and would have been shoulder to shoulder but Rattie ducked. In my memory Lund was ejected from that game.

Honestly my hope here is just that Petan is okay. I trust that the league will see the play for what it is and hand out some kind of suspension but it should not be a ten game plus suspension as Portland seems to think.

Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious these fans who label this a "dirty hit", because they know for sure that Wardley's only intent here was to injure Petan. It wasn't to stop Portland from entering the offensive zone or to prevent a possible scoring opportunity. They're mind readers! It was a hockey play. The hit was high, the head was low. Penalty? Yes. Dirty hit? No. Because the game of hockey wants to eliminate head shots and because this is not Wardley's first offense, there will be a suspension. The same reason three Portland players have been suspended already this season, because they're hits were illegal, not dirty.

Anonymous said...

This quote in the Portland Tribune:

Kompon isn't sure about the availability of Petan, the fireball center who scored 81 regular-season goals over the last two seasons and was second in the WHL in scoring in 2013-14. Petan was nailed with a cheap shot to the head by Seattle goon Evan Wardley in the first period and didn't return.

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/12-sports/236694-102394-winterhawks-struggles-continue-with-another-loss-to-seattle

Aaaah, unbiased reporting.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised coming from a Hockey Hater in a bicycle Nazi city.

Kodi said...

Seven games for check to the head major and g.m. at Portland on October 11

•The hit resulted in an injury to opponent
•The player is a repeat offender

Looks like November 1st is when he can return

Anonymous said...

Gives Farwell 17 days to ship him off to Prince George for a 5th rounder.

Anonymous said...

How the hell did Bjorkstrand skate on that hit? It's been something watching Portland fans scream for Wardley's head and ignore the possibility that Bjorkstrand did anything wrong, but to see him beat the rap...how?

TigerTurf said...

Scott Allan - Great Mobility for a guy his size. He is tall and lanky (a bit uncoordinated at times) and has yet to fit into his frame. Maybe a little bit raw still.

He is very quick to get off that first pass and could use a bit of seasoning to develop a bit more poise.

He does get rid off the puck as quick as he can. I heard that he is a very funny guy and was well liked in the dressing room in the hat.

I was a bit disappointed the Tigers let him go for a 5th, but as an older guy he just fell on the depth charts. There is no risk/high reward with him.

Their is a bit of a hump for him to reach his full potential because he is a bit raw, but if he could reach that potential he could potentially be a stud defenseman by his overage year.



jon said...

Nice update TigerTurf. he sure got his ice time last night. Looked awkward at times but for having only been with the team for a couple hours before game time I'll take what i saw and hope he can build on it.

Anonymous said...

Looked a bit rough last night. Quick enough with his decision making, but often seemed to misread the play. I remember a few ugly turnovers. But he was there when we needed him, and boy did we need him last night.

Speaking of, thoughts on Hauf's hit and the game last night?

Anonymous said...

Hauf's hit was nowhere near being a major. Terrible call, maybe, mabye a two minute minor at best.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Wardley was around last night, Spokane wouldn't have started shit with Bear and Kharia (neither of which seemed like particularly willing or skilled fighters) or kept hitting Kozun so much he started retaliating with his stick. Possibly an unpopular opinion, but I think the tough guys still have a role to play in hockey when the refs aren't protecting both teams equally.

Tyler Smith said...

You want to give a penalty when you see the hit in real time, sure. I'll even hear out an argument that it deserves a double minor (though I wouldn't agree)... But a 5 and a game? Come on... Even in real time Stewart almost gets up faster than Hauf does. Isn't that taken into consideration when making calls? I mean from what I heard from other people last night it does... Just ask Bear (in regards to the Portland game).

On a side note... Certainly not our best game... But when you consider for almost half the game we had 4 defensemen, one of which was a forward (though cu does to Hickman for stepping into that situation... Shows why he deserves the "C") and another of which has been with the team for probably less than 24 hours at the time (considering when he most likely showed up), that's not bad.

The amazing thing is, despite all this, through the end of regulation Seattle had given up 30 shots which was 4 shots less than the average number of shots they gave up last year during regulation... So in all honesty I think (at least for the moment) we should all agree that the problem is not the defense.

We just need to be patient with the offense. It will come, but 8 games in I think we are right on par with what the expectations should have been to start the season.

Anonymous said...

Coach needs to "re-think" who he chooses for shoot-outs.
Barzal is great. Can't wait for Theodore.

Tyler Smith said...

Oh and in regards to the whole Wardley thing... I don't think he deserves 7 games, but that's what history will do to you...

And just go back and read some of my comments regarding the Wardley / Henry situation before the decision was made...

I don't want to say I told you so... But I told you so.

And after he comes back, one of two things is going to happen... Either he is going to play the exact same style which will lead to another big hit (resulting in at least 10 games, if not more) or he will play more conservative to try and avoid another suspension which will negate the whole purpose of keeping Wardley over Henry in the first place.

Anonymous said...

The league has recinded the penalty on Hauf

Kodi said...

Well that makes everything better.....

Though I hate many of the replays in sports today, they either need to review the play that caused the ejection on the spot OR there should be an mandatory review during the next intermission to verify if a penalty actually occurred and if not have the player reinstated for the remainder of the game. This way it doesn't stop the game but it makes the player available to return.

Anonymous said...

Another poorly officiated game. In my opinion officiating has gotten progressively worse since the 2 official rule was initiated. You might have one descent experienced referee, but rarely two.

Anonymous said...

I know we're only nine games into the season, but am I the only one who is kinda disappointed by our Imports so far?

Anonymous said...

Where to start on that one.. It's hard to be disappointed in the imports when Alexander True is currently tied with Kolesar for 3rd best in the goals scored department. The fact is that we're waiting for a lot of players on this team to make any sort of waves, with 7 forwards who have yet to score a goal. I was hoping that Eansor would get off to a hot start after those 4 playoff goals last season, but he has not been much of a factor up to this point.

Anonymous said...

I guess Wotherspoon, Jones, Pouliout, really helped Branden Burke in front of the defensive net because he is terrible now. When did the Winterhawks rehire Richard Kromm again.....

Anonymous said...

I read on nw sports blog, by the commentator for the Birds, that the T-Birds were shorthanded against Spokane, and only 3 defensemen. ??????...I noticed that Holowko was not on the roster for those two games, and this is a guy who can play defense and play very well. Why, if the team was shorthanded, would they not have put him in the game and use him as a spare defenseman, if needed? Also, Osterman was available, wasn't he? I did not hear or see the games, so I don't know, I only saw the game summary. So, in that blog, don't blame the losses on being short handed, lack of defense, and all those other excuses, as they is no excuse, when you have the tools in the toolbox...

Anonymous said...

When has Holowko played defense? And they didn't start the game with three defensemen, they lost guys in the first period, put a strain on the rest of the team, so yes, that played a major role in both games.

Anonymous said...

"I did not hear or see the games..."

But I certainly have lots of opinions about what happened?? Okie dokie.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Allen moves the puck and jumps in the play to try and create offence which is a style Meds Hat plays and is successful doing it.Hopefully he doesn't fall into the coaches style of dump it deep or rim it off the glass. He tries to stretch out the ice which is great to see to try and gain the zone.He could actually end up being one of our best D men because Kharia and Smith are terrible. The best thing for Smith is that Theo comes back and makes him look good,like last year.He might want to take a passing clinic and Kharia a shooting clinic or maybe take up piano with those wrists

Anonymous said...

I get a kick out of watching coach K try and match lines. He has no idea what the hell he is doing. All he does is match the third and fourth lines with other third and fourth lines instead of actually getting your top lines out against them. Other coaches must be howling at him. Be thankful Kozun has played well or they would be winless.

Anonymous said...

This blog is comedy gold this morning.

Anonymous said...

"Khaira and Smith are terrible" What are you smoking and can I have some? Khaira is a rookie so he gets a pass and for being a rookie thrust into a lot of playing time he's doing ok. Smith is probably one of the best all around D men on the team.

Anonymous said...

I would even say that Smith is a top 10-15 defender in the Western conference.

Tyler Smith said...

I would certainly agree that Kharia needs to work on his shot... But come on... Like the other person said, he is a rookie... 16 for goodness sake. Just be patient. He could be a top defenseman soon.

And Smith... While I won't try and make an argument that he is a top defender, I would in no way call him terrible.

Overall our Defense is playing much better than last year.... They are clogging up the middle a lot more.

So far through 9 games they have given up an average of 28.7 shots per game (5.7 shots less than the average they gave up last season).

And if you take out last night they have only given up an average of 27 shots per game (7.4 shots less than average from last season).

So considering how "depleted" our defense is, I would say that is pretty good.

We just need to start putting more shots towards to goal.

I think the one play which could sum up the season so far was two night ago against Spokane when (I believe) Barzal came in on a 2 on 1 with Hickman who had an open net to shoot at, but instead decided to try crossing it immediately back to Barzal who wasn't expecting it.

Once the team decides to take that shot and not try and pass it back I believe the goals will start coming.

Anonymous said...

The team is struggling for offense right now but as Theo works his way back to health the flow and the goals will start to come. This period of playing without him is a good thing for the development of the younger players. If they can persevere through this time they will flourish once a creator like Theo rejoins the mix. A couple of his rushes up the ice and everyone will stop gripping their sticks so tight and just relax. The goals will come.

Anonymous said...

We have a mind reader here: http://thehockeywriters.com/brutal-hit-sidelines-jets-prospect/

Anonymous said...

Instead of making comments here, why don't you comment on the hockey writers website so that they know how you feel.

Anonymous said...

Maybe i'll jump at you with both fists to your head,with intent and then laugh as i walk away!,.... asshole.. Wardley is a jerk with no control,...intent was obvious... You are blind, and also a jerk if you cannot see this.

Anonymous said...

You would love nothing more than to have Wardley on your team right now . If he was wearing a Hawks jersey and did that I'm sure yoiu wouldn't be trolling.DICKHEAD!!

Anonymous said...

You could tell a Portland fan the sky is blue and they'd argue that it's pink with purple polka dots and in the process convince themselves they are right.

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