Here's Tom (douchebag, asshole, retard) Kostopoulos:
"I was just trying to get in on the forecheck and get the puck," he said. "I did not anticipate him turning. I hope he is all right. I know in my head I was not trying to hurt him."
Which sounds perfectly reasonable, until, you know, we watch the video (excuse the ridiculous music) and see that he had Van Ryn's numbers the whole time. And, once you'd planted your forearm across "26, Van Ryn" was it anticipation or forechecking when you drove his face into the boards? Do NHL players not know these things are recorded?
And here's Ron Wilson:
“I don’t understand those kinds of hits,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen our Ryan Hollweg do it.
"We have to find a way to get these hits from behind and head shots out of the game. You can’t say a player can’t turn. It’s his responsibility to go back and get the puck and it’s the guy who makes the hit to have the responsibility to make sure the [opponent] isn’t vulnerable.”
See Tom, we like to call that little thing "class". Wilson doesn't mince words, nor does he fly off the handle. He recognizes that this isn't the only incident of this sort of thing occurring and admits that his own players are often in the wrong. But he makes his point loud and clear.
It's Van Ryn's job to get that puck off the boards, if he shies up or braces for impact the Canadiens get possession for no reason. He's making the only play that makes sense from his position on the ice, and the forechecker has to know that, and respect it.
I'm not advocating we take hitting out of the game, but there are ways of forechecking that don't involve ramming full speed into somebody. I was watching the Sharks/Yotes game tonight and Mike Grier did exactly what I'm talking about, skated in hard but let up and just pinned his man when his back was turned.
Players like Hollweg, Downie, and I guess now you Tom, are often apologized for in that they are already "borderline NHLers" who have to play as hard as they can just to stay up in the game. That kind of thinking is ridiculous, if either Hollweg or Downie had the restraint and control to make the smart play instead of running a man they might never need fear losing their jobs. Reckless players are simply that, reckless, and that kind of contact in a professional game is pointless.
Now Tom, you have a reputation for being a pretty clean guy, so I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt on this one. There's a lot of stuff happening very fast, mistakes happen, and this is a contact sport, no way around it. I don't believe you ever actually intended to hurt Mike.
But man up, dude. Take responsibility for the consequences of your actions, like an adult. Don't blame the guy you just put into the hospital. Van Ryn likely could have saved himself from the worst of that impact, but he was trying to make a play. It was your forearm across his back that shoved his face into the glass, and for what? You might play clean most nights, but unfortunately you'll never have class like our good man Ron.
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