The solution that solved absolutely nothing. In the end, the smoke clears and the only certain thing is indeed uncertainty. The debate will rage on for long afterwards about whether or not Brendan Shanahan made the right call by levying a 5 game suspension to Chicago's Duncan Keith for his headshot on Daniel Sedin. Sedin has been diagnosed with a concussion, and that is the biggest concern for the Canucks and their fans right now. As we've all learned over the years through following the numerous incidents in sports (and for some through their own personal experiences), there's nothing certain about concussions. Each case is as unique as the person it's happened to. So there's no way to tell just how serious it is yet, how soon Daniel will recover, and how this will impact the Canucks moving forward. And it was in the aftermath decision that I realized something, something that quite honestly made me angrier than the actual decision itself. After the incident, there were many who were quick to defend Keith for being a 'first-time offender'. Despite the fact there was a handful of similar incidents, his record was clean. And because of this, despite video showing this type of hit is far from alien to his repetoire, he was held up by many across the league as 'not one of those type of players'. That's fine, I understand the reasoning, even with the evidence. So why is it then, with not only a similarly clean record, and no video skeletons in his closet, that few if any were willing to accord Daniel Sedin the same leeway?
Yesterday, our buddy Cam Charron posted a great article over at Canucks Army dealing with the Xenophobic nonsense that still exists in hockey's culture. And while we here have been staunch defenders of the Sedins, as well as the other Europeans that have been in our lineup over the years; the good, the bad and the Krutov, we unfortunately (well some of us, myself included) didn't step up and defend Daniel against a barrage that didn't just come from Chicago and other unfriendly territories, it came from within.
Why is it that there were so many of us that just conceded Daniel should have been penalized, fined or even suspended for his hit on Duncan Keith? Even when we started to break the hit down, some still felt that Daniel's hit wasn't clean. For some non-Canuck fans, the hit was given as a justification for Keith's despicable response. But why did we just assume, that a player who rarely, if ever, hits would try to lay a shoulder into an opponent's head? Even with all the battles the Canucks and Hawks have had over the years, Daniel Sedin is not that player. Will never be that player. He's not an agitator. He's not even a turtler. He's an offensively skilled player who doesn't fight and plays the game clean. There are tons of them in the league. Yet he was guilty from the moment TSN showed the hit, in many eyes.
Brendan Shanahan's assessment of the hit? That it was clean, not overly late, and not targeting the head. And it was Vancitydan that really triggered my realization of this when he stated that the hit was a textbook copy of the ones shown in the NHL's video on headshots, defining when a headshot actually isn't a headshot. The contact with the head was coincidental, not the primary target and more due to Keith's positioning than anything else. So my question is this: Is the condemnation of Daniel on this hit another instance of the kind of prejudice shown to European players? Would Mason Raymond have been considered guilty if it were he and not Daniel making that hit? Both play the game the same way. Perhaps there's more truth to Henrik's post game comments than we realized?
In the end, not much of this matters, sadly. Despite being the victim, thanks to media more interested in controversy generated website hits and a desire to preach to their respective flocks, Daniel has been tarred to an extent with the same brush reserved for Keith. Sport is even more vicious than the real world at times, the desire to blame the victim comes so much easier on the ice, field or court. So why bring this up? I guess more than anything, the fact that I doubted the character of one of the classiest individuals in the NHL, on the ice and off isn't sitting well with me, as it shouldn't with you. There's no need to victimize him a second time.
And now, they move forward. The deed is done, as is punishment to Keith as it were. Some of you are satisfied. If you saw the reaction post comment section yesterday, you know I'm not. This hasn't and will not change. My only thought now is that I truly hope this is the last we see of the Chicago Blackhawks until next season. This rivalry is changed now. And the excitement, even joy that it brought in seeing two good hockey teams wage war on the ice is gone. Duncan Keith was able to take out our best player, and got a relatively light punishment for it, and make no bones about it: the severity of this sentence lessens with each day Daniel is out of the lineup. If we're lucky, Daniel makes a recovery by the time a well-rested Keith returns to the Hawks lineup. I truly hope the next time I have to reference this incident, it's in a post celebrating Daniel's recovery.
And so they move forward, and try and focus in an important divisional contest tonight in Denver. They committed absolute larceny last time they were in the Mile High City as Roberto Luongo turned in one of his best performances of the season, giving the Canucks a chance to get a late tying goal from Kevin Bieksa before winning it in the shootout. The Avalanche are battling for what at one point seemed an improbable thing: a playoff spot. They're hungry for this after their recent stumbles, and will likely look to throw everything they have at a Canucks team playing their 4th game in 6 nights. They'll be tired mentally and physically after a draining week in more ways than one. If they can steal another two points in Denver, it'll be a small miracle. Fortunately they do have a solid effort in Dallas Thursday night to build off, a game that saw a number of Canucks step with their best efforts in a while. For a long time now, the Canucks seemed to be sleepwalking through the season, leading some to think they were waiting for the playoffs to start before kicking their A game into gear. Necessity seems to have bumped that up a few weeks.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
One of Metal Blade Records' more unsung acts from the 80's, this Atlanta based band is still active, cranking out their chugging biker-style thrash similar to bands like Canada's Razor. A great song that was featured on the soundtrack of the awesome Keanu Reeves flick Rivers Edge soundtrack along with other Metal Blade bands like Slayer and Fates Warning.