Monday, October 27, 2008

The Hunt for Red October

Last winter, there was a fight in a game between North Dakota and Denver where North Dakota's Kyle Radke got Denver's Brandon Vossberg on the ice and was raining blows on him, which had George Gwozdecky questioning if referee Marco Hunt did enough to protect his player.

The Denver Post's Mike Chambers ended his blog post discussing the incident with this line:
"Perhaps Hunt would have broken it up if a second referee was handling the penalty notebook."
Let's go to the video!


This is an incredibly dangerous situation where Minnesota's White obviously doesn't want to fight and get a suspension, while Grotting has no such qualms. Grotting gets at least four great swings at White while he's down on the ground before Hunt even thinks about intervening. White was lucky his helmet stayed on, and that Grotting didn't solidly connect on any of his punches, because there is a ton of potential for a very serious injury there.

I've been willing to give the WCHA officials my patience with respect to the stricter rules enforcement. In the games I've watched this year, there have been some bad calls, and I'm always leery of giving this group more discretion, but ultimately, it was a change that desperately needed to happen and should have long-term benefits. But first and foremost, their job should be to protect the players, and it's scary to watch when that doesn't happen.


Anonymous said...

I Believe that the player (White) did not want to fight, and that is the major problem. If this kid wants to play pro hockey he better learn how to protect himself & stand up for his teammates. Society has created a bunch of softees for men.
Hockey is last bastion where you still stand up for whats right and that sometime means fighting. The world would be a better place if boys would be allowed to be boys and put other boys in their place when they step out of line.

Anonymous said...

i completely agree, he was just standing there, with his little notebook in his hand watching, do your job marco hunt. That could of been the worst officating i've seen in quite a while

Anonymous said...

As several posters on that article pointed out, Gwoz's whining would have been more convincing if he'd shown the same concern for fairness after one of his "players" continued punching Ben Gordon after he was on the ice and not fighting back.

That said, this referee deserves to be punished for failing to do his job and endangering a player. Last season an official got suspended for pushing a player in Duluth. I expect Shep and McCleod will do nothing, much like their referee, as usual. I'm still glad this has gotten some attention.

Anonymous said...

well if white wants to continue to put his arm around someones neck like he's choking him, then he should been prepared for a fight. if you watch the video, you will see that white was holding grotting back by the neck, Grotting's helmet even comes off as hes trying to wrestle him off. i don't blame Grotting for his actions. White should've been a man and tried stopping Grotting from going into the pile from in front and not from behind and cetainly shouldn't have held him back by the neck.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree with the first comment, that a player needs to be tough enough to take care of himself, the role of an "enforcer" is meant to help out the wimpier guys. But of course, the stringent anti-fighting rules within college hockey don't support the enforcer concept. So, when bullies like Grotting "need" to fight another player, regardless of whether they want to fight back, the refs need to do their job and manage the scuffles accordingly.

Strange how the refs seemed to enjoy over-calling the rest of that game, but wimped-out on the opportunity to regulate the fight.

Anonymous said...

It's rich that you're whining about White coming in from behind on Grotting. Grotting had already done to a another Gopher player exactly what White then did to him. I guess this is Eaves-brand paint-thinner logic.

Next weekend ought to be thrilling for the fight aficionados, Green goons versus Red goons.

I don't enjoy fights much because I'm a Hockey fan not a boxing on skates fan. I pay my money to watch skating, passing, and shooting.

I fear for our society if you actually believe that Hockey can act as a counterweight to Oprah and her ilk. I love Hockey but it isn't going fix our broken society. Besides, I thought the NHL used enforcers. Which is just my goon against your goon, not every man standing up for himself.

Anonymous said...

In college hockey, most guys are smart enough to know that it doesn't do any good to drop the gloves and start fighting. Why get a DQ and lose the next game over something that is usually pretty minor? It just doesn't make any sense. Many of these players (even the ones known for fighting in junior hockey) recognize the penalty for doing it on the college level and avoid it. Especially when their team is easily winning a game in the final five or ten minutes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment about red goons vs. green goons considering UND is averaging 15.5 penalty minutes per game (4th lowest in WCHA). Hardly what I would consider goon-like. Compare that to Wisconsin with 25.83 penalty minutes/game (most in WCHA) or Minnesota with 21 penalty minutes/game (3rd most in WCHA).

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, the Referee was a huge idiot in not stopping the fight. White has no interest, and I certainly am not going to blame him. Grotting had to know that White didn't want to fight, yet he still rained blows on him. Grotting and the referee should get suspended.

Anonymous said...

Basically White chose to not drop his gloves and take a whipping rather than miss a game. The smarter decision but you had better be ready to get your ass kicked. White is coming straight to D1 from a high school background and not Juniors. Probably would not have turtled if he had engaged in a few fights in Juniors where you quickly learn to protect yourself.

With respect to the ref jumping in, as a ref you learn with experience particularly as you work your way up the ladder not to jump in right away or else you will end up punched, kicked, slashed with a skate, etc. Let them go at it for a bit, expend some energy then jump in. I guess I don't see how you can really blame the ref if one guy wants to fight and the other guy turtle.

Anonymous said...

Why is it everytime there is a fight Minnesota is involved?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to how much of a problem this is in other D1 leagues. How come it's almost always involving a WCHA ref? I mean, Hunt here, Adam with the Bina tragedy... countless other examples... Who was officiating in the tragedy involving Mitch Vig and Travis Roy?

time and time again, WCHA officials are involved in potentially dangerous situations. Nothing is done and time and again McLeod and Shepherd state that the officials are the best as the league can offer. This tells me that the problem isn't necessarily Hunt or Adam. They are only as good as they see the game and are expected to be through accountability. If they're not held to high expectations, they won't be pushed to improve. The problem with the WCHA is the top. McLeod and Shepherd are the problem.

RR said...

Travis Roy's accident had nothing to do with Mitch Vig or WCHA refs. Roy stumbled and went head first into the boards. He wasn't cheap shotted or even hit by Vig.

That game happened in Boston and I'm pretty sure they were not WCHA refs calling the game. What happened to Roy could not have been prevented by any ref anywhere. By suggesting Mitch Vig and WCHA refs are responsible for Travis Roy's injury is an ugly smear.

Hunt should have made more of an effort to intervene sooner than he did. He screwed up. Drop the notebook and do your job.

Given the fact that the game was 5-2 when the altercation took place what would be White's motivation for dropping his gloves? We've all seen this sort of thing over the years when one player tries to goad another into a fight once they've gone beyond the point of no return.

White did the right thing from a team standpoint. He needs to be playing, not sitting out a suspension. Grotting on the other hand hurt himself and his team.

I prefer the days when fighting was just a five minute major and nobody wore masks. Back then a guy like Billy Butters or Paul Holmgren would have cleaned this guys clock and five minutes later been back in the game.

Old time hockey, coach. Much better than the no-check, European weenie game the NCAA has imposed.

Anonymous said...

To the fan of the green goons, in WCHA play your team had 10 penalties on Friday and 13 penalties on Saturday when they played MSU-M. So your average is 23 minutes in the WCHA. It's hardly fair to compare the WCHA refs to Hockey East refs.

Anonymous said...

Listen I am no longer a scout, but I still work for some of the scouting agencies time to tim and I am going to be hoenst wiht you this is appalling. Generally a player will understand that when another player doesn't want to fihgt and if he is on the ground and he has already been hit a couple of times on the head its time to let up. Its part of teh gaem to understand those unwritten rules, but when I see this I am so dismayed at Wisconsin and the fact taht the ref should have done more to protect the player. I know the ref is not as big nor strong and he doesn't want to get hurt. However, this truly is appalling. I hope White is ok.