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Friday, January 20, 2012


Let me say this right off the bat, least I get a whole host of Sud-barians looking to flatten me with the Big Nickel:  By the precedent set by the Ontario Hockey League, the decision to suspend Dougie Hamilton was the correct one.   The decision to suspend him for ten games is a highly debatable one.  You can debate the merits of the hit here , but what I saw was contact from shoulder to head with an elbow follow through.  To me it was inconclusive as to the nature of the contact of the elbow, but that's just me.  I went Zapruder-like through the footage and was able to freeze it at the point of contact (around :25 seconds) and saw shoulder connect to a player who was low to the ground and had his head down.  This is not to assuage blame on Michael MacDonald, but just stating the facts.  We know that the OHL has come down hard on any sort of head contact and 10 games has been the benchmark.  That said, when you stack up Dougie Hamilton's hit versus say  Alex O'Neill's hit on Frank Schumacher, to me there is no comparison.  A hit in the flow of the game, like Hamilton's was, pales in comparison to the vicious blind side hit delivered by O'Neill. O'Neill , it should be noted also received 10 games for his transgression You can see that hit here.  The OHL needs to start weighing intent as a key factor in determining the length of suspension.  

An amusing take was seen on the front page of the popular fan-site as the headline said "Dougie Hamilton gets 10 games for being taller than other players"   What is not so amusing was the now seen as prophetic Marty Williamson, Coach and GM of the Ice Dogs who predicted in an interview in November that Hamilton would get a 10 game suspension due to his size.  Essentially the stance taken by the OHL triggers the demise of the open ice hit, once a feared weapon, now a subject of supplementary discipline.   

The other side of this story is that as of this writing Brody Silk has escaped supplementary discipline for his straight right punch to the face of a defenseless Ryan Strome.  Strome, as was noted in a prior blog, had facial surgery on Wednesday and a conservative estimate has him out for two weeks.  If this holds true then the OHL sends the curious message  that it is acceptable to punch someone in the face, but head checking is a no-no.  Do you see the inconsistency?  If we apply the criteria and rationale for Dougie Hamilton's 10 game suspension to Brody Silk, you can probably justify Mr. Silk getting some time off to see all the sights and sounds that Sudbury has to offer. 

The rationale for the Hamilton hit was a) Check to the Head b) Vulnerable Opponent c) Opponent Injured on the Play.  Hmm, sounds like a blueprint for the Silk hit, if replace the word "check" with "punch".  However, the officials gave Strome a five minute fighting major so a cursory glance at the stats would seem to lead to the conclusion that this was a mutual consent fight and that a punch to the face is part of the game in that regard.  The scrum started off as the typical milling around, but the more players got involved the more heated it became, and the conclusion, was to say the least, unfortunate. I am not sure anyone can try and justify Silk's actions during the scrum.  He was the aggressor as he grabbed Strome from behind, and never once did Strome drop his gloves who a willingness to engage in any sort of fist fight.  Certainly he was engaged with Silk, but not the extent by which the officials penalized him.



It would not have been a stretch to say that a lack of suspension to Silk would have led to further attempted retribution exacted by the Ice Dogs on Saturday night, and if that happens then the OHL would have inadvertently compounded the problem. 

Steve Clark 


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  2. You wouldn't happen to be an Icedogs fan would you? Gimme a break Clark, Strome attempts to rip Silk's helmet off prior to the punch(0:22 seconds). Then it was a case of who can hold off who's right arm the longest and Strome obviously lost that battle and let Silk's arm free. You talk like Strome doesn't have a reputation for initiating such scrums and then skating away from it all and leaving his teammates with the mess. He got what was coming to him.

    On a positive note, I completely agree with your thoughts on the Hamilton suspension.

    Not a Wolves fan, and not a Sudbury resident!

    1. ddawg

      So justice in your world is initiating scrums is punishable by facial fractures? not sure I get that analogy. We see things differently on this one. The one thing I will say is that I would have halved both suspensions (both in the 5 game range)

      I wouldn't say I'm an Ice Dogs fan, I'm their TV broadcaster. Do I root for them? Yes, as the better they play, the further they go, the more it helps me.

      Appreciate the comment.