*Co-Written with Ben Kerr, Admin*
Who does not like a good commentary session by Jeremy Roenick? I mean this guy is a quote machine but today he dropped one of the better bombshells in a while. The quote concerned the James Neal knee on Brad Marchand and the subsequent five game suspension.
Roenick appeared on the NHL live where he has a regular spot talking about all things hockey. At one point he was asked if what James Neal did in kneeing Marchand was crossing the line. I think that most hockey fans, players, coaches and commentators can see that the action by Neal was dirty and is not something we need or want in hockey. So what would Roenick say?
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He pretty much admitted that he would have done the same thing! He basically said that Marchand got what he deserved!!!
I am not sure if this is okay, cool, funny, ironic, or sad. I am just puzzled by that sentence. Why would Roenick admit that he would literally try to knee another hockey player in the head for no reason? I am not even sure what would be the point of this action, but controlled emotions is something that has to be part of this game.
Yeah, hockey is a game where fighting is a mere five-minute penalty and there are some who have even encouraged the on-ice violence, but Neal’s actions were not acceptable. Kneeing someone with the hard shin pads that players have today is a serious action, and should fit under the definition of intent to injure. That is not to be promoted, glorified, or even talked about as it might of been okay.
I think Roenick, should think about his words and while honesty is great, this is national broadcast and those words could have a very negative impact on hockey world.
You see, it shouldn’t matter if its James Neal, first time offender, 40 goal scorer and possible member of Team Canada’s Olympic team, and the victim is Brad Marchand who has a reputation as a pest and agitator. This action is unacceptable in every way shape and form. The teams playing, they don’t matter, the players involved and their reputations, irrelevant. Even the fact that Marchand was lucky in that he wasn’t injured on the play shouldn’t matter to the discussion. No player should intentionally knee another in the head. NONE! It is not part of this game.
That said, we are not only disappointed in Roenick’s comments, but also the fact that the NHL Disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan sees this as a mere five-game suspension. If it was up to us, we’d throw the book at Neal. Clear, deliberate attempts to injure need to be dealt with harshly, first time offender or not; and the reputation of the offender and the victim should not matter.
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