Phoenix Coyotes lose on Mike Smith Butt Goal

the butt goal

Phoenix Coyotes‘ goalie Mike Smith slides into the net with the puck stuck in his pants giving the game-winning goal to the Buffalo Sabres.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 24, 2013

First there was the Butt Fumble, then there was the Butt Tag, now there is the Butt Goal courtesy of Phoenix Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith, who slid into his own net with the puck stuck in his pants.  In Smith’s defense, he had no idea that the puck had fallen into the back of his pants.

It all starts with Smith making a save and giving up a rebound.  He then poke checks the puck at the same time as a Sabres’ forward, which launches the puck up into the air.  The puck ends up landing in the back of Smith’s pants without him knowing, and as every goaltender is taught, Smith scrambles back to his net and puts himself in a position to keep the puck out.  However, he ends up putting the puck in his own net, and giving the Buffalo Sabres the game-winning goal in overtime.  Here it is, the Butt Goal.

Now we’d like your opinion on which is worse, the Butt Fumble, Butt Tag or Butt Goal.  Here are the Butt Fumble and Butt Tag videos followed by a poll.  Let us know which is worse by voting.

Thornton appeals 15-game suspension, is he right or wrong?

Boston Bruins' forward his appealing his 15-game suspension. Photo courtesy of ESPN.com.

Boston Bruins’ forward his appealing his 15-game suspension. Photo courtesy of ESPN.com.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 15, 2013

Brendan Shanahan and the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety weighed in and suspended the Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton for 15-games for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins’ defenseman Brooks Orpik on Saturday, Dec. 7.

We originally thought that Thornton would get around 10 games for his slew foot, sucker punch combination. But the NHL feels that Thornton deserves 15-games, and here is the video in which Shanahan explains the League’s reasoning.

As expected there are people who think 15-games is too harsh, mainly those among the Bruins’ faithful like former NHLer Cam Neely, as noted by prohockeytalk.com. But there are also those who think the NHL was not strong enough. Bleacher Report has a good piece arguing this angle.

To throw a wrench in the process, Thornton appealed his suspension on Monday, Dec. 17, according to ESPN.com. The next step in the process is a hearing with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. But Thornton can appeal to an independent arbitrator if Bettman upholds the suspensions, and there are still six or more games remaining on Thornton’s suspension.

We were shocked to read about Thornton’s appeal because we believe he got off lightly with just 15 games. Yes, we know that we wrote that we expected him to get around 10 games – mainly because he has no prior disciplinary history – but let’s be real. Thornton attacked another player and punched him when he was defenseless. The result was a major injury – memory loss and concussion syndromes – that we hope Orpik can come back from. If this happened in Canada then you could bet your maple syrup that there would be a court case much like the Marty McSorley slash on Donald Brashear and Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty.

Is Thornton a dirty player? No. But he crossed the line and he was suspended for only 15 games. He should be thankful, he should shut up and he should serve his suspension, not appeal it.

 

NHL suspends Neal for 5 games, how many will Thornton get?

By Brad Constant, Dec. 10, 2013

People can go round and round about whether they think James Neal or Shawn Thornton was the dirtier player in Boston last Saturday night, Dec. 7. In fact, there is such a debate on Twitter that can be read on BleacherReport.com. But when it comes down to it, both players showed the uglier side of hockey and deserve to be suspended.

All of this got started when Pittsburgh Penguins’ defenseman Bruce Orpik hit Boston Bruins’ forward Loui Eriksson. At first it looked like another hard hit that happened to leave Eriksson woozy and slow to get up. But the replays show that Orpik did catch Eriksson on the chin, although it doesn’t look intentional, in our opinion. Either way, there is concern for Eriksson since he has already missed five games this season with a concussion after being the victim of another dirty hit. Watch the video below and see the hit that sparked everything.

Now enter our main villains, starting with the Thornton of the Bruins. As expected, the Boston tough guy went after Orpik during their first shift on the ice together. Thornton tried to like heck to get Orpik to fight but the Penguins’ defender wouldn’t drop the gloves and Thornton ended up getting a minor penalty.

However, things would escalate again later in the first period when our other villain, and Penguins’ forward, Neal kneed Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head as the Bruin forward was on the ice. As usual a gathering of players occurred, including Orpik and Thornton. But things got nasty when Thornton slew footed Orpik and punched the Pittsburgh defenseman in the head while he was on the ice. Watch the video below of both incidents.

As you can see, Orpik leaves the ice on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital. Marchand got up and escaped major injury.

The National Hockey League has already comeback and issued Neal a five-game suspension. We say well done Brandon Shanahan and the NHL Department of Player Safety.

But that leaves us wondering what type of suspension Thornton will get. He is currently suspended indefinitely as he awaits an in-person hearing schedule for Friday, Dec. 13. We believe that a suspension of at least 10 games can be expected, and here is why.

Although, Thornton has no previous disciplinary history with the NHL, the League takes whether or not the victim of any infraction was injured. So while people may think that the headaches and neck stiffness that Orpik is experiencing are not that severe, the memory loss that has occurred is. In fact, Orpik cannot remember anything from after Saturday night’s national anthem. Memory loss is a brain injury, and brain injuries are as severe as injuries get.

So as we wait the NHL’s ruling, we leave with a video from the Department of Player Safety telling us why Neal received a five-game suspension. We also ask that you let us know who you think is the dirtier player by answering our poll below (there is a bet riding on this with the winner getting a free lunch so your participation is very important).

The dirtiest NHL hits of the season, courtesy of Bleacher Report

Here is a good, clean hip check courtesy of the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes. Photo by Norm Hall/NHL via Getty Images.

Here is a good, clean hip check courtesy of the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes. Photo by Norm Hall/NHL via Getty Images.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 6, 2013

On occasion we like to show some love to our fellow hockey writers and share some of their work with you. Our latest example of awesome work comes from bleacherreport.com, one of our favorite sites here at The Hockey Ref. The piece is a list of the dirtiest hits of the 2013-2014 season so far, and it includes videos.

We wanted to share this with you for a few of reasons. First, we agree with the Bleacher Report list. Second, they are awesome sports writers that we love to read. Third, and most importantly, the more people that jump on the bandwagon to eliminate dirty hits from the game of hockey the better.

The National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association are working to eliminate dirty hits. There are stricter penalties and suspension for players that directly target an opponent’s head.

USA Hockey is doing its part at the youth and amateur levels with rule changes giving harsher penalties for contact to the head, boarding and charging. USA Hockey even raised the level in which checking is allowed – kids used to be able to hit when they reached the Pee Wee level, 10-12, but now checking isn’t allowed until the Bantam level, 12-14.

But rule changes, penalties and suspensions are not enough when youth hockey players watch their heroes in the NHL make dirty hits. So maybe we, the fans, can make a difference if we get behind the NHL and show our displeasure for these dirty hits. It could result in a much better game of hockey for everyone involved.

So check out the bleacherreport.com list here and if you agree, show some support. Maybe you can boo the next time you see a dirty hit, even if it’s a guy on your favorite team.

But before you jump over to the Bleacher Report, watch the video below of the top 10 hits of from the season so far courtesy of the NHL, which only shows off hard and clean checks. And if you want, we also added a video below of Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety, explaining what makes a good, clean body check.

 

Why an NHL team in Seattle makes sense

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 3, 2013.

There has been talk of the National Hockey League expanding and adding a new franchise in Seattle. Investor Chris Hanson has been trying to build a new arena that could host both National Basketball Association and NHL teams. But the latest push comes from former NHLer Jeremy Roenick, who wants to get on board if the League forms a new team in Seattle (check out the CBS Sports report here).

Seattle makes sense, and here’s why.

First, Seattle itself has an estimated population of over 610,000 as of the 2010 census. Throw in the more than three million people that make up the surrounding Seattle area and you find a nice market in which a franchise could survive. (Check out Seattle.gov for the facts.)

Second, and most importantly, the fans in the Seattle area are passionate. The Seattle Seahawks have averaged over 68,000 fans during the 2013 season according to ESPN. That only ranks them 19th in the National Football League, but the Seahawks faithful sure do make a lot of noise, so much noise that they’ve been dubbed the 12th man. Want proof? Watch this video.

How about the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer? The team set the record by averaging over 44,000 fans this past season. That’s pretty impressive considering soccer isn’t the biggest of sports here in the U.S. And like the Seahawks 12th man, the Sounders fans can get pretty loud too, and yes, we have a video as proof.

The truth is a Sounders game may be the closest one can come to experiencing an atmosphere at a soccer game like those found in Europe. Check out this video of the Tottenham Hotspurs’ fans celebrating after their team scored a goal and you’ll know what we mean.

So imagine all of the Seattle fans singing and cheering their hearts out, in an arena. We’re talking about a large open area that funnels sound down to the ice surface and has a big roof to keep all that noise in. That would be one loud building.

But more importantly, if an NHL team is formed in Seattle that can compete from the get go then the Seattle fans will flood to every game, which a proven formula to make money. So the financial stability is there to support a team if the team is built properly.

However, the thing that has us, the hockey fans, the most excited is the potential rivalry that would form with the Vancouver Canucks. The two cities are only a few hours apart. Think about it, an American team versus a Canadian team only three hours apart, divided by a border, and both with passionate fan bases. This is something that dreams are made of!

So why, Gary Bettman, is there not a team in Seattle yet? Get behind Hanson and his push for an arena. Once it is built – and it will most likely be a state-of-the-art facility – then all parties involved can enjoy the fruits of a Seattle-based NHL team. But most importantly, the fans in Seattle will finally have the NHL team they deserve.

Check out this site covering everything you’d want to know about the potential NHL team in Seattle.