Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Raw Outrage at the Roys

Over the weekend, Jonathan Roy, a hack of goalie compared to his Father, St. Patrick Roy, was seen visibly pummeling his opponent, Bobby Nadeau from the Chicoutimi Sagueens as the Quebec Remparts were involved in a line brawl against the Sags.

If you haven't seen the video, I suppose I should start with that.

I hope this works. Either way, look it up on YouTube if it doesn't.

Now both Jonathan and his father were suspended - 7 games for Junior and 5 for Senior. The next night, in the OHL, Steven Stamkos (who is projected to go #1 overall in this year's NHL Entry Draft) delivered a cross check to an opponent that started a line brawl.

Only one player was suspended. Only one. I keep reading about the Roy's need to be given a lifetime ban, and how Jonathan is a hack. Now I agree that Jonathan is not the best goalie in the world - he played two years in Wilcox, Saskatchewan at Notre Dame, but I don't believe that this needs to be looked at in the courts, nor do I believe that he needs to be banned for life.

Others are commenting on the fact that the $400 fines handed out are laughable, considering the amount of money that Roy Sr. has. Umm... Roy is one of the only former NHL stars coaching in the CHL. Not every CHL coach is rolling in money. Fines go with the way the coaches and players are paid - and in the CHL the pay is minimal for both coaches and players.

The larger question, I suppose is why everyone is so up in arms over the behaviour of Patrick Roy's son - when no one cares about what Stamkos - a future STAR did. People are claiming that the Roy's got the star treatment with their suspensions. Yet Stamkos wasn't suspended.

Where is the double standard? Is the double standard in the suspensions handed out? Or is it in the media attention shown?

Jonathan's behaviour only received media attention because he is St. Patrick's son. He is barely a QMJHL player. He's almost third string. Nepotism has gotten him to the CHL - and there are those who say it will get him to the NHL. I personally beg to differ on that point. However there are future NHL stars like Stamkos who get away with vicious cross checks and other behaviour all the time, because they are able to live out their Major Junior careers in relative obscurity.

Jonathan Roy is now receiving some the attention garnered by Sidney Crosby in his last year as a junior. In a year when there WAS no NHL, everything Crosby did was scrutinized by the media. His every move questioned and evaluated.

Jonathan Roy is no Sidney Crosby. He fought, he flipped the crowd the bird. He did not "viciously attack" someone. Nadeau was on the blue line, calling him on. When it appeared that the officials had Roy under control, Nadeau retreated to his crease - and yes, Jonathan took off after him.

Were Jonathan's actions wrong? Of course they were. He probably should have stopped pummelling Nadeau when he turtled. Roy, however is still a kid. He made a mistake. Should Stamkos have crossed checked his opponent in the back? Of course not.

However, if we are going to dissect the line brawl on Saturday and call for life time bans, criminal charges and jail time, then we as a society have responsibility to avoid hypocrisy of the masses, and dissect Sunday's line brawl as well, and call for life time bans, criminal charges and jail time.

I've heard the argument that it is the high profile cases with big names that teach others that behaviour is wrong. Paris Hilton going to jail for DUI apparently taught every Tom, Dick and Harry - or Suzy, Sally and Jane that drinking and driving was wrong. Apparently it sent a message.

DUI numbers haven't dropped since then. I highly doubt that severely punishing the Roy's will send a message that transcends the lines of various leagues. Fighting is a part of hockey, and, right or wrong, it is up to the individual leagues to police themselves. Not for the public.

As for Bobby Nadeau? He should be ashamed of himself for running his mouth and then turtling. Just as Roy should be ashamed of himself for pummelling an opponent who wanted nothing to do with the fight and for flipping the bird to the crowd.

As for the media and the public - they should be ashamed of themselves for the rampant hypocrisy that has been demonstrated in this case, and lay off Roy Jr. He is, after all, just a kid, and its not like he chose his parents.

The leagues involved in both the Roy incident and the Stamkos incident should also be ashamed of themselves. The QMJHL should be ashamed of themselves for giving in to public pressure. The OHL should be ashamed of themselves for NOT handing out a suspension because of the lack of public pressure. The prosecutors in Quebec should also be ashamed of themselves for looking into charges in one of many brawls that occur in the QMJHL throughout the season.

Last, but certainly not least, Stamkos should be ashamed of himself for losing his temper and even more, for getting away with it. I can't blame Stamkos for not being punished, but surely even he knows that he deserves a suspension, in fact, if someone had delivered the same blow to him, I truly believe his team would have been clamoring for a suspension.

So while there is raw outrage at the Roy's - my outrage is directed at the public that ignores the facts, at leagues that demonstrate hypocrisy when media attention is on them, and at hockey players who apparently can't control themselves, whether they are stars or the sons of former hockey greats.


Dare said...

In all of the stuff that I've read/heard/seen, no one else has asserted that Nadeau was egging Roy on. I've heard the reverse (that Roy was trying to trying to get an uninterested Nadeau to fight while he was being restrained by the refs), but not that.

From watching that Stamkos clip, I would argue that it wasn't Stamkos' crosscheck that started that fight. The check to the head in the corner started things off; the whistle had been blown and the referees are attempting to restrain players before Stamkos hits that guy. I can't find any better angles on YouTube that actually show what was going on between Stamkos and the other player before the cross check. I'm not saying it excuses the behaviour, but I would argue that even without that evidence (and the fact that the referees didn't even give Stamkos a penalty) that it's far less of a despicable act than what Roy did. Should Stamkos have CCed the guy? Probably not. Was it more a part of the "play" than Roy's? I'd say so.

J.Roy's behaviour would have garnered him media attention if his name was John Smith - because it was absolutely ridiculous. He evaded a referee (who had already warned him not to fight), raced down the ice, ripped the helmet off Nadeau and proceeded to pummel the crap out of him while Nadeau tried to curl up in the fetal position. At the point where the ref tackles a player trying to come to Nadeau's defence, J.Roy stops, thinks about things for a moment or two, and proceeds to lay down another vicious punch before telling the crowd how he really feels. While yes, I am anti-fighting regardless, fighting a disinterested/downed opponent is particularly dispicable. How isn't it assault? If I'm outside a bar, someone goads me into fighting, I say ok, and go at, fine - it's a mutually agreed upon act of idiocy. If someone comes and starts wailing on me while I try to run away? Yeah, that's assault.

The fact that J.Roy's daddy is P.Roy? Yeah, it's garnered the incident additional media attention. But I'm pretty sure the video of that brawl would have been running across the lazywebs even if he wasn't son of Saint Patrick. It is something crazy, and that's what people like to watch - crazy crap.

I don't think J.Roy should receive a lifetime ban, but if I were Nadeau, I would certainly consider assault charges. I mean, herein lies the problem of having something prohibited by the official rules of the game (ie. fighting), yet unofficially accepted. What then happens when people take those unofficial rules to the next level and absolutely destroy an unwilling opponent/combattant? At what point do things become so outside even the realm of "normal" for hockey that you have to take "abnormal" actions?

Objectionable Conduct said...

Check out - those who were at the game saw Nadeau on the blueline.

The play had stopped by the time Stamkos crosschecked the guy - the whistle had been blown and fights were starting. The cross check WAS NOT a hockey play.

It's not assault if it occurs in the sporting arena. Sports need to police sports. Not the police. It was the responsibility of the officials to control the game. They failed to do so. In fact, they failed to keep Rioux in the penalty box - he left the box to fight Roy. The blame does not lie on the kids. It lies on the adults who failed to control their behaviour.

Why isn't video of the Stamkos video flying around the net? Its because he's not a big hockey name. Why is there only one video of this brawl and so many available of Roy's fight? I'm sorry, but your logic fails to make ANY sense to me. Two brawls, two nights, two players. One with a hockey name and a hockey dad, the other, a prospect with high hopes.

Who should garner more attention? I would argue that Stamkos, as a projected #1 should get more attention then a third string goalie.

Nadeau was calling Roy on. There was a reason he was clearly seen yelling things down the ice. He wasn't yelling at his father on the bench.

If this is assault then Stamkos attack - also outside the rules, but accepted - was assault with a weapon and it hypocrisy to suggest that one deserves a ban, or jail time without giving the same to the other.

Dare said...

Okay, I read all the comments on the fight itself over at hockeyfights, and I can't find anything that says Nadeau was egging Roy on. In fact, the commentators appear to continually be saying that Nadeau is remaining in his net while Roy is having his freak out.

The CC is not a hockey play - but neither is fighting an unwilling opponent. Again, based solely on the one video (there's nothing at hockeyfights that I can find), I'll assert that it's a CC, hard enough to knock a guy down (though really, it's not that hard to knock someone down with a CC in the back; gravity's on your side. I've had players smaller than me get me down this way in front of the net). I'd also contend that the (lack of) video evidence is the reason he wasn't suspended - in addition to who he is. There isn't enough footage to establish context, and just like Pronger getting eight games, or any of the other so-called fair suspensions we've seen in the NHL, star power = favourable "justice". Is it wrong? Sure. Is there precedent that speaks to the outcome? Yeah, I'd say so.

I think it's hugely problematic to make a blanket statement like "it's not assault if it occurs in the sporting arena". So anything goes as long as I'm in some realm of sport? If someone ever baseball swung me, or kicked/punched me repeatedly while I was down on the ice, I would feel completely in my rights to press charges. When I sign up for hockey, I am agreeing to certain risks. There are, however, things that don't fall within the realm of "reasonable risk" (or, on the other side reasonable expectations of behaviour) and there needs to be some kind of check/balance in place for those situations. Seriously, if I'm, say, running a marathon, and I jump the person ahead of me so that I can leave her incapacitated and take first, I don't see how I can call it anything other than assault - within the realm of sport or not.

There are three officials on the ice. At any given time, there are twelve players on the ice, and typically another 30 on the benches. When a line fight occurs, there is only so much that three officials can do. Further to the point, it is the responsibility of the referee to also ensure their own safety; this is something that is raised and considered vitally important at any refereeing clinic. To say that no blame lies with the kids is hugely problematic; what, are they completely unable to contol themselves? We're talking about 17+ year old boys, not two year olds. Mommy and daddy and the referee shouldn't have to physically restrain them or inform them that it's probably not okay to, say, pummel an opponent with no interest in fighting. If I'm a high school student and I'm frustrated with a test, and because of this, I stab that kid who looks like he's enjoying the test through the hand with my pencil, is it my fault? Or am I absolved because it's the teacher's responsibility to ensure that I behave in an appropriate manner?

As for Stamkos not being a big hockey name - I would argue that for a junior hockey player, sure he is. We hear about him rather frequently, particularly as it relates to the likelihood of him being the number one overall selection. How frequently do we hear about junior hockey, period, in the MSM? At the end of the playoffs, there will probably be something on page eight about who won each league, and the Memorial Cup will probably receive some page four attention. It's a matter of scale. And, given normal circumstances, the projected #1 is going to receive more attention than a third string goalie - but said goalie just made a name for himself by 1) engaging in a goalie fight, which we don't see very frequently; and 2) doing so in a pretty absurd (and thus "marketable" fashion).

Meg said...

I would argue that there isn't footage of the Stamkos crosscheck flying around because while unacceptable it's not particularly uncommon. Who watches hockey and hasn't seen countless crosschecks?

For one goalie to pummel another goalie who isn't fighting back--isn't even attempting to fight back--in the manner than Roy did? Now that's uncommon. And it's worse than unacceptable.

Do people care more because it's Patrick Roy's son? Sure. Has Patrick Roy's behavior during his time as a coach in the CHL exacerbated things? I would bet it has. But that doesn't change the fact that Jonathan Roy's actions in that incident are both more unusual and, in my opinion, more shameful than Stamkos's crosscheck by some degree.

I really don't think these two incidents are particularly comparable.

Objectionable Conduct said...

Without going into detail. Roy was standing on the blueline yelling at someone. Do you really think he was yelling at his father? Doubtful. Someone was saying something, and being privy to many of the things hockey players have said to each other on the ice I can tell you, none of it was pretty.

I don't think Roy did the right thing. In fact, I agree that what he did was wrong. I agree he deserves to be suspended.

I simply find it the height of hypocrisy to even THINK of charging Roy without thinking about charging Stamkos.

Dare said...

Why does the fact that J.Roy was standing on the blue line and yelling require that Nadeau was egging him on? It's not that hard to stand on the blue line and yell unsavoury things to someone who is not responding at all. In fact, for some, the fact that the subject of their ire is not responding is reason enough to get even angrier and speak to that fact as well.

Shan said...

I think what Stamkos did was bad, but not nearly as bad as Jonathan Roy's actions. It's as simple as that.

Shan said...

Cross-checking and dirty plays happen and should be addressed by the league. Jonathan Roy didn't just make a dirty play, he relentlessly assaulted someone and took pleasure from that, then made rude gestures at the fans. It was ego-driven, it was horrible. He should've received a longer suspension.

Objectionable Conduct said...

The fact remains that Stamkos wasn't suspended. The glaring media attention has a lot to do with it.

Margee said...
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