Sunday, November 09, 2008

Nothing Wrong With Kostopoulos Hit

I finally got around to watching the highlights from last night's debacle against the Maple Leafs. I wasn't too keen on seeing them after the game, the worst one the Canadiens have played in over a year.

Last night, I missed the first ten minutes of the game after arriving home from my daughter's tournament (she was game MVP) and I watched the first half of the game with the sound down and some company in the room. I hadn't seen the Tom Kostopoulos hit on Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn, but I had heard a bit about it, and that he'd been thrown from the game.

Late this afternoon I spoke with a Leafs fan friend that called it the most disgusted thing he's seen in years. He's calling Kostopoulos to get 20 games suspension for it. Unfortunately I couldn't give my opinion at the time.

After finding a You Tube clip of the hit, I had to watch it over and over to figure out what the fuss is about. The hit is perfectly legal. The result, anything but pretty.

Van Ryn unfortunately left himself wide open and vulnerable on the play. A player should always be alert and aware of his surroundings and never let up like he did. Stopping to cradle to puck when he knows he's being pursued is just plain dangerous.

There were several intelligent options for a defenseman to make on the play, and any of them should have included Van Ryn bracing himself to take a hit. It is a players perogative to protect themselves when skating to the boards to play the puck, and Van Ryn acted like there wasn't a soul around him.

As is often the case, the officials penalized the result instead of the act, as though it is Kostopoulos' fault that Van Ryn's a lame brain.

I showed my 13 year old daughter the clip of the hit. They teach boys her age in bantam how to give and receive bodychecks. She played three exhibition games last season against that age group. They weren't allowed to bodycheck against the girls team, but that didn't stop my girl from taunting them with a slam or two of her own.

When she saw what Van Ryn did, she was laughing. She couldn't understand what he was thinking when he stopped to pivot on the puck. Neither can I.

Kostopoulos is pretty much faultless in the whole incident. His hitting motion is completely legal, There is no attempt to isolate Van Ryn's head. What was most unfortunate, is that once a player throws himself into a hit, it's practically impossible to put on the brakes. It's akin to turning back once you've jumped from a plane. Kostopoulos can't exactly pull a shute once his momentum has been propelled in Van Ryan's direction.

I doubt that Kostopoulos will receiving anything more than a game for this. I don't even see a two minute penalty on the play.

While searching for the clip, I found this beauty from two weeks back when Milan Lucic of the Bruins hit Van Ryn, shattering the glass in the process. Van Ryn should be made aware that players will attempt to take him out of the play.

Let's hope that everything will be alright in his case, and that he makes a sound recovery and quick return to the ice.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Van Ryn turned and left himself exposed...Kosto was pushing through with a clean hit when he decided to pivot. He never even looked behind him....

PB said...

Hmm....and Kurt Sauer's hit wasn't legal last month?

If there is nothing wrong here, then Sauer's hit was good then too.

Number31 said...

The unfortunate outcome of this hit is exactly the same as Doug Weight's clean open-ice hit of Sutter, who suddenly threw his head down in a lunge just as Weight hit him. It's a simple fact of wrong movement, wrong time. And Van Ryn saw Kostopoulos coming, he looks right at him a second before stoping in the corner.

The problem I saw in Sauer's was he literally threw himself in an upward momentum on an AK46 totally not seeing him, totally not in puck possession anymore, and totally not thinking someone would take him out, resulting in smashing his head into the glass. Another unfortunate action, but his arms went too high. He got no penalty, no league discipline, and wouldn't even dance with Laraque. (Surprise, he danced with smaller Kostopoulos).

Unfortunately the blatant Leafs bias around is making Kostopoulos into a pure goon, which he isn't. Commentators on live tv say he's "known for this" which is NOT true. He never did a hit like this in all the years I've seen him play. All he does is work corners, do his checks, PKs and lose fights against players that take liberties on his smaller teammates. (If it were Begin though, I'd say completely otherwise...but I digress). TSN reports the story, but selectively only puts up half the quotes (one-sided) unlike ESPN that places the whole story. The comments are filled with bile, interestingly enough coming from fans of a team who has employed an actual repeat-offender check-from-behind goon: Hollweg (who seems locked in the pressbox position, and yes, Leafs Nation pretty much hates him anyway).

No one wants to see players hurt. No one feels worse about it than Kostopoulos. His reaction after the hit was utter disbelief before he was attack by another Leaf player (which he only held onto, he didn't even try to fight him, and the guy got no instigator penalty). It's an unfortunate event, and the league might give him one game. Any more would be absolutely hypocritical bollocks on their part, though.

Flying Toaster said...

Even though i don't think Kosto did anything wrong, what infuriates me is the boarding major that was called on Markov. If you look at the Youtube video over and over, it's like Markov barely even TOUCHED Wellwood. It's completely ridiculous!

Matt Roberts said...

Your a fucking idiot

Remi said...

And I'm sure you feel very intelligent Matt Roberts. Put some efforts man, explain why he's an idiot at least.

I think the hit was clean. The difference between this hit and the hit against Kostitsyn a couple weeks ago is that Kostopoulos didn't put his arms up to aim for Van Ryn's head like Sauer did. I still don't think there's a place in the game for Kosto's hit since he took a pretty good run up for it but the way the rules are now, there's nothing wrong with his hit. Maybe a tripping call because he did accidentally put his stick in the general area of where Van Ryn put his skate down.

saskhab said...

Kostopolous had a good long view of Van Ryn's number leading into the hit. Sure, Van Ryn could have protected himself better. But Kostopolous should've let up. Everyone knows that's a 5 minute boarding call if you hit him.

Van Ryn's mistake will lead him to be out for a month if early reports are correct. Kostopolous' cost him 5 minutes. If he were a repeat offender, it'd cost him a game or two. There's nothing particularily foolish or vicious on this beyond any other hit from behind.

Fact is, skating with your head down or turning your back to the rest of the play doesn't excuse the hit itself.

One of the problems with these hits is that I don't think they give much coaching beyond those first years (that your daughter is in now) in making and receiving hits. I think it's a lot like a driver's licence... once you've got it, there's no lessons anymore, only reprecussions if you're caught breaking the rules.

NHL players still take lessons in skating, stickhandling, shooting, and faceoffs in the NHL. Do they take lessons in hitting? I've never heard of it. Once you're out of minor hockey, you apparently don't need to learn anything.

Sauer's hit on Kostitsyn could've been just as effective, and clean, if it were just a hip check. Kostopolous can let up here and just tried to pin Van Ryn.

gillis said...

couldnt have putn it better

Anonymous said...

obviously you know nothing about hockey cause kosto got 3 games for that hit. maybe you should chuck your bias out the window cause it obviously shows that because your a canadians fan your gonna believe that he was in the clear when pretty much no one else thinks so

PB said...


Thanks for the logical explanation of what both players could have done differently, and I would agree with your assessment.

@ all

I don't think that Kosto is a dirty player or should compared to the Hollwegs of the NHL. He could have let up, but didn't. Van Ryn could have protected himself (which is still up to debate) better but didn't. The thing was ugly.

I still assert that Kosistyn admired his pass too much and got caught against the glass.

The point I make here is that honest hockey players are prone to errors in judgment and the head on the platter analysis of Sauer's hit was not being done here with Kostopoulus and should have been done.

However, since Sauer plays for the team I like I'll defend him as long as it's warranted just as everyone here will defend Kostopoulus. Unfortunately, it was a boarding call and Kostopoulus will sit for three games.

Anonymous said...

what ever hit from behind is still a hit from behind, it's a dirty play and shouldn't be used.

Anonymous said...

Van Hern turned around and straightened himself to take the hit. his would have been a body hit, there would have been no problems. It was Kostopulos' raised elbow to the head that caused the injury. So your blog is wrong and you need to look where Kostopulos's arms when he finishes his hit. He is obviously aiming for the head. Hence the 3 game penalty. Dirty hit... do the time.

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