The case for Ruutu:
- He went in to finish a check against a player. Normal hockey play, happens tons of times. On this occasion, however, the opponent saw him coming and tried to lean out of the way. Well, he got his upperbody away from Ruutu, but his lowerbody was still in the crosshairs and he took the brunt of the impact in the knees.
- Ruutu did not lead with his legs, did not seek the legs. The opponent tried to evade at the last second and boom, what was done was done.
- Ruutu was given 20 minutes worth of penalties (kneeing, game misconduct and a fighting major). Aside from leaving his team with 10 regular forwards, it granted the opposition a 5 minute powerplay.
- As we mentioned last post, why the fighting major? Ruutu did not drop his gloves, did not throw a punch. Basically he was mugged by a teammate standing up for his guy. Not that there is anything wrong with what Steve McCarthy did, but he deserved his 5 for fighting and an instigator. Ruutu, a non-participant, shouldn’t have been slapped with an additional major for fighting.
- To our knowledge, despite Ruutu’s reputation, he’s never been suspended by the NHL. Much of Ruutu’s image comes from when he took a run and put a nasty (and dirty) elbow to Jaromir Jagr’s head at the 2006 Olympics. Ruutu does lead the leagues with 3 diving penalties, and had to have a mandatory phone call with the league but even they admitted that some of those calls where a bit excessive, that Ruutu’s reputation probably lead to them and he did not deserve to be suspended a game (as is the league’s right).
To be fair, the case against Ruutu:
- His reputation proceeds him. He may not have been suspended (yet) but he has a history of, at the very least “questionable” hits. Also trouble seems to follow him around. He is cast as a pest and an agiator and he plays that role very well. But it’s a thin line to cross before taking penalties, etc.
- It’s a league of stars and he just took out a guy who is 2nd in the league in goals. On purpose or not, he injured a star’s knee (severity unknown) no less, which other than a headshot is probably the most reprehensible thing a player could do..
The Ilya Kovalchuk factor
**Disclaimer: No one deserves to get hurt and we’re not suggesting Kovalchuk “had it coming”, but there is a factor here, so do consider it.**
- The victim is no angel himself; having just coming off suspension that could have been longer for running a defenseless player into the boards.
- Kovalchuk probably set himself up for at least getting checked every available chance by showing up the Penguins bench after he scored a first period goal. He also has a history of pointing at/provoking Penguins, notably Sidney Crosby. For better or worse Kovalchuk put a target on himself by acting unprofessional and directly taunting his opponents.
Again, we repeat, no one deserves to be injured and we’re not happy or satisfied to see a skill player suffer a knee injury. Just sayin’ the public outcry of "suspend, suspend, suspend!" isn't always just. So put down the pitchforks and extingush the torches and look at the facts again.
We came up with more of a case for him then against him, because that's how we see it. Is it biased? Perhaps. But the cons may outweigh the pros, especially since it's in Colin Campbell's hands now.