Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oh No, Jarkko

Finland beat the Czech Republic 4-2 in other action today to improve to 3-0 in the tournament, but the bigger news was Jarkko Ruutu's hit on Jaromir Jagr (video opens in new window):

Given Ruutu's reputation around the league, I'm not surprised by the immediate reaction to the hit. The game summary on the Rangers official website says:

Jagr was boarded by Finnish forward Jarkko Ruutu, who also plays for the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, at 12:03 of the second period. In a hit that appeared designed to injure, Ruutu crushed Jagr head-first into the boards as the Czech star was playing the puck.
Eric McErlain isn't suprised as well:

I missed the hit Jarko Ruutu laid on Jaromir Jagr, and it was classless -- not a surprise with Ruutu. In between periods, Joe Micheletti talked to Martin Rucinsky, and he wasn't pleased: "We all know Ruutu and that's the way he plays. And you know... hopefully we'll get some payback."
I'm glad Rucinsky didn't use the word 'bounty'.

I hate seeing incidents like this and I'm certainly disappointed, but to be honest, the hit didn't seem too dirty. That is, I don't think Ruutu hit Jagr with the deliberate intent to injure him. If you watched the Canada-Switzerland game, the hit was almost similar to those dished out by Seger (SUI) in the first period and Lecavalier (CAN) in the third. In those cases, both hit players who were in vulnerable positions; Ruutu's hit was the same, except in his case, Jagr was also injured and bleeding.

For what it's worth, Jagr was apparently not wearing a regulation-type helmet:

Jagr appeared to be wearing a thin, old-style helmet that he wore earlier in his NHL career -- a style the league no longer permits because of the amount of protection provided.

Being a Canucks fan, I've of course seen Ruutu play a lot and he's not a dirty player. He talks trash, he gets in opposing players' faces, he gives them an extra tug, maybe an extra shove, but he is also an intelligent player that knows where to draw the line. (Brian Burke always called him one of the most intuitive players he's ever had.) That's how he manages to draw penalties and that's what makes him one of the biggest - and best - pests in the league.

Unfortunately, in this particular case, Ruutu made a bad decision - he probably should have identified Jagr's vulnerable position - and he was rightly penalized. Hopefully Jagr's injury isn't a serious one.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 9:05 PM


At March 01, 2006 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why dont you just play ice hockey without the puck? you see that more entertaining to watch the players fighting each other...whats worse you arent even able to damn those f*g unfair acts of unreasonable agressivity like ruutu's miserable hit...and whats the worst thing, you even let these insidious individuals ruin the wall stones of sports entertainment - players with skills, thats f*g horrible and more ridiculous that you hide yourself behind the veil of the fact of being fan...born in canada, ruined in canada...thats what it seems to me...


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