Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Portland Punch-Up

The Kamloops Blazers dropped a 6-4 decision in Portland Saturday night but the outcome was overshadowed by a near bench-clearing brawl at the end of the 2nd period.

After a fiery end to the 2nd period with a scrap between the Blazers Dylan Willick and the Winterhawks Brad Ross, the situation nearly erupted into chaos as the two teams left the ice in Blazers territory.

As the Winterhawks were leaving the ice, Blazer G Jeff Bosch and Winterhawks G Mac Carruth engaged in a fight. With Bosch surrounded by basically they entire Winterhawks team, his Blazer teammates came in to help him out. Brendan Ranford scrapped, as did JC Lipon. Shayne Neigum and Chase Schaber were also involved. Schaber drew a game misconduct for being too physical with the linesman as they attempted to break up the melee.

Both goalies were kicked out of the game for leaving the crease. Back-ups Cam Lanigan for the Blazers and Keith Hamilton for the Hawks played the third period.

The officials didn’t properly keep the teams separated as the period ended. They allowed the teams to have access to each other while the period ended as the benches cleared to go to off the ice. It was a defensive zone breakdown for the stripes. Could the incident have been avoided? Likely. It also could have been 20 on 20 pretty easily too.

It was an emotional game as the Winterhawks built a 3-0 2nd period lead before the Blazers stormed back with goals from Ranford, Schaber and Bronson Maschmeyer. For Ranford it was his league-leading 21st. The game was even 3-3 at the 15:09 mark of the 2nd period.

The Winterhawks restored a two-goal lead early in the third period. Dalibor Bortnak brought the Blazers back within a goal midway through the period but Nino Niederreiter scored his 2nd goal of the game moments later to put the Hawks up for good 6-4.

Post-game, Blazers Head Coach Guy Charron praised his team in their ability to stand-up and protect each other. The Blazers won the physical battle but ultimately not the game.

Charron says it was another character building contest for his team and perhaps a moral victory.

Guy didn’t want to put blame on the goaltenders but he feels they need to be better. Lanigan was guilty of a couple rebounds that ended up in the back of the net.

Bottom line, the Blazers battled hard tonight and the coaching staff has stressed they will take that because the results will usually be positive as opposed to negative.

In a way the game could almost sum up the season-to-date for the Blazers. A hard-working and feisty effort, too many goals against, a boatload of penalties/fights and no points as a result.

G Jeff Bosch was hurt in the melee to end the 2nd period. His status for Tuesday’s game against Regina is unknown.

There will be fines doled out by the league office for the game. The goalie scrap usually runs about $250. There may be more dished out if it’s deemed a “multiple fight” situation.


- As confusing as it was to sort out the penalties, the lack of working Internet made it even more difficult. I joke about Memorial Coliseum being a time warp back in time. Tonight without Internet just added to it.

- Was anyone keeping track of how long the intermissions are in Portland? Time can even stand still…what an amazing place!

- Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and staff were in the building. Taking a closer look at 1st round pick Ryan Johansen or getting a better look at several of the high draft eligible prospects in the Hawks’ line-up?

- It was good to catch-up with Mike Remmerde. After years of scouting with the Red Line Report for basically the love of the game, Mike has finally landed a part-time NHL scouting gig. I’m happy for him. We met in the summer of 2004 at the NHL Draft in North Carolina.

- Portland GM Mike Johnston is a pleasure to talk to. I can tell he’s a good hockey man. Portland has a good one behind the bench and in the front office no doubt.

- Anyone who thinks fighting is bad for hockey should take in a game in Everett or Portland. Fans go crazy when the gloves come off.

- American fans love “the take down” in a fight. For them, it’s basically the deciding factor of who wins and who loses.

- The Hawks have a great group of cheerleaders. In my opinion they are a great addition to the fan experience. In today’s day and age where the experience of going to the game matters just as much as the outcome, the Hawks have hit a home-run.


Spencer said...

I was at the game last night, sitting directly behind the Blazers bench, and I can tell you that the officials (Thornton and Zalasky) should be reprimanded for their handling of that whole situation. The whole thing started when Brad Ross (who is a total punk on the ice - kind of reminds me of Brandon Dubinsky - talks a lot of smack and then starts fights with smaller guys) laid a vicious crosscheck on Willick after the buzzer and then jumped him. A small melee ensued and the officials sent the Blazers to their bench and the Winterhawks to the dressing room. Problem was, the Winterhawks didn't go to their dressing room. They stayed in the corner, leaving Jeff Bosch all by himself with the entire Winterhawks team. When the goalie fight started, the Blazers skated over to defend their goalie and all heck broke loose. I couldn't see the goalie fight very well because it was in the corner with 38 players in the way, but another fight broke out and JC Lipon absolutely obliterated Swenson from the Winterhawks. He Landed at least 6-8 rights square to Swenson's face and bloodied him up pretty good. I heard several Winterhawks fans mention how badly their guy got beat down. When the refs came back with their penalty calls, everybody was stunned. It was pretty well assumed the Blazers would end up with a long power play, but it ended with 3 Blazers kicked out, 3 more in the penalty box, and a Portland power play. The Blazers coaching staff was none-too-happy, while the Winterhawks coaching staff looked like they were ready to send flowers to the refs. Even with that fiasco, I though the Blazers pushed through nicely until the missed called on the Tayler Jordan elbow to Colin Smith's head (could've been call elbowing, charging, or boarding, but should've be a major penalty). Then, Feinhage jumps Jordan and gets 2-5-10, putting Portland on another powerplay, on which they scored the winning goal. Funny, when the ref skated over to give Guy Charon the call, all he said was "what next?" Overall, though I think the Blazers played very hard and deserved a lot better - they were actually the better team in this one. One thing I have to disagree with is the cheerleaders. That's just embarrassing. As for the long intermission, I think it's due to the slow concessions. I actually appreciated the extra few minutes after I got stuck in one of those long lines.

Anonymous said...

Lipon is a tough little sob. I agree with Spencer, the officials handed it all very badly. They looked lost out there.

Jon Keen said...

Spencer, I think you've summed up the thoughts of the Blazers coaching staff very well. Thanks for the take from across the ice.

Anonymous said...

This might not go to well but... The Ross/Willick fight was pretty good, looked like they both wanted to try and fire up their teams. Didn't see anything cheap they both were pushing, facing each other and just went.

Say Ross is to blame if you want but Neigum lost it and really got the pot boiling, take a look at the slash on You Tube and decided who is more to blame.

The goalie fight I didn't really get a good look at, hats off to Bosch for wadding into the group but I don't think he really thought that out just was acting on emotion I think.

It looked like a fair 1 on 1 fight on You Tube but I couldn't see through all the bodies in real time.

As far as the refs I'm not sure why Thorton is getting hashed on cuz he just skated around during the game why Zalasky called everything. JR hockey refs have been consistantly inconsistant for years.

Lipon layed the smack down on Swenson in that fight, no denying that.

I thought the Blazers played the better more physical game, they just got out scored by better players.

Anonymous said...

Watch the video, Spencer. There was no crosscheck by Ross.

Bosch was only "by himself" in the corner with the Hawks because he skated over there to confront them. If he just stayed in his crease, or went to his own locker room, he would've been 50+ feet away. The Blazers who were being held back were closer to the Hawks than Bosch would've been if he just stayed in his crease.

beerphoto said...

I was at that game, and I'm a 'Hawks fan.

I think its interesting to get the Blazers perspective - thanks!

I've also watched the youtube clip a few times. While it is true that "Bosch was surrounded by Winterhawks" I would ask how did he get there? The Blazers tunnel is in the opposite direction. The 'Hawks were in the process of going off when Bosch skated over and challenged the lot of 'em. Were the 'Hawks supposed to turn around and use the Blazers tunnel because Bosch wanted to swap dressing rooms?

Nino shot the helmet across the ice - towards the Blazers tunnel, where it would need to end up anyway. Admittedly, I've never played the game, so there's parts of the culture that I don't know about - but I have no idea why that would provoke Bosch.

The youtube (and in person) showing the slash/attempted 3rd man in routine that Neigum was working on seemed to me to be incendiary at the least.

Mostly, I hope that Bosch is ok.

Spencer said...

If there was no crosscheck by Ross, then why was he assessed a crosschecking penalty? I watched the video and they didn't show the beginning. As for Bosch, the refs were telling the Blazers to stay on the ice and the Winterhawks to go to the dressing room. The Winterhawks stayed on the ice in the corner next to where Bosch was standing, following the refs' instructions. They appeared to be egging Bosch on. I'm not saying Bosch was some innocent bystander, but to say he was the instigator is a bit much. Again, the refs' complete mishandling of the situation was the big problem.

Anonymous said...

Spencer: Bosch skated into the group of Winterhawks what did he expect to happen? He was not left all alone with the Winterhawks he skated over to them. Ross will fight with just about anybody size is not really a factor for him since he wins most of his fights! Yes there was a crosscheck but it was NOT vicious. What were people suposed to be "stunned" about the calls were fair as after the first fight your goalie started everything. The Blazers were not the better team in this one. You cant really say they were better because they had several chances but just failed to convert clearly Portland was the better team since we converted on several chances we had.

Spencer said...

"Anonymous": That's cool, you love your Winterhawks. I have no qualms with that. I live in Portland too. However, I stand behind my previous comments. I don't feel the need to re-iterate my point on Bosch as I have already responded to that situation twice. As for Ross, why don't you explain the difference between a "vicious" and "non-vicious" cross-check? My point was that it was completely unnecessary and clearly got everybody riled up. Willick was not looking to fight, Neigum was. If Ross wanted to fight, he should have fought with Neigum who is closer to his size anyway. After that fight, the ref (I was sitting 10 feet away) told the Blazers to stay at their bench and the Winterhawks to go to the dressing room. The Winterhawks did not leave the ice (actually, a couple left and then came back). If they had just left the ice, nothing would have happened. Reason I say Kamloops was the better team was that they carried the play for the last 45 minutes of the game. Portland scored on a 5-on-3, then on a bogus powerplay in the 3rd when Tayler Jordan was not assessed a penalty for a head shot on Colin Smith (again, I was sitting 10 feet away from it). Credit is due Portland for taking advantage of their opportunities, but Kamloops carried the play for most of the night. In my opinion, the two guys - other than Zalasky and Thornton - who were most responsible for the whole thing were Ross and Neigum. Interestingly enough, neither of them got suspended.

Anonymous said...

Nino shot the helmet across the ice!!! Why is that a hard thing for everyone to miss. This is a blatant showing of disrespect and kudos to Bosch for pointing it out to the rude Euro. Nino understands that the visor gets scratched and every player protects the helmet when they store it in the hockey bags for this reason. Nothing at all would have happened if Nino had left the helmet alone. This is where it all started and Nino got nothing for it. He should get the 7 games that his own teammates got.

stephanie said...

Spencer: "Willick was not looking to fight, Neigum was. If Ross wanted to fight, he should have fought with Neigum who is closer to his size anyway." It takes 2 to tango! Clearly Willick was willing to fight if he was not willing why didnt he go to his locker room or his bench? "After that fight, the ref (I was sitting 10 feet away) told the Blazers to stay at their bench and the Winterhawks to go to the dressing room." So it was the Blazers who didnt listen to the refs since Portland players were skating to there locker room when Kam's goalie started things. They didnt carry the play yes they had their chances and zone time but overall Portland had more puck control and zone time. The Hawks out played them with and without the puck. Even if they were "Carring the play" it does not matter if you cant score! There is not reason for Taylor Jordan to be giving a pentalty it was a hard hit but it was a clean hit! How are Ross and Neigum at fault for this? After the Ross fight everything was fine until Kam's goaltender skated into the Hawks cornor. Anonymous: Nino didnt do anything wrong and has no reason to get suspended. The helmet needed to go over there anyways. And they do get slid across the ice all the time. Kam's goaltender is the one the started things he did not need to skate all the way into the group of Hawks considering he was by him self.

Spencer said...

Stephanie: enough with the "it takes two to tango" argument. Ross cross-checked Willick. Neigum was on the ice and clearly willing to fight. Why didn't Ross take it up with him instead of the smaller Willick? Morrow was still next to the Kamloops bench yapping at Maschmeyer long after the Winterhawks were told to go to their locker room (they had every opportunity to leave the ice, but only a couple of them did). Then, he skated across the ice to jump Ranford in the crowd. Clearly, Ross and Morrow were the aggressors in these "tangos". On Nino shooting the helmet across the ice, you clearly have never played hockey. Anybody who has knows you don't mess with another guy's helmet. As for Jordan's hit, if you thought that was clean, then there's no point in you leaving the Winterhawks forums where other blind loyalists will back you up. It was a head shot, clear and simple. As far as who carried the play, you can argue all you want. I was sitting right behind the Blazers bench and just wanted to provide my assessment of the game to the Blazers fans who read Jon's blog. If you do not agree, that's your right. But I still stand behind my statements. I don't go to the Winterhawks blog to start trouble with you about your team, so what are you doing here?

Stephanie said...

Yes I agree Ross was one of the aggressors but he had no reason to fight Neigum. I've seen lots of games where when players go to the box after fighting or something their helmet gets moved like that. Ive seen it with Portland, Seattle, Everett, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Kelowna, and Spokane so its not that bad. If the goalie had a problem with it thats fine but he didnt need to skate into the entire group of Winterhawks and start stuff. The Refs and league didnt think the hit from Jordan was bad. By the way I didnt come here to start stuff.

Spencer said...

Stephanie: All WHL players are required to wear visors on their helmets. When a helmet gets skidded 100 feet across the ice like that, the visor is liable to get scratched. Nobody wants to play with a scratched visor. On your last point, do you have any comments about last night's game with Regina? Or the 3 games coming up in the next four nights for Kamloops? If you are not here to stir stuff up, then why are you posting on this blog? Anyway, it's been a nice chat, but it's time to move on... Great win for Kamloops over Regina last night without Ranford, Schaber, Lipon, Bosch, Caron. I thought the youngsters really stepped up.

stephanie said...

I dont care how the did against Regina or how they got stomped 10-1 by Spokane. I did not come here to sart stuff I was looking up so info on the game.

Anonymous said...

Why did you Trade Jon Groenheyde where he should of been the #1, now look at what you got. another goaltending problem. Good luck with that one Bonner>