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John Garrett: Give me a break

by John Garrett / Vancouver Canucks

There are times during broadcasts when the former player in me takes over.

I truly believe it is an advantage to have experienced the old-school physical game and to have seen how the game has evolved into what we have today. The players are bigger, stronger and faster than they were 10 years ago or even five years ago. The equipment is light years ahead of what it used to be. Can you imagine Guy Lafleur playing with just shoulder caps strapped to his suspenders in todays game? Helmets, visors, flak jacket, like under garments, all are designed to protect yet there is not much you can do if you are hit from behind or when you are in a vulnerable, dangerous position.

Matt Cooke was suspended for hitting Fedor Tyutin from behind and deserved at least the four games handed out and probably more. He was a repeat offender and has shown he has no regard for the safety of anyone he plays against.

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John Garrett is a former Canuck and currently the colour commentator for Sportsnet.

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Ryan Getzlaf is not that kind of player. That is why so many people are on the fence about his hit on Dan Hamhuis. I did not like the hit as soon as I saw it. Hamhuis had turned his body to make a play back up the boards in the opposite direction from where Getzlaf was coming. He saw Getzlaf but did not have time to get turned around to take a shoulder to shoulder check. He was in a vulnerable position and Getzlaf, who always finishes his checks, took advantage.

Getzlaf is 6' 4" and 220 lbs. He said he left his feet after contact and drove through the check. We saw that he left his feet as he made contact and drove through his check high.

Getzlaf was playing in his first game in over a month. His team had gone 10-4 in his absence and he was feeling good about being back and contributing to a win. He must have been pumped, but come on. The score was 4-2 in his favour and Hamhuis was behind his own net and 200 ft away from posing any threat.

Rule 41.1 states, and I quote, "BOARDING - A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee." It goes on to say "The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact. However, there is also a responsibility on the player with the puck to avoid placing himself in a dangerous and vulnerable position."

So people who are okay with the hit are saying that Dan Hamhuis should have figured out that when he went back behind his own net to make a routine outlet pass that he would get steamrolled by a guy whose skates were off the ice and it was his fault.

Give me a break.

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