Friday, September 18, 2009

Analyzing The Hit

I have watched that tape of Kyle Okposo getting hit by Dion Phaneuf several times, and have come up with these two thoughts. Was a clean hit? The initial contact would appear to be looked as a clean hit. However, was it a cheap shot? No question. I don't care if he had his head down (attempting to dump the puck in, just look at the other Islanders forwards heading for the bench!) or not, you don't come over from the other side of the rink, when TWO other teammates appear to be in position to guard Okposo, and deliver an open-ice hit in a PRE-SEASON GAME while attempting a dump-in. I got several opinions and views of that hit.

"Phaneuf left his feet on impact, catching Okposo with a shoulder to the head as Okposo was looking down, rendering him completely defenseless. The impact of the hit knocked Okposo's helmet off, and once he hit the ice he lay motionless for several minutes while being tended to by the team's medical staff. After several minutes, Okposo was lifted onto a stretcher and carted off the ice."--Katie Strang of Newsday
"When he sees that on the ice he has to take it. You don't want to see people get hurt but Dion can't pass up that hit. That's a big part of his game. He is a physical defenceman."--Brent Sutter
"I thought it was a clean hit. I stepped up and used my shoulder.You don't like to see guys get hurt, but that's part of my job when the hits are there, to take them. "-Dion Phaneuf

The most important thing is this. Kyle will be OK. He flew back with the team, and will be evaluated later. But now most fans want to know: What will Garth Snow do? Will he bring in that enforcer that most have been craving for since the rest of the division got tougher? Or did the fans just witness things to come for their team? Who will "protect" John Tavares.

Bringing in an enforcer would be a good idea. However, the enforcer could not have been on the ice when the hit was made, and Okposo would still have the injuries. Sure the enforcer may have went out and tried to start a fight with Phaneuf, but the end result of the Islanders young star would still be the same...he is injured. When several players get off the bench, and your goalie goes out to defend a star player and teammate, there is a sense of family there, a willingness to step up for one another. That was important to see.

With Okposo out of the lineup, that leaves three top 6 forwards out which includes Bergenheim, and Weight. No one knows when any of them will be back, and for Islanders fans, this is not what they wanted to see. A repeat of injuries to this team could cripple the fan base that has longed for more winnig from their team. They don't want to talk about the Draft Lottery in November or December. They want their young team to win now. The puck is in Snow's zone. Let him make his move.

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