The Phaneuf Hit on OkposoShareThis
Ahhh Crap (with a capital C). Phaneuf destroyed Okposo in an exhibition game last night.
Follow my logic here – I’m not sure if I’m mad at the hit or not:
If I say I’m mad at Phaneuf for crushing him in an exhibition game, I’m going to get responses like “you can’t turn off competitiveness” and “once guys are in a game, it’s become their nature to take advantage of guys with their head down”.
But that’s just not the truth. As a guy who’s played in plenty of exhibition games, I can tell you those games don’t matter to the guys who already have guaranteed roster spots. Those guys just aren’t playing with the dial set to “kill”. The dial is set to “just get through this”. They need to play to feel the pace, get that game cardio up and get their feet wet. It’s a joke to them.
So I don’t really get this hit.
It’s not like they’re interdivisional rivals (or even in the same conference), so what was that all about? Just being awesome? Teeing up on a guy for kicks?
I know Opo has to have his head up there, please don’t leave that comment, I know.
Guys will still hit guys in preseason play when the opportunity presents itself; it’s hockey. You have to remember how contact feels after a summer of shinny. But you don’t need to put a guy in a dangerous situation.
Here’s the one reason I’m not that upset with him for the hit: I think he did let up a bit.
He drops his shoulder, sure, but I think this could’ve been worse. He could’ve put more into it. So in the end, I’m not sure what to think of the hit. “Unnecessary” comes to mind though.
Here’s where hockey blogging about ex-teammates gets tough. I played with Morency (the guy who jumps off the bench to grab Phaneuf). He’s the nicest guy on the planet. He works harder than any teammate I’ve ever had. But he plays like a donkey.
It boggles my mind that the Isles continue to keep this guy in their system. The fans love him, of course. And I love him. Pascal, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.
But you play like a donkey.
Pascal is tough for a smaller guy (it helps that he’s jacked). He’s the definition of agitator. He runs guys, chirps from the bench during his extended stays there (sometimes entire games), then fights anyone who’ll fight him to justify his spot on the roster. To his credit, he’s making a hockey career out of what he’s got.
You’d say he’s the consummate team guy, sticking up for every little indiscretion against his linemates, if it wasnt motivated by the complete opposite concept from “team”.
He’s not skilled enough to play in the AHL without being a fighter and an irritant. So he has to create opportunities to show that he’s doing something out there. He’s the guy after the whistle face-washing guys just hoping something will come of it so he can do what he does best.
He takes penalties behind the play, and does stuff like jump off the bench to fight guys that would punch the accent out of his French.
I like Pascal. He’s a fun, sincere guy to BS with, the nicest guy to the callups in the dressing room, and the first to lend a hand. But he’s kinda bad at hockey, and plays a role I don’t think is necessary. Sorry bro.
If you want to watch him in action, there are about 15 of his fights on YouTube. I’m just running this one cause I was on the ice at the time and bummed cause one of my three shifts that period gets cut short.