The most recent case of "disrespect" came last weekend when Edmonton Oilers rookie Linus Omark made a flashy move in a shootout against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis. The incident annoyed many players off of the Tampa Bay Lightning - including Ellis - and they all chalked it up to Omark not having any respect. Frankly, as a Lightning blogger, I was very disappointed in the Lightning players who said that.
As I've been asking people all weekend, would it have been disrespectful if Ellis had made the save instead of letting that goal in? I hardly think so. Instead, Omark would've been ridiculed for making a lame move that didn't work.
So, in reality, that move was considered "disrespectful" only because it worked. Nice. Some may argue that this is about a rookie respecting his "elders", but that's just ludicrous. That still doesn't make any sense to me how making a clever move is considered disrespectful. How about them respecting the fact that this guy had the talent and the courage to pull it off in his first NHL game?
This has nothing to do with whether the shootout belongs in hockey or not. That's an on-going discussion for another time. This is about respect, pure and simple.
I find this talk of "disrespect" to be incredibly hypocritical. After all, this is a league where teams have resorted to reporting injuries as being "upper" and "lower" body. And why would that be? Because players don't respect each other enough to not target the individuals that are coming back from injury. If they knew where a guy was specifically injured, then they'd try to take advantage of that. It's been been done before, right?
Yep. That's respectful. And honorable, too.
How about high hits? Or hits to the head? Or hits from behind? Or not keeping sticks under control? Or slew-footing, maybe? Those problems are often talked about in the NHL these days. Players don't seem to respect their opponents enough to keep their hits legal or to make sure preventable dangerous incidents are, well, prevented. I know that I've been seeing a lot more players leaving their feet while hitting these days, and you almost never heard of slew footing a couple of years ago.
If you look at most injuries, they're typically caused by player-on-player hits, and not by much else - other than accidentally getting in the way of a shot, of course.
And speaking of hits, what's up with players coming up swinging when they're hit legally but hard? They now seem to think that a hard legal hit is illegal - just because it hurts. And why? Because that's not respectful, either. Playing by the rules isn't respectful? Since when?
Oh yeah. There's all kinds of respect going on in the NHL between players. Can't you tell?
If you're still unconvinced, then how about this. Rookies and the younger veteran players grew up watching the NHL, and they try to emulate their heroes - just like the veterans did before them. And in case you missed the point, those would be those exact same veterans in the league right now complaining about a lack of respect. They're only trying to impress their new teammates, by doing what those guys are doing.
And now they have the gall to point to at rookies and say they're not being respectful just because they might be showing up the veterans? Riiight. How about you take a good, hard look in the mirror, boys, and watch some video of how you play. Then maybe you can start talking about "respect".
Here's a crazy idea - perhaps you ought set a better example yourselves, so your complaints don't sound quite so hypocritical and hollow.