Reckless = Dirty

This whole “He’s not dirty, he’s reckless,” argument is how we convince ourselves that it’s alright to keep loving the players we love when they do shitty things, but it’s silly.  If a player is habitually zooming around laying questionable hits, I think the difference between “reckless” and “dirty” is so subtle that it becomes irrelevant.



26 Responses to “Reckless = Dirty”

  1. 1 frisbee December 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I like to think of myself as both reckless and dirsty.

    But as your attorney, it’s all about intent, man. Admittedly, I’m never sure that the guy who receives the questionable hit cares that much about intent.

  2. 2 PKB December 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    HAHA zooming!

    For some reason when I read that I thought of marvin the martian in his flying saucer. I remember him doing a fair amount of zooming.

    You’re such a wordsmith KB!

  3. 3 Pookie December 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot today and I have to say that I actually like that people are stopping to differentiate between “reckless” and “dirty”. I think the difference is subtle, as you said, but hockey fans and pundits are so prone to overusing adjectives until they have no meaning (we joke about it, but remember how annoying it was to see a player or organization being referred to as “classless” when it wasn’t warranted?) that I’m just as happy to leave “dirty” to the truly despicable plays where there was unquestionable intent to injure (see: Simon, Chris).

    Now, that being said, “reckless” is still really bad. And illegal in hockey and, sometimes, in real life, too. The fact that anyone would decide “reckless” is harmless enough to exonerate Ovechkin is beyond comprehension.

  4. 4 Meg December 1, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I think that I agree with Pookie that there’s a difference between something that’s reckless and something that’s dirty. And if Ovechkin was just reckless with his own self then that would be fine. But it seems to me that being “reckless” with the health of others–which he is–should be considered unacceptable.

  5. 5 Katebits December 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Frisbee, I LOVE the typo “dirsty”. It makes me think of being dusty, irate, and desperate for a beer.

    PJB, ha!

    Pookie and Meg: I agree, there is a difference between the words, but I think the damage done by “reckless” players and “dirty” players is more or less the same (except for in extreme cases). So, if you want to preserve “dirty” for the really extreme psychotic cases, that’s cool. I just think think by labeling players “reckless” certain people are attempting to preserve a shred of nobility where there is NONE. (Not that anyone in this comment thread is doing that.) That was my real point here.

    Let’s put it this way, the difference between “clean” and “reckless” is large, and the difference between “reckless” and “dirty” is….considerably less large. Heh.

  6. 6 Katebits December 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I think it’s a little dirty to be habitually reckless with the health of others.

  7. 7 Pookie December 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I just think think by labeling players “reckless” certain people are attempting to preserve a shred of nobility where there is NONE.

    Oh, I agree with that 100%, no question about it! And those people are idiots. I was approaching it as a semantic issue, taking out the motivation of the idiots saying it. :D

  8. 8 Katebits December 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Yeah, I knew I was kind of sacrificing the semantic high ground here. But I was just thinking, to me, the type of players you want to call “dirty” are the type of players that I want to call “criminal sociopaths”. Heh. Just instinctual (and also as someone who hasn’t been a part of the hockey conversation for very long), “dirty” just doesn’t seem harsh enough for someone who is purposefully trying to injure another player.

    I want a hierarchy that goes something like this:

    1. Psycho = Chris Simon

    2. “Chris Pronger Zone”

    3. Dirty = those who are habitually reckless, like Kaleta, Ovechkin, Ott

    4. Reckless = These are your Clarke MacArthur types. Guys who really do seems ordinarily clean but who make a very bad play. If MacArthur makes more trouble, he scoots up to “dirty”.

  9. 9 SueInVirginia December 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Well put Katebits! That is just what I was thinking.

    I get tired of people praising Ovie for his “exuberant” play and than turning around and condemn Kaleta. (I don’t think that Kaleta is reckless or dirty but that might be because of my Sabre colored glasses! I didn’t use to think Briere was a dirty player but he can be such a little punk!)

  10. 10 Becky December 1, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I think Kaleta is veering towards psycho, sorry to say. Maybe if he would actually fight instead of turtling when revenge comes calling…

  11. 11 Pookie December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    OK, I can completely agree with that scale!

  12. 12 Katebits December 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Sue, I think the only difference between Kaleta and Ovie is that Ovechkin is a tad better at hockey. heh.

    Yeah, seeing him turtle after he boarded that Flyer was totally gross, Becky. I mean, he literally curled up into a ball and put his hands over his face. Ew.

    We agreed all along, Pookie!

  13. 13 Kathleen December 1, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I don’t think I’d call MacArthur reckless at this point – I’d say he made a reckless play. If it happens maybe 2 or 3 more times this season, then he can be reckless, but not after one mistake with a clean history.

    I think people want to say Ovie’s recklessness is okay because it isn’t malicious (which it might be, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.) While intent is something that will determine how I feel about a player, and maybe should warrant further punishment, a lack of malice shouldn’t detract from the punishment either (if the NHL had a baseline for this kind of thing, which it doesn’t.)

  14. 14 Kathleen December 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I love the sociopath terror watch.

  15. 15 Katebits December 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Oh, I totally agree MacArthur isn’t reckless by the Ovie standard of recklessness. My sociopath terror watch has much wider range of judgment, with “reckless” being on less offensive side, obviously.

    While intent is something that will determine how I feel about a player, and maybe should warrant further punishment, a lack of malice shouldn’t detract from the punishment either

    That is a VERY good way of putting it. I keep coming back to the fact that regardless of intent, the damage is the same. If the NHL wants to clean up illegal hits, they should just penalize everything without dabbling into the “intent” aspect in the first place.

  16. 16 SueInVA December 2, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I thought the face covering was to protect the nose Ovie broke! It was really bruised up.

    There is an article out there is cyberspace about Kaleta’s effectiveness as a pest, drawing penalties and such (I think you all may have seen it). He might not be a big scorer but he is definitely more of an add to the team than a hindrance!

    I have to wonder if the either coach will pull either of them back from their behavior now that they have been suspended once this year.

  17. 17 Katebits December 2, 2009 at 9:19 am

    If you hit someone into the boards you better be willing to fight his teammate right afterwards. If he was worried about his nose, Kaleta could have avoided the whole situation. TO lay a dirty hit, and then be all, “Watch the nose! Watch the nose!” is unsportsmanlike in my opinion.

    And yes, I agree that Kaleta is an effective player. He definitely contributes to the team by drawing penalties with his pest-y ways. But, his style of play is something that I would be happy to see the NHL legislate away with new rules (or the elimination of new rules). I find the entire “agitator/penalty drawer” genre of hockey playing to be an unappealing and reeeally lame aspect of the game.

  18. 18 Gambler December 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    If you hit someone into the boards you better be willing to fight his teammate right afterwards.

    Hm. I think I disagree. First of all, I don’t think Kaleta meant to board him, and it was the result of unfortunate timing. While intent shouldn’t change the ruling on the play (I agreed with the penalties if not fully with the suspension), if it was a hit that Kaleta didn’t mean to lay and that he knew was bad, why should he stick up for it? If someone had gone after MacArthur after his unfortunate hit, would you have expected him to fight back, too? (I know the two players and situations aren’t totally similar, but that’s a fuzzy line to draw.) I guess what I’m saying is that I probably would have been more disgusted to see Kaleta fight, because it would have read like him defending an indefensible situation.

    And the bottom line is that his turtling meant the Sabres had 3 minutes of penalty to kill instead of 5, which was a big deal. Maybe that wasn’t his thought process, but it was still the right decision. He knew he’d just screwed up, and he made the best of the situation that he could. I know it wasn’t the most manly play, but he gets paid to help his team, not to prove his manliness.

    Anyway, I’m hardly the biggest Kaleta fan, but I don’t have a problem with that play.

  19. 19 Katebits December 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Gambler, my point is not that Kaleta in ineffective. I agreed totally that he is an effective player and I agree that in the aftermath of the hit he did what was best for the team. That’s what grosses me out the most, actually. My point is that I find his aspect of the game unappealing and I would sign up for a rule change that would tone down the role of “agitator” considerably.

    I don’t agree with your argument that fighting would have meant he was “defending the indefensible”. I see fighting as more of a “taking your lumps” in that situation.

    I shouldn’t have made my statement in such stark terms, because of course I don’t mean that EVERY time someone lays an illegal hit that they should fight. MacArthur had no history of bad hits or fighting, and so to require him to fight in a situation like his would be silly. But I do believe (pretty strongly, apparently) that if you are a player who makes a living hitting everything that moves, and over the course of your career you amass a highlight reel of “iffy” hits, fighting should also be in your job description.

    Finally, I don’t think Kaleta is a malicious hitter. Individually, all of these hits can be more or less justified with “he had no intent to injure” and “The player being hit turned at the last minute after Ovie/Kaleta/Ott committed to the hit. It’s a fast moving game and these are split second decisions.” It’s all these hits together that makes a player reckless.

    I don’t believe Kaleta is out there trying to hurt people, but when he plays that style of game I believe he should be penalized by the refs, and then he should have to face the very real possibility that sooner or later he’s going to have to deal with some pissy Flyers.

    I should do a little research on the instigator penalty. That’s an argument I’ve largely ignored, but I think it’s probably at the heart of this conversation.

  20. 20 Kathleen December 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I find the entire “agitator/penalty drawer” genre of hockey playing to be an unappealing and reeeally lame aspect of the game.

    I’m there. I mean, I see the point of it, but at the same time I always think “this just seems really unsportsmanlike and yicky.” But as long as that’s the way it is, I’m glad we have Kaleta – except when he does embarrassing stuff like that.

    If I could pick one or the other, though, I’d keep the penalty-drawer over the lame “This game sucks. You bored too? Wanna go?” fights. I’m all for legitimate fighting, but I get incredibly annoyed when I have to watch Andrew Peters and Brian McGratten dance around each other forever. Its just tedious and pointless. Just punch each other already – oh, and next time, try having an actual reason for doing so.


  21. 21 Katebits December 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I TOTALLY agree about the staged enforcer fights, Kathleen. Totally, totally boring and embarrassing.

    Oh, one more thing- In spite of everything I just said, I reserve the right to celebrate and enjoy all of the fruits of Kaleta’s dirty dealings (in the form of Sabres power plays) until the NHL finally starts reading my blog and changes the rules to my liking. Heh.

  22. 22 Kathleen December 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I think I’m okay with some roughing after a nasty hit. (And I mean nasty as in hard and possible questionable, not as in “Code Chris Pronger.” That’s another set of rules.) It sort of clears the air; Player Blue A hits Player Orange B, so Player Orange C whacks Blue A and they go. And then it’s done, unless it’s been a particularly chippy game. Without that, you might get Team Orange building up a head of steam until someone goes charging like a bull at Blue A, which is a much more dangerous situation than fighting. Even worse, if A is ejected, someone else from Blue is going to have to pay.

    Heh. Hockey is kind of crazy.

  23. 23 Katebits December 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Hockey is TOTALLY bizonkers. Not always in a good way. This always happens to me when I think about fighting for too long. I get all confused and turned around and I feel like maybe I’m betraying my hippie, peacenik roots by following this sport in the first place.

  24. 24 Katebits December 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Gambler, I’m worried that I sounded like an a-hole in response to you! If I did, @@@@@@@@@!

    If you are offended, I AM willing to fight you- as is the Blogger Code. (By “fight” I mean, “skate around in a circle holding each other at arms length until one of us falls down.” :P)

  25. 25 Gambler December 2, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Oh, no worries, Kate. Pretty much as soon as I hit submit on that comment I decided that even I wasn’t really buying my logic. It was pretty yucky of Kaleta to turtle, but… I guess I don’t care about yucky. Hockey has turned me into a monster!

    So while I’m not offended, I will still take those cinnamon buns, but we don’t have to fight. Consider yourself lucky. I’m a not-falling-down machine!

  26. 26 piece December 3, 2009 at 9:03 am

    important research

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