Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Idiot of the Day: Paul Stewart

by Jes

Paul Stewart, the former enforcer and popular (with the players) ex-referee had some choice comments about the Chris Pronger situation.

His thinking: Pronger wouldn't have gone all stompy if the game had more enforcers and he wouldn't have to protect himself. Uh-huh

You might expect a referee to have pretty keen insight into the situation, but Stewart ends up sounding more like an old codger like Donald Cherry than anything.

Stewart, the director of officials for the NCAA's Eastern Conference, told Hockey Night In Canada Radio on Sirius late Monday that the incident is a direct result of the NHL's desire to reduce fighting and, in turn, eliminate the role of the enforcer.

"It is sort of childish the way that he stomped on the guy," Stewart said. "Would [Jean] Beliveau have done that?

"I don't think so because they had No. 22 playing for them — God rest his soul, John Ferguson — and players knew they weren't going to take allowances with them."

Stewart believes the enforcer plays a key role in the NHL because "if you run [Sidney] Crosby or if you run [Alexander] Ovechkin or if you run, sadly, a Patrice Bergeron, you have to face a guy.

"[Wayne] Gretzky had [Marty] McSorley and he had [Dave] Semenko. Nowadays, they're trying to outlaw these guys."

Let's chop this up like spinach ...

1. Does Chris Pronger not have any 'protection' in Anaheim? Brad May, George Parros, Travis Moen ... Anaheim is not lacking with pugilistic talent. The fact that anyone could think Pronger is in any danger is akin to believing we actually live in a true democracy. Pure garbage.

2. If anyone needed protecting, it was Ryan Kesler, who was lying on the ice in a prone position for Pronger to stomp on his leg.

3. Remember when the Blues had Kelly Chase and Tony Twist? Even then, Pronger was cheap and vicious with his stick.

Oh, and this Paul Stewart gem is delicious.
Asked when he noticed the shift away from on-ice enforcers, Stewart responded: "The culture changed when the helmets went on, when the glass went up, when the goaltenders went out back of the net and started playing the puck with an expectation of not being confronted."
Yeah, let's go back to not wearing helmets and having a whole bunch of fractured skulls. Just ask Norm Green how that feels.

Paul Stewart ... what a moron.

Hockey isn't suddenly more violent now that enforcers' roles have drastically been reduced. Yes, stick fouls 'appear' to be increasing, but that doesn't excuse Chris Pronger or Chris Simon from committing one of hockey's ultimate no-no's.

If the NHL really wants to crack down on vicious and violent fouls, then the suspension system needs to be revamped, opened up, and harsher. The reason Pronger does what he does is because he knows he can get away with it. Do you think a 2-3 game suspension for a check from behind is going to deter anyone? No.

Start handing out 25-30 game suspensions and you'll see the cheap crap start to fade away.

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