Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OHL Hypocritical?

Interesting comment left by "hockeygod" in our Monday blog post in regards to the Liambas/Fanelli scenario. The reader references two incidents from last season by London Knights forward Zac Rinaldo who was suspended twice last year for two separate incidents.

Here is the first incident, a hit from behind against Erie's Andrew Yogan which earned Rinaldo an 8-game ban and sidelined the victim for 8 months (sorry for the poor audio quality):

Then 5 weeks later Rinaldo hit current Colorado Avalanche rookie Ryan O'Reilly in a playoff game between London and Erie (again, horrible audio):

Rinaldo was given 6 games for the hit in the playoffs. That's a total of 14 games for those two hits which, in my opinion, were clearly worse infractions than what we see regarding the hit thrown by Michael Liambas. Liambas is done for the year which still has 51 regular season games on his schedule, plus the playoffs. It's a bit ironic that both of the victims in the above videos were members of the Erie Otters, the same team that Liambas plays, er... played, for.

Hypocritical? You tell me.


Brock Otten said...


I just wrote an article for School Your Pool which outlines my basic thoughts on the suspension and incident.

Essentially, if the Liambas suspension is the beginning of a new leaf for the league in eliminating dirty play, then it's great. But if it's merely a solution to cover up the greater evils and ward off negative press, then what's the point? Michael Liambas and Ben Fanelli's sacrifice will only mean something (because both players lost something this weekend) if David Branch has the balls to be consistent with his rulings and stick to his course of action. Only then will players learn to respect each others safety and realize the implications of their actions, regardless of the outcome.

At the game said...

Rinaldo, as shown in the article videos, has been a repeat offender of the worse kind. His hits are directly from behind. Which hits are more dangerous? If Yogan's helmet comes off, and the injuries were of the same magnitude Rinaldo may have had the book thrown at him. In comments made by David Branch, the seriousness of the injuries were a big factor in the penalty. Should injuries be the determining factor? This debate will go on.

Hammer said...

Wow. Don't turn when you are about to be hit. Easier said than done I know, but pretty simple concept really.

I appreciate the postings of the hits from behind last year in the playoffs. 14 games vs. 50. Incredible. Was Rinaldo a 20 year old who could be made an example of like Liambis?

Guy Flaming said...

Nope, Rinaldo turned 19 this past June. He was a repeat offender who had received a suspension for a dangerous hit just 6 weeks or so before the next one (and then he got a shorter suspension for the 2nd infraction).

Mark said...

In a revolution there are always casualties, and always collateral damage. It would appear that, much like the Health services guy who lost his job in the Flames H1N1 fiasco, Liambas is precisely that; a casualty. And this is Mr. Branch's revolution (assist to Gary Bettman).
It is impossible to compare this suspension to any others prior. This is clearly a starting point. Only if there fails to be consistent treatment of players guilty of offenses similar to this in the future will we be able to determine if this suspension is/was fair or unfair. Clearly a new line has been drawn in the sand. Whether or not it is knee jerk, unfair, irrational, or even intentional doesn't matter. What matters is that regardless of intent, infractions of this nature (and this was at the very least charging) resulting in major injury simply will not be tolerated; and in the final analysis that is a good thing. If getting to this point means that Liambas is done, so be it. Better that he walks away as a healthy 20 year old than someone cold clocks him into the I.C.U. Collateral damage? Yes. But at least no-one is dead.
Not to flog a dead horse but why did this kids helmet come off so easily? It's time (ok, - far PAST time) to look at the other part of the equation when it comes to violent blows to the head. Clearly today's helmets don't cut it. Top that off with players literally wearing them as nothing more than a lid - ignoring completely the proper use of the chin strap - and the problem is made worse. Are you aware of CASCADE's "Mark Messier project" "M11" helmet? It is a one piece design, with a different take on energy dispersal than the usual foam, and appears to have great promise. The entire Harvard hockey team wears them. Check them out at

It's a start. If blows to the head can't be managed then better protection is more than part of the solution: it is the solution.

Guy Flaming said...

Good stuff Mark. I had heard of the helmet and was aware that Harvard was wearing them, someone else is too I think but forget who that is...

I hadn't seen them before though so will check out your link.