Jonathan Toews, Coach Q support John Scott’s police work
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org December 21, 2011 9:54PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 11:05AM
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews isn’t a fan of the instigator rule. He’d be fine seeing John Scott police things on the ice.
If that were the case, maybe rookie center Marcus Kruger wouldn’t be out with the concussion he suffered when Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland took a run at him and made direct contact with his head. And maybe the NHL’s ever-growing concussion list wouldn’t be as long as it is.
“That’s what it comes down to,” Toews said Wednesday. “There’s been fighting in hockey for a long time. Guys aren’t going to do stupid things like that if they’re going to have to answer the bell.”
Engelland wasn’t penalized for his head-high hit on Kruger on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, but he has a disciplinary hearing with the NHL on Thursday morning. He’s likely looking at a suspension.
Scott quickly pounced on Engelland, and both seemed to drop the gloves at the same time. Scott, though, received the extra two-minute instigator penalty, which also comes with a 10-minute misconduct.
“Every guy in that locker room stood up for what John did,” Toews said. “We all approved [of] it. We moved on after that. People want to look at the penalty that we didn’t kill. That’s a team penalty that we’ll take any time. He’s standing up for his teammate.”
The instigator rule is designed to prevent players from jumping others, especially when they’re defenseless. But some players and coaches contend the extra two minutes and the 10-minute misconduct have opened the door for players to take runs at others without the added concern of having to answer for it. On-ice policing has been discouraged.
“[Scott] did what he had to do,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The guy was willing at the same time, but [Scott] traveled some distance. Sticking up for your teammate is what it’s all about. It was a hit at the end of the night you might look back at as we were short-handed when we could have had a power play. But at the same time, Johnny did exactly what you want him to do.”
If the NHL is going to continue to discipline certain hits, Quenneville believes penalties should remain severe. He said that “definitely the number of games have been cut down” on some suspensions.
“There has to be a deterrent in place if you start losing your salary [or] it could cost a major in a game,” Quenneville said. “I think that’s got to be pretty severe in its own right [to affect] the mentality of a guy looking to take a hit like that.”