Friday, 10 December 2010

Miller Suspended for Two Games

**UPDATED 1:25 P.M. WITH QUOTES FROM WHL VICE-PRESIDENT RICK DOERKSEN**

Well, an absolute shocker from the Western Hockey League this morning.

The WHL has suspended Brandon Wheat Kings' defenceman Ryley Miller for two games for his open-ice hit on Everett forward Kellan Tochkin in the third period of Wednesday's game versus the Silvertips.

Miller was assessed a minor penalty for charging on the play, which means the suspension stems from a request for supplemental discipline by the Silvertips.

I watched the hit live, obviously, and again on the video scoreboard afterward on Wednesday night and thought it was a borderline penalty, and the thought never occurred to be that they'd even be a chance at a suspension from it.

The Wheat Kings, obviously, concur with that sentiment.

"I thought Ryley’s check on Tochkin was a textbook open ice hit," said Brandon coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon in a release, "If you were trying to teach young defensemen how to body check it would be a perfect example. He demonstrated great angling, skating, footwork and courage in making that hit, something Wheat King fans have come to expect from Ryley."

"The suspension is very disappointing," McCrimmon went on to say, "These are not the hits we are trying to take out of the game."

Miller will have to sit out Brandon's two games this weekend against Kootenay and Prince Albert.

He'll be eligible to return to the Wheat Kings' lineup next Friday versus Moose Jaw.

I had a chance to talk to WHL Vice-President and disciplinarian Rick Doerksen early this afternoon to get his take.

"We looked at it and we had three angles on the hit. In the first two, it appeared to be a textbook open-ice hit and, yet, when you look at from the third angle, clearly he left his feet to deliver the hit," said Doerksen, "By leaving your feet, it comes under charging and with the concussion received by the opponent, it had to be dealt with under supplemental discipline."

"If we had deemed it to be what I would classify as a a dirty hit, say a forearm up in the head or a stick up in the head, certainly it would have been a much longer suspension," adds Doerksen, "In all fairness to Ryley Miller, he was attempting to throw exactly what we are trying to do with the open-ice hit, unfortunately, he did leave the ice. If he had kept his skates on the ice, we would not be talking."

Judge for yourself...

video

Just to add another point to the discussion, and I did bring this up with Rick, is that the WHL is fortunate that this hit occurred in Brandon because there might have been a different decision had it occurred in some other buildings where the # of angles available for video replay/review was more limited.

Of course, the same holds true to video review on goal calls, where more angles are available in some building than others.

The lingering question would be, is this an inaccuracy from building-to-building that WHL fans should be concerned with?

Wanna have even more fun? Compare the Miller hit to Red Deer defenceman Matt Dumba's hit on Calgary's Cody Sylvester, which made the WHL Plays of the Week last week (#3, about 1:05 in)

15 comments:

SCB said...

Easy homer :) Watch the slow mo reply on the angle from behind Miller. Clearly left his feet and hit a recent WHL player of the week in the head. He's lucky to get only two games.

Drew said...

Agreed. Terrible call. I think the league is going overboard in trying to "clean up" the game. It's part of the game and it was a textbook play.

Alex said...

I can see why there was a minor penalty for charging, but I'm not sure if this hit deserves a suspension

Anonymous said...

The only thing Miller deserved was a pat on the back from Kelly. Total bush league call, I would expect this from Branch but not Robison!

Anonymous said...

Both his feet left the ice before the hit. Hard to argue with the suspension. If his blades had stayed on the ice you'd have a legitimate complaint.

Anonymous said...

just watched that over and over and I'm shocked, that hit isn't even a penalty, never mind a suspension. He hit him from the front, his feet did leave this ice, but not until after the hit, he didn't jump or launch himself into the hit, just the energy of it caused his foot to come up an inch or two. At some point responsibility has to be put on these kids to protect themselves not hope that no one will hit them. It's really brutal that these kids are being taught it's okay to skate around with your head down, or even worse to turn their back to a checker in the dangerous zone near the boards and hope for a penalty.

RDRebels Fan said...

Totally clean hit. Matt Dumba for the rebels has been lowering the boom like this for the entire year and hasnt even received a penalty. Maybe the WHL has a double standard for Brandon...........

Jay said...

I couldn't believe it when he was given penalty (for a perfectly clean hockey hit) his feet never left the ice until impact, elbows were down, it was a clean shoulder check. Getting a 2 game suspension for that hit is just WRONG.

Rye said...

Saw it live, watched replays ... I was surprised when it was a penalty. I can see how the ref could think he left his feet before, he did extend his legs to get more leverage so because it happened so fast, I wouldn't blame the ref for calling it. A suspension though? This is a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder check. Everett can complain all they want but like Don Cherry says, keep your head up, kid.

owl said...

was the third camera stationed on the grassy knoll? where is the video?

Matt said...

What a joke, even the charging penalty wasn't warranted.

How can Miller get a suspension for this, when last year Teubert didn't get anything for chasing Stone around the ice then knocking him out? Wake up WHL.

Anonymous said...

brutal call The follow through made his feet come up. Red Deers Dumbas hit was leaving his feet.

Anonymous said...

I must say it looks like once he hit the player his feet comeoff the ice, but that is afterwards!

Red Menace said...

Um... he "left his feet" upon impact with the other player; it was a simple physics reaction. He had at least one skate on the ice until the actual collision; in fact, if he'd had both feet on the ice, this hit may have been a lot more devastating as he'd actually have some power behind it. This was a fast collision; the suspension is unwarranted. The calls of "double standard" may have some serious merit, guys...

Anonymous said...

Defenders lining up a hit cannot be expected to jam out of completing a high-speed check if the player puts his head down. Tochkin felt he was 'safe' to put his head down while moving full-speed because he already had a defender right beside him. This sets up the perfect opportunity for a second defender to complete the surprise hit (this happens lots behind the net where the chasing defender is just a decoy). Based on the 'feet off the ice' and forward momentum criteria, this was a legal check with unfortunate consequences. That's it.