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Is Nail Yakupov a punk for avoiding this hit from Dan Carcillo?

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By Allan Muir

I was watching the Edmonton broadcast of the Oilers vs. Blackhawks game the other night when I saw Chicago’s Daniel Carcillo steaming toward Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov.

It looked like CarBomb was going to unload on the rookie, but Yakupov sensed the threat at the last second and ducked, leaving the hard-charging Carcillo to slam face-first into the boards.

“Dodged a bullet there, didn’t he?” I thought.

And that was it.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I heard that Chicago broadcaster Ed Olczyk had taken issue with Yakupov’s decision to avoid a date with the glass.

You cannot do that to a player that’s coming. That’s a dangerous play by Nail Yakupov. Because what happens is, when you duck like that, that player is going to go over the top of your shoulder and hit his face or his neck against the boards. To me that should be a penalty on Yakupov. I see it at the amateur level, I’d like to see USA Hockey and amateur referees take control of that type of play. I hope it’s not being taught by coaches, but that’s a dangerous play. Somebody’s going to get really hurt when a player ducks like that.”

Really? Was Olczyk actually saying that a player has a responsibility to ensure that the guy who is trying to drive him through the boards doesn’t splatter himself instead?

Okay… well, maybe just a bit of a homer call there. No mention of the fact that Yakupov had long since given up the puck or that the distance Carcillo traveled probably qualified it as a charge, but hey, that’s Eddie’s take. Probably on an island with a few Hawks fans with that one, I figured.

But apparently he wasn’t the only one who saw it that way. During Wednesday night’s Montreal-Toronto broadcast, the TSN crew weighed in on the play, which they deemed “controversial.”

“Absorb the hit or sidestep the hit, but you can’t go low like that on a guy. It’s not fair,” said Bob McKenzie, arguably the most level-headed commentator in the business. Moments later, Darren Pang agreed. “I’d rather see him take the hit.”

Wow.

Remember, Yakupov didn’t instigate this contact. It wasn’t like Brad Marchand low-bridging Sami Salo in open ice. This was a guy trying to avoid being blasted by a player whose own respect for the safety of others can fairly be called into question.

And if you’ve ever played the game at any level that involved checking, you know it makes a lot more sense to have the other guy slam into the glass than to let him flatten you.

Finally, TSN’s Aaron Ward made that point.

“You gotta avoid the hit. It’s self-preservation, a war of attrition out there” he said. “You can’t fault a guy for escapability.”

Sounded like the voice of reason to me. But maybe Wardo and me are on the island on this point. What do you think?

  • Published On Feb 28, 2013
  • 7 comments
    peterman123
    peterman123

    There's a difference between escaping a hit and taking out the hitter's legs causing him to flip into the boards.

    M20
    M20

    Olczyk's comments should go into the Hall of Fame of Dumb Sports Commentary.

    ferris1974
    ferris1974

    I fully support Yakupov's decision to duck the hit. So Eddy O...you're saying that the person receiving the check has the repsonsibilty of ensuring the safety of the checker rather than their own?? If players injure themselves by missing their checks, maybe they'll think twice about trying to put another player through the boards recklessly. If I'm Carcillo--hopefully I'd learn that I need to be closer to the player I'm checking and be in control when making contact, or risk injuring myself and/or the player being checked. Let's take you back to the days when you played--self-preservation options were to stick up an elbow up, bring up the stick or have your local enforcer patroling nearby. It was the checkers' decision to make the hit and ensure it was done correctly--or ultimately they would pay the price. I'm not condoning that individuals cowar out of hits, but rather, that players should focus more on ensuring that their checks take the player out of the play and not the game. In an era of hockey where concussions are on the rise, let's be reasonable about this folks!

    mefoster86
    mefoster86

    Great play by Yaukpov. Why should he sit there and get hit? Especially from a punk like Carcillo.

    inetadv
    inetadv

    Regarding Marchand-Salo, Salo was coming in from the point ready to flatten a smaller man, Marchand, going for a loose puck along the boards, so Marchand ALSO ducked out of the way to avoid the big hit. So Salo's OWN MOMENTUM, as he was turning sideways to deliver a shoulder, caused him to flip over the top of Marchand and land in a heap. Marchand was trying to escape the hit and keep chasing the puck. That's the way I saw it then while watching that game, and still the way I see it now.

     

    I don't see the big distinction Muir tries to make between the two. Muir says the distinction apparently is an 'open ice' situation. Open ice? - it's along the boards; but Salo was coming in from a different direction than Carcillo, so he FLIPPED over the top instead of crashing into the glass over the top. If one is OK, both are OK - and personally, I'm of the opinion that it IS OK to avoid being blasted, especially by a bigger man.

     

    Even IF it were 'open ice', the distinction is bogus. Based on that arbitrary distinction, I guess it would have been a 'dirty' play, worthy of a penalty, IF Hossa had seen Torres coming and ducked under his charge in the 'open ice' instead of absorbing a concussive hit, so as to protect Torres' safety!!  Guys have routinely delivered hip checks in open ice to hard charging puck carriers, with the opponent flipping head over heels, with no penalty or inference by commentators of a dirty play. It's called hockey!

    Ryan9
    Ryan9

    I'd be interested to know what Mickey Redmond thinks about this incident.

     

    Mickey is an old-time hockey player who often verbalizes on Red Wings telecasts that old time hockey had much less of these big injury-inducing board hits BECAUSE of the kind of self-preservation Yakupov displayed.  Most guys back then didn't want to go flying into the boards for a big hit because of the risk of getting an elbow to the face or whiffing and injuring yourself.

     

    Perhaps if more guys ducked out like Yakupov, less guys would go charging in like Carcillo, and we'd have a few less concussed superstars like Malkin.

    JoeCabot
    JoeCabot

    It was a late  hit/cheap shot by a player with a reputation for the same.   No player has an obligation to stand there and take it.