Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Rant on Elizabeth Lambert and her apology

Yahoo Sports Blog: Vilified New Mexico soccer player breaks her silence By Chris Chase

First off, I stand by this even today. She's only sorry because she got caught and became vilified by the media.

A poster on this article commented about how video compilations seem exaggerate the actions of the one in question. He claimed how a video compilation of Dennis Rodman's cheap shots throughout his career would leave us all wondering why he wasn't suspended indefinitely from the NBA. Fair enough, however keep in mind all of Elizabeth Lambert's cheap shots came in ONE GAME, not an entire season, or even a multi-year career.

Seeing her cheap shots, especially the hair pulling, remind me too much of Todd Bertuzzi's cheap shot on Steve Moore. For those who don't know the history of the Bertuzzi incident, on February 16th, 2004, Steve Moore checked and injured Canucks captain and NHL leading scorer at the time Marcus Naslund. The check was questionable and as a result Naslund missed three games with a concussion and a bone chip in his elbow. Moore was not penalized, fined, or suspended because of this hit. Canucks players and coaches were appalled, players vowed to get even, one went as far as putting a bounty on Moore's head.

So the next time the Canucks and Avs played, the NHL execs kept a close eye on the game, no major incidents occurred and ironically the game ended in a tie. March 8th, 2004, another rematch. First period, Moore fights Matt Cooke of the Canucks. Both serve a five minute fighting penalty. The Avs went on to build a large lead. Late in the third period, Todd Bertuzzi is sent onto the ice with the intent of picking a fight with Moore. Bertuzzi fails to get Moore to bite on the bait, and continues to skate behind Moore for a long period of time when Bertuzzi finally grabs Moore's jersey, punches him in the head from behind, drives his head into the ice, and continues to punch him after Moore was down. Moore suffered three fractured vertebrate in his neck, cuts and a concussion. Moore laid unconscious and motionless on the ice for about 10 minutes until he was wheeled off in a stretcher.
Bertuzzi was immediately suspended for the remainder of the season, the playoffs, and was barred from any international play during the lockout of the 2004-2005 season. He was reinstated for the 2005-2006 season.

If Lambert played hockey, regardless of if she was penalized after the first punch, an enforcer would have checked her the next time she was on the ice, probably resulting in a fight. If Lambert continued to throw cheap shots, then things would have probably escalated to a bench clearing brawl.

Hockey and Soccer are two totally different animals, I understand that. Moore's hit on Naslund was questionable, I'll concede that. And he probably should have been penalized/fined/suspended by the NHL as weird as it sounds for his own protection. I think some repercussions from the NHL would have calmed the storm in Vancouver a little. I don't know if it could have prevented it all, but hind sight is 20/20. Regardless Moore skated freely, and I'm sure he was told by his teammates for the remaining games against the Canucks to keep his head on a swivel.

Granted a soccer pitch is many times larger than a hockey rink, but at some point someone had to bring Lambert's actions to the attention of the officiating crew. Had they decided to intervene, ie give warnings, a yellow card, then a red card, the score would have been settled, Lambert would have been ejected, and the media would probably have not even blinked twice at this. But to watch Lambert get away with cheap shot after cheap shot, and only get a yellow card for an obviously injury seeking trip/leg-lock was appalling.

Yes I like the way hockey protects its stars, if you get a cheap hit on someone you will pay your dues, but NHL players walk on very thin ice (pun intended) on getting retribution and becoming the next Bertuzzi vs Moore incident.