What the Matt Frattin Hit Says About The Dangers of the “Suffering” Attitude

Oct 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Matt Frattin (21) takes the puck down ice against the Calgary Flames in the first period of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres fans, if you watched the game between the Sabres and Los Angeles Kings last night, you probably witnessed the Matt Frattin hit on Cody McCormick that has some of the Buffalo media and bloggers up in arms:

Here’s what Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News had to say about the hit:

 

 

Meanwhile, Garth over at Sabres Buzz was commenting

 and even wrote this in his blog today:

FYI, the Kings visit the Sabres on Tuesday night. Were I the NHL, I’d sit Frattin for that game. If he skates away from the long arm from the NHL law like a few players have done recently (ie: Seidenberg and Chara), there’s no doubt that the Sabres will be looking for Frattin on Tuesday night. Isn’t that the way it works? Players police the players if the NHL won’t get involved?

Know what I say to all of this?  Please.

Hey, Sabres fans – I get it.  Some of us feel like the media has it out for the Buffalo Sabres; that John Scott and Patrick Kaleta have become targets of the league and that Gary Bettman and Brendan Shanahan are trying to make examples of the Sabres; that’s it’s just us against the world.

Whatever – I’m not going to get into all of that, because nothing I say or do is going to change how fans feel.  I will say, however, that this is much ado about nothing, and only serves to make some people dig in even deeper to the trenches.

Even watching that hit live, at full speed, I was okay with it.  First of all, was it a late hit?  No.  McCormick was still trying to control the puck when he got

Nov 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody McCormick (8) grabs Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) in the third period of the game at Staples Center. Kings won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

plowed.  He didn’t pass, or shoot; he simply lost control for a second and made the mistake of putting his head down in an effort to relocate the biscuit.

Second of all, was he actually defenseless?  Good lord, no.  Look: when you have control of the puck, you can get hit.  Does a hockey player in the NHL like McCormick NOT realize this?  Of course not.  If he wasn’t ready for the hit, it’s because he was so focused on getting the puck back on his stick that he let his guard down.  He’ll think twice about that next time.

Finally, was it a head shot?  Could be.  To me, there is zero intent on the part of Frattin to make contact with the head.  He’s coming in to check McCormick from the side, and McCormick winds up leaning forward as he reaches for the puck.  If Frattin does make contact with the head, and the league had chosen to suspend him, I would be okay with that – but I’m not hopping mad that he wasn’t penalized, since this is a case of McCormick leaning into the hit and moving his head into the principle area of contact.

And there’s the difference between a hit like this and John Scott’s hit on Loui Eriksson.  Eriksson was standing tall when Scott hit him; he was’t falling forward or turning abruptly.  Scott lined him up and hit him the head, maybe not with intent to injure, certainly, but with intent to hit him high.  Frattin, on the other hand, comes in for a hit, and it’s McCormick who determines where the hit lands.  Frattin doesn’t have his hands high, like he was intending to hit the head and follow through; nor does he try to adjust his body at the last second in order to make contact with McCormick’s head; he simply rushes in to make a hit and collides with the Sabres player who was foolish enough to turn away from the hit and go low right before impact.

Bottom line: this was a hard, but clean, hit.  I don’t mind that Tyler Myers went after Frattin – it’s good to see Myers getting a bit more physical out there.  What I do mind, however, is that people are crying foul over this hit and adding to the negative culture that pervades Buffalo chatter.  Missing in a lot of this?  The fact that the Sabres actually played a good game last night and wound up losing to a fairly good team with a really great goaltender.  The “Ryan Miller got hit by Milan Lucic” hangover needs to go away – it’s over and done with.  Right now, the Buffalo Sabres just are not a good hockey team, and whining about not getting the calls because the Sabres don’t win championships or have superstars isn’t going to help the cause.  Every professional sports league favors its big money-makers and superstars – it’s a fact of life.  Complaining about it won’t exactly endear you to the people you wish paid you more respect.

Being a Buffalo Sabres fan isn’t exactly easy right now, but if we start to look for injustice everywhere, we’ll find it, but at the expense of missing the bright spots.  I enjoyed last night’s game and felt pretty good about the young players that I watched, and look forward to seeing them in action again tonight.  Hope many of you feel the same way.

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Matt Frattin

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  • Andrew

    He was hit the head, but it was a legal hit.

    • Jes

      How is that possible? I thought all hits to the head were illegal? LOL

      • Andrew

        There’s a huge difference between purposely targeting the head, and hitting it incidentally.

  • [email protected]

    The only way I can protest against the NHL is not give them my money. So far, they haven’t received a dime from me this season, where normally I would have attended a few games by now minimum. A bit off topic, I know. But instead of complaining, I choose to speak with my wallet.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Excellent point – it’s the only way to really take a stand!

  • acpilkin

    The word intent makes me laugh. I don’t think any player intends to hit another in the head.

    To play devil’s advocate though, what if Cody got hurt? Does anything change then?

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      “I don’t think any player intends to hit another in the head.”

      Really? Wish I could be that naive.

      ” what if Cody got hurt? Does anything change then?”

      Nope. Shanahan should never consider injury. A clean hit is clean regardless of injury. A dirty hit is dirty, regardless of injury.

      • Kevin

        Maybe you haven’t spent enough time in the minor leagues Rich. I can assure you players do take out other players there. Trust me there is reason they can’t make it past the AA level.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          And that’s where hockey loses me – why are players taught to try and ruin careers? Where is the respect for the game and each other? I truly do not get it. There’s “dirty” players in other sports, but hockey really attracts some borderline criminals in some levels.

          • Kevin

            That was always my thought when i saw it with my own eyes. Just
            sickening and as you said borderline criminal. Classless. Oh the stories
            I could tell after 10yrs.

          • Dano

            Rich..

            “Where is the respect for the game and each other? I truly do not get it.”

            There doesnt need to be respect for each other. Theres people on the ice making money they arent worth. In YOUR job, if a person with 4years on the job makes 5 times as much as you do with say 10 years.. why should you ‘ respect ‘ them? When Arrogance shines and Humility is a word lost in the league, will there really be any player unity?

            As for ‘ respect for the game ‘, Bettman and Shannaban ( with the help of a Bruins father named Colin Campbell ) have taken that over for themselves. Players arent allowed to sneeze without facing discipline these days.

            The Mandated Visor rule and questioning every hit has become the normal routine as the front offices are trying to minimize the take over of the ‘ rats ‘. They are trying to do EVERYTHING they can to say ‘ Well, we tried to make the game safer, its all the players fault! ‘

            They wont leave the game alone.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Sorry – old school fan or not, I cannot endorse the idea of having no respect for the players who play the game with you. If you play hockey in Canada, you share a love for the game with people who play that sport everywhere in the world. Just because you want to win a game doesn’t make you seriously dislike and wish to harm a player wearing a different color jersey than you. This isn’t war or a conflict of nations; it’s a sport, and any player who seriously WANTS to hurt a fellow player . . . well, I won’t say. :)

          • Dano

            You dont have to endorse anything you dont want. Thats the whole point.

            What you DO ‘ have ‘ to do is see the reality of what there just ‘ is ‘.

            Your an optimist. Im a realist and see things for what they are. You and I.. we dont exist without the other. I understand the balance. Doesnt mean that I submit to others views but see them as milestones to achieve in defeating.

            What MANY people just dont understand or cannot comprehend is theres a baseline mentallity to MANY people of ‘ win at all costs ‘. NOTHING, no rules, no laws, no being told your the ‘ bad guy ‘ will change that.

            There was a way to dealing with this. The NHL and the ‘ everybody gets a trophy ‘ generation wants that way to be irradiated from the game.

            When the piper is gone, the rats come back.

            Like it or not, some players DO DESERVE to have someone take a run at them. All the river crying and name calling wont change it and certainly wont stop it from happening in the future.

            Kaleta will look like a choir boy 5 years from now, you heard it here first. :D

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            “Like it or not, some players DO DESERVE to have someone take a run at them.”

            I agree with this – in any sport, as in any walk of life, there are creeps who deserve a swift kick in the ass (or to get plowed into on the ice, as it were!).

            And believe me – not everybody deserves a trophy! :) I coach – some kids are terrible, some teams are terrible, and their effort, while appreciated, doesn’t earn them a special participation award in my book once they are past 5-6 years of age.

            I want to win as much as anyone – as a coach, I obsess over losses and really like to gameplan for the next game – but if I ever taught my players to try and injure another players in order to win a game, I would have to walk away from sports altogether. Win at any costs is a saying, not an actual practice.

          • Dano

            ” Win at any costs is a saying, not an actual practice.”

            It IS AN ACTUAL PRACTICE. Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadal Canal , Fallujah Iraq.. Theres one group of people whom not only practice such, but *embrace* it.

            Today is their ( my ) birthday. 10Nov1775, Tun Tavern PA.

            I understand your a teacher and a fan of the game, but theres a LOT of places Ive been and a lot of things I have seen that *I* would apply to hockey. Its the mindset to never quit. There is no pain. Nothing is impossible.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Darn it, I mean in sports! lol

            I don’t compare winning a game to an actual war/battle. I know we use the same terminology often, but if people truly think that winning a hockey game is as important as winning a war . . . you can apply that mindset to hockey, and I hope my son never gives up, but if he ever tells me he thought the only way to win was to try and hurt another player, I’ll take his gear and sell it on eBay! :)

          • Dano

            The way to deal with rats is to bring a bigger rat. If a team has a questionable guy, you bring a Goon for their star players/pests.

            Such FORCES a mutual respect. Like the whole M.A.D. scenario of the 80′s.

            Sports is no different. Its a part of life or just another task in life one wishes to achieve.

            If My son were on a team, and someone ran one of his teammates and he wasnt over the boards.. I would sell his gear on Ebay.

            I say that in full sincerity.

            Thats one of the items missing with the Sabres. They arent a ‘ team ‘ outside of whats on the front of their jersies. They tend to care more about whats on the BACK of their jersies endless they are frustrated.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            I would want my kid to defend his teammates, as well – I don’t care if he fights over stuff like that. I just don’t want him trying to check a kid head-first into the boards with the intent to ruin his career!

          • Dano

            I wouldnt want my boy checking another kid in the head BUT!!!! I do know there IS a time and place for it.

            Being honest about these things doesnt always win favor, but I hope people can appreciate the honesty part of it ;)

      • Jes

        Ya Rich there aren’t any players out there that have the intent to injure out there. That’s just dumb thinking IMO. People get hurt. It’s a fast paced game. Head shots will happen. A player will be coming in with a lot a speed and at the last second the other player changes his direction which causes the hit to be even more severe than it was originally supposed to be. It’s a game of inches. And in a game of inches one slight move can be the difference between a dirty hit and a clean hit. Like honestly some players just end up walking into the hit,

    • Kevin

      Only when it’s a true suspendable penalty turned into the league does it factor in.

    • Dano

      Acpilkin : I’ll tell you straight up.. I’ve INTENTIONALLY thrown a headshot/cheap hit on someone in my days. Yep, left him on the ice, No remorse for it either. Unlike Miller, you dont run the goaltender of my team and expect to stay conscious for the rest of the game.

      An Example of a head hunter in the NHL would be Steve Stevens ( Devils ). He would hit but was known to get some heads. He tagged them all too often for me to sit back and deny it wasnt intentional.

      How about Darian Hatcher? Ask Petr Sykora about that hit in Game 6 of the finals in 99-00. Skates backwards, fortifies the extended elbow.. nothing but head connecting to elbow, pulled the skates right out from under him.

      Headshots are going to increase. Dirty play is going to get worse then it presently is.

  • Dano

    This is for McCormic to step up to. Myers already addressed it. Play on, its over and done with.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Didn’t McCormick get a lick on Frattin in the third? It was late, so my memory is a bit fuzzy!

      • Kevin

        yes he did, but it wasn’t much

  • Caitlin Campbell

    Good hard legal hit

  • Joe

    you obviously have no knowledge of hockey. based on your argument neither scott nor kaleta should’ve been suspended. on kaletas Johnson is leaning forward looking down at the puck and when he sees at the last second kaleta is coming he tries to stop to avoid it leaving his head out and that’s how kaleta hit him in the head. on john scotts erikson is leaning forward also with his head down and that’s wat causes scott to hit his head. obviously you are as blind as the nhl is in determining the cause of hits to the head. kaletas and scotts suspensions do nothing but tell players the can skate with their heads down and not pay the price

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Ah, yes – you’re the one who keeps telling me I know nothing about hockey. Of course, you only comment on my writing when you do’t agree – that’s fair!

      See the part where I said I could see why the NHL might suspend him? If they want to police all head shots, regardless of intent, I would be okay with that. No arguments. This is much, much different than the hit Scott put on Eriksson, though, so the fact that you even try to compare them shows me which of us knows more about hockey. Let’s not pick fights here – agree or disagree without making it personal. Thanks.

      • Joe

        I do appologize for making it personal. These are just the kind of things that make me so anfry at the nhl and wat it has become. But scotts hit is the same thing. Scott threw a body check just like frattin did. The reasons scotts looks so bad is bc his elbow comes out but if u watch closely his leg also comes out bc he is trying to avoid worse contact than actually happened. Also scot has 0 history as a dirty player. Enforcer/fighter yes but not dirty yet frattin does have a history so there is a huge difference there as well

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          See – now I can get on the same page as you. I was surprised that Scott had no history of suspensions, and even though I knew the league would ignore that, that doesn’t make their trying to make an example of him ok. I didn’t appreciate his hit, but compared to players who are reckless and do cause injury far more frequently, Scott is not the guy the league needs to worry about.

          Thanks, Joe!!

          • Kevin

            Also part of the reason – believe it or not – Scott’s situation was blown out of proportion was his size and the fact that everyone in the league new that his role was just to go out and — as they put it — punish the opposition. I really wonder if those 2 things had anything to help with the peer pressure Shanny was under when he made the decision.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Like when Claude Julien said (paraphrasing), “He did what he was supposed to do, hurt someone,” right? I’m sure that affected Shanahan, even though it shouldn’t. The NHL still doesn’t know how to handle discipline properly. Right or wrong, the other sports have clear-cut suspensions laid out for every type of infraction. Shanahan picks and chooses who he punishes, and just makes it up as he goes along.

            Yet Scott’s hit was still dirty, versus Frattin’s, which is why I resent some of these media guys trying to use it as proof that there is a conspiracy against the Sabres.

          • Kevin

            That was always my thought when i saw it with my own eyes. Just sickening and as you said borderline criminal. Classless. Oh the stories I could tell after 10yrs.

          • Kevin

            Nevermind replied in the wrong place :D

          • Jes

            Ya Julien is an idiot. Scott’s job isn’t to go out there and hurt someone. His job is to intimidate and drop the gloves if necessary. Scott’s hit IMO was blown way out proportion. Obviously Frattin won’t get a suspension even though IMO it was a shot to the head and should be punished. Hey and I am buying into this whole conspiracy against the Sabres thing. There have been many dirty hits if not all dirty hits in the last 2-3 years that have not been called against us. Total BS. But whatever.

  • Justin Tosczak

    Amen.

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