Friday, February 02, 2007

Over in San Jose...

There's an interesting situation going on right now in San Jose that's ended with some nasty stares being exchanged between Eric Lindros of the Dallas Stars and Doug Murray of the San Jose Sharks.

It all started a few minutes ago, as Murray was skating deep in his own end along the right wing boards looking to throw the puck behind the net to clear the zone. Coming hard on the forecheck was Lindros, who cut off Murray right before the goal line with a leg on leg hit that sent both players spinning. While getting pinwheeled, Murray only had one hand on his stick, and as he spun, the shaft of his stick caught Lindros on the side of the head sending him to the ice.

After getting back up, Lindros called out Murray, skating over to him and delivering a forceful cross-check. Murray, not wanting to put up with it, turned, dropped his gloves and faced Lindros.

Which is where Chris Barch came in, dropped his gloves, and took on Murray himself.

After the fight ended with Murray wrestling Barch to the ice, here's how it shook out:

Murray: 2 minutes for high sticking, 5 minutes for fighting.
Lindros: 2 minutes for cross-checking.
Barch: 2 minutes for instigating, 5 minutes for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

With Lindros in the box, you could hear one San Jose fan call him out and ask if he couldn't fight his own battles. But as I'm finding out in Ross Bernstein's book, The Code, things played out here pretty much as they should have. And the presence of the instigator penalty might very well have prevented justice from being fully served.

From the way I see it, Wilson is a young kid who needs to control his stick no matter what. The Sharks broadcast team described his high stick as unintentional, but after looking at it a few times, it seemed borderline to me.

In any case, a young player who clips another player in the head with a high stick has got to pay a price -- doubly so if the victim is Lindros, a veteran player with a history of concussions. Once Lindros delivered the cross-check, that message was sent. But when Murray dropped the gloves, it was time for Barch to step in and protect one of his team's top performers.

In other words, it was Barch's job to stand up for Lindros, as crazy as that might sound to those of us who remember what kind of player he was early on in his career.

Bottom line: I don't think this is over. The game is tight right now, so we might not see retaliation from Dallas right away, but sometime, somewhere the Dallas Stars will exact their revenge on him.

In other words, Murray transgressed against the code, and the Sharks wound up with a power play. Is that fair? I'm sure Dallas doesn't think so.

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