Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okposo Carted Off on Stretcher; Isles Lead 3-2 Midway Through

Hold your breath, Islanders fans. Just past the five-minute mark of tonight's preseason game in Calgary, Kyle Okposo absorbed a hit from Dion Phaneuf and didn't get off the ice. He left the playing surface immobilized on a stretcher. No replays of the hit were made available on the streaming broadcast.

The Islanders lead 3-2 on goals by Trevor Smith, Blake Comeau, and Matt Moulson on the power play. Martin Biron played the first half of the game and has now given way to Kevin Poulin. It's a testy affair and promises to get even testier down the stretch.

Update on Okposo to follow when available.

Update: Chris Botta reports that Okposo called his father to say that he's all right. That, of course, pending a medical update from someone other than Okposo.

Point Blank also links to video of the hit on Fanhouse. Phaneuf is simply the next in a too-long line of guys who has no respect for the amount of damage he can inflict on another human being. You can't let up in the heat of the action? Of course you can, especially in an early preseason game. Phaneuf could have played the body any number of ways without taking the livelihood of a promising young player in his hands.


goFlameShit said...

awesome fucking hit phaneuf hammered that douche okposo it was a thing of beauty

Islanders Outsider said...

Should I be flattered that after being on hiatus for large chunks of the summer that this is where a Flames fan comes to post this?

kellyn said...

I'm not a Flames fan, but after watching several different video clips of the incident, I cannot help but disagree with your assessment of the legality of the hit. It appears that Okposo was attempting to carry the puck up ice through the neutral zone and didn't see Phaneuf coming from right to left to meet him going in the opposite direction in a reverse, Scott Stevens-esque shoulder check (Steves MO was to catch opposing forwards at the blue line going from left to right). Phaneuf's feet didn't leave the ground until he had already made impact, so it wasn't charging, and any contact his shoulder made with Okposo's head was the incidental result of Okposo's failure to keep his head up while skating through the neutral zone rather than Phaneuf purposefully targetting his head, the former of which is not an offense punishable by a penalty according to the NHL rule book as it currently stands. While I hope that the reports coming from the Islanders camp that Okposo has suffered only minor injuries from the hit are true and I wish him a speedy recovery, there was technically nothing wrong with that hit.

Islanders Outsider said...

That's a fair enough assessment. These things always come down to judgment and perception. I'm not so quick to dismiss the charge call. Rule 43.1 states:

"Charging shall mean the actions of a player or goalkeeper who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice."

Stu Hackel of The New York Times estimates that Phaneuf lined up Okposo from 45 away. Stu's take on the incident is definitely worth a read.

So many want to assign blame to Okposo for having his head down. The sequence suggests that having his head down may have been an unforunate byproduct of the contact with Dawes. But, setting that aside, if Okposo is expected to be responsible for knowing where Phaneuf is on the ice, is it too much to ask for Phaneuf to be responsible for knowing where Okposo's head is when he hits him? And make every effort to take him off the puck without attempting to destroy him?