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Houston: Melnyk should look at his own team

Among those condemning the Steve Downie hit on Ottawa Senators Dean McAmmond was Senators owner Eugene Melynk who called Downie a “goon” and the incident “a bag of dirt.” He also told the Fan 590 in Toronto that Downie, a Philadelphia Flyer prospect, shouldn’t be in the NHL.

Tough talk. But how different would Melnyk’s commentary have been if one of his own players was in trouble over a head shot? Two days earlier, Senators Chris Neil left his feet to hit the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Bryan McCabe from behind. It was a cheap shot and should have been called, prompting Leafs TV game analyst Harry Neale to note that “a one-handed hook” draws a penalty, but Neil’s hit did not.

Neil is a dirty player. Last season, he blind-sided Buffalo’s Chris Drury with a vicious hit, opening up a 20-inch gash on his forehead. Another of Melynk’s players is Brian McGrattan, who fits his owner’s description of goon – a fighter with few if any hockey skills. McGrattan promised retribution against Downie, but Melynk condoned McGrattan’s remark, describing him as an “emotional” person. Yes, well, so is Downie, who was hit from behind a few seconds before he smashed into McAmmond.

We’re not saying Melnyk is a hypocrite, but his one-sided view of the hockey world might explain why nothing ever gets done to stop the craziness.
  

  1. D. Snyder from Canada writes: Well said. Finally, an objective journalistic response to this situation.
  2. Mike Mike from writes: Agreed. Finally Senators are called to the task of being dirty. The only unfortunate thing about Downie's hit was that it was McAmmond and not Neil on the receiving end of it. (or Alfredsson)
  3. John Douglas from Dartmouth, Canada writes: What garbage, there was nothing wrong with Neil's hit. It was a hockey play. What Downie did was criminal. Bunch of Leaf sycophants.
  4. Donny Lalouche from Vancouver, Canada writes: Thank you William Houston for putting some water on all the Apocalyptic bally-hoo that everyone seems to be spewing these days.

    Sports Journalism has turned itself into a modern day Witch Trials with every writer believing that if only they raised the shrillness of their rhetoric and sounded more like a shrieking child on the midway maybe their point will be embiggened;0

    As noted in a post earlier - every team has a guy like Downie on it and every team would take him if they could.

    And - McAmmond had his head down playing against Philadelphia - the gooniest team in the league.

    Keep. Your. Head. Up.
  5. Guy Smiley from Canada writes: A 20-inch gash on the forehead? Yikes! That's one big forehead.

    I think it was 20 stitches in a one inch scratch.
  6. Brendan Ashcroft from Toronto, writes: Great comment. Would anyone have a problem with Downie's hit if he was wearing a TEAM CANADA jersey....?
  7. An Objective Hockey fan from Nepean, Canada writes: What a load of garbage. If Neil is such a dirty player why has he never been suspended?

    Maybe if you'd take the blue filters out of your coke bottle glasses, you'd have seen that the hit on Drury was legal. And if Neil's alleged hit on McCabe was that bad I'm sure all the toronto based sportscasts would be running it first and replaying it over and over.

    And just because McGrattan is a tough guy who drops the gloves doesn't make him a cheapshot artist. Even though toronto's beloved Tie Domi was both a cheapshot artist and a tough guy doesn't mean that they all are. In fact most tough guys in the league don't try to injure their opponents.

    Stick to telling us what the tv ratings are, Houston, because your hockey insight is non-existent.
  8. Cassandra from Ottawa from Ottawa, Canada writes: Let's see-a sports writer for the Globe and Mail who follows the Leafs complaining that the Sens are dirty? And quoting the Leafs boosters from Leafs TV to prove his point? Ho ho Whatever the 'objective 'observers from the laughable Leafs TV (The Passion!! The Heartbreak!!) such as Harry Neale may say, Neil is much more respected league wide than, for example,Darcy Tucker. Harry Neale crying about a missed penalty against his beloved Leafs? Not possible!! Alert the press!! The Leafs have fielded goon squads for years,though you would never know it from the 'naitional' media such as Harry Neale, Don Cherry and Bill Waters and now Mr Wharnsby. Its true that with the departure of Domi and Marchment and a few others, they are not as goonish as they used to be ,however, they still have Darcy Tucker, Wade Belak,Bryan McCabe and others who do their best to uphold the Leafs traditon of cheap plays. Of course, any such plays by the Leafs would pass unremakred by Harry Neale. Many of the teams have tough guys-enforcers if you will. Maybe one day that will not be necessary.Lets all hope so. But it does not mean that these players recklessly try to end the carreer of other players. Please note the reaction of the other players in the league to this incident. Perhaps Wharnsby is trying to prove himself as an even more loyal Leafs booster than his colleague, Dave Shoalts. It is not Melnyk, but Wharnsby himself who has lost credibility with this partisan attack, Wharnsby cannot pretend to be other than just another member of Leaf Nation.
  9. Gideon Goldshlager from Canada writes: What a load of BS. How is this objective journalism? Houston has to be the worst hockey writer in the land.

    First off- if Neil and McGrattan are so dirty, how come they've never been suspended?

    Second, even if Downie's hit wasn't dirty and illegal, what do you expect Melnyk to say - that it was his own player's fault? He's the bloody owner. That's like asking Leafs TV to predict the Sens will win the Cup.
  10. Cassandra from Ottawa from Ottawa, Canada writes: My apologies to Wharnsby-this is a William Houston Article.

    That is not so surprising.

    We have seen this act before form Houston-He is always
    complaining about the Sens or any other team as compared to his Leafs.

    Wharnsby has usually been much more unbiased.

    It all makes sense now.
  11. justin sharp from Canada writes: A player was almost killed by a pre-meditated hit (20 seconds ealier Shcuberts had layed Downie out big in a clean hit) and Melnyk should look at this own team?? Where exactly does your position on the issue stem from Mr Houston? I must say, this is simply atrocious journalism. In addition, The Senators as an organization and team are pure class, something the Flyers (and yes, the sad sack Leafs) are ridiculously far from being.

    I also might add that Chris Drury opened his '20-inch gash....' upon falling to the ice with his helmet, which had not been properly fashioned to his head to begin with.

    As a journalist, it may be a good idea not to write down the first things that comes to mind, especially if such things make no literal sense whatsoever.
  12. David P from Calgary (formerly from Vancouver), Canada writes: Nice - a pro Loaf writer complaining about the Sens - Neil's hit was clean, just because the most professional whiner in hockey (Lindy Ruff) blew a fuse - Ruff wasn't above that when he played...McGrattan I'm sure is remembered by Leafs fans for tattooing his fists into Tie Domi's noggin - so not sure how objective any hockey writer for the G&M actually is seeing as they all wear Leafs jammies at night...Surprised no one has brought up Boogaard with the Wild - he goes out to hurt people on a regular basis, but because his plays in Minnesota no one cares...
  13. Harveyst1 Schmidlap from kingston, Canada writes: Well the gals fans are back out of rehab after the Stanley flop of June. Talk about blinders being on, pass the koolaid please! Yeah, Briere had his helmut on wrong. Neil only made a legal hit. Check the similiarities here, head down, just got rid of the puck, hit in head by player who left his feet to complete the hit which the player didn't see coming, and unconscious with a concussion. Oh now I see the difference. The hit by the big bad Flyer was on a gal.

    Get real gal fans. If you play like that, you will get hit like that. Take it and get over it. The gals have a reputation throughout the League as being a bunch of babies who can't take it. Look at the cheap shot artists in their dollhouse,-Heatley, Neil, Schubert, Boots Havlat and Take your eye out Hossa both since departed, and Danielle The Clown to name a few. The hit by Downie was fine and maybe a bit aggressive but no worse than the Neil hit on Briere which went unpenalized.

    Stop crying Ottawa.
  14. An Objective Hockey fan from Nepean, Canada writes: It's nice that the inmates at Millhaven have internet access.
  15. Harveyst1 Schmidlap from kingston, Canada writes: Ooops, I said Briere but of course I meant Drury.

    Sens fans and Sens suck.
  16. An Objective Hockey fan from Nepean, Canada writes: Hey Harveyst1, does Millhaven have a communal computer or do you get to keep your own in your cell?
  17. Harveyst1 Schmidlap from kingston, Canada writes: Actually I just finished a round of golf and am now having a beer, but to humour you 'Retarted Hockey Fan from Nippean', no I use the Warden's computer. See he is 'Knowledgeable Hockey fan from Kingston, Canada'.

    Get a life.

    Sens suck.
  18. Harveyst1 Schmidlap from kingston, Canada writes: Well you just proved on all levels what I have been saying for years. Sens fans reflect their team. Keep hoping Nepean, but success for them is about as likely as it is for you.
  19. Gideon Goldshlager from Canada writes: Sorry Harvey you must've edited your own highlights if you think Neil's and Downie's hits are similar- Neil didn't leave his feet, nor did he take an 18-foot run at Drury.

    I knew Kingstonians were simpletons but you take the cake. Even members of your own hapless squad that you worship and empty your pockets on think it was a dirty hit loser!

    Take all that bitterness in cheering for a team that's sucked for the better part of half a century, put your Davey Keon jersey on and join the inmate circle jerk to Leafs TV d*cksmack!

    Bwahahaha Loser Nation
  20. An Objective Hockey fan from Nepean, Canada writes: Gideon, it's unfair to call Kingston residents simpletons based upon the rantings of someone who is only residing in Kingston because that's where the courts have placed them.
  21. Gideon Goldshlager from Canada writes: Sorry Hockey fan- I amend 'simpleton' to read 'witless mongoloid a*schin'.
  22. Mark Holmes from Parry Sound, Canada writes: Yeah....Downie shouldn't have done it, Magratton's a goon, Neil hit McCabe, What are they doing about head shots?????????
  23. Clem Brown from Metcalfe, On., Canada writes: "Twenty inch gash", Must have one big forehead. "Left his feet", did he go back for them?
  24. rob johnston from Guelph, writes: I expected better from the Globe.
  25. Nathan D from Canada writes: I you want credible evidence that this hit was not tolerated by anyone in the know, listen to the feeback from the other teams in the NHL. For gods sake Blake said Downie should not be allowed to play in the league anymore...
  26. al rain from Calgary, writes: Leafs and Sens are the same thing out here in Flames country so perhaps I qualify as an objective voice.

    Neil's hit on Drury was scary but legal. Can't comment on the McCabe hit.
    McGratten is an enforcer (and a good one). All teams have one.
    Downie is a piece of sh*t. My verdict would be 110 games (82 28).
    Harry Neal doesn't get the credit for his senility that he deserves only because he works with Bob Cole.
    Houston is biased against the Sens, is being purposefully contrarian or is just dumb. Either way he deserves only to be ignored.
  27. Mr. Smitty from Canada writes: Wow, most of the comments here have done a wonderful job of making Houston's point for him. I don't think he was trying to call the Sens out as dirty, he was trying to point out that everyone will always excuse (and even encourage) the hits when it's their team, but when one of their players get hurt, the guy should be thrown out of the league. The Leaf fans did the same thing last year with Kaberle.

    Neil is a guy who hasn't been suspended (although when you have to point that out for 4-5 incidents per year, the excuse is getting thin), but watching him play, it's pretty safe to say that if he gets a chance to hit you in the head, he's going to take it. Now are people upset at Downie because he left his feet, or because he intentionally went after a guy's head when he didn't see him coming?

    That's the point! There's a player on the Sens team who will go out to injure you the first chance you give him (he's said himself that he hits to injure), but he's celebrated because he plays on the right team.

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