Jacob Trouba's big hit was within the rules, but should it be?
The Rangers captain's open-ice play on Timo Meier wasn't penalized but while it was clean by the rule book, hits of this nature are becoming more and more questionable in the NHL.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I gotta push back on your pushback point. Jacob Trouba laid out Timo Meier. They did show some pushback, right? What a dumb hit.
OMAR: -- talk about the rule book, man.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yo. Here's the thing. I understand, by the letter of the law, it is clean. It's a clean hit. I understand. It's written in the rule book. It was dealt with correctly on the ice.
I don't like seeing hits like this. I don't like seeing a player trying to make this hit when he could be making a play on the puck. I understand Timo Meier's head should be up high. And in situations like that, you cannot afford to not have a sense of direction on the ice and have your wits about you. You need to have that happen.
But you know where Timo Meier is looking on that replay? Go on the freeze frames, go look at that play again. You know where his head is going towards? The puck. You know, where you're supposed to create offense, where you're supposed to go.
People are like, oh, you gotta keep your head up. He's trying to go where the puck is going. And Jacob Trouba, is he trying to make a play on the puck? No, he's not. He's not.
So the idea-- like, look, I get, to the letter of the law, it's clean. But the idea that people are defending that type of stuff, who say, hey, man, that's just what it is, man. You know, he should just really just keep his head up. And that's just how it should be, man, you know. Are you kidding me? This shouldn't happen.
This is the type of stuff that should be gone from the game. Like why is this something that should be there? Let me calm down.
SAM CHANG: It's an unserious league. Like you know that. The fact that that's considered a legal hit, not serious. The fact that Jordan Eberle can break Andrew Cogliano's neck and he comes back and plays, and then we find out he broke his neck and there's no suspension. I'm serious. This league doesn't care about player safety. Like they couldn't make it more obvious.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: They don't.
SAM CHANG: It's a joke.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: And people talk about, oh, you know, that's hockey. If you actually watch some hockey outside your NHL sphere, you would know, in Europe, that's an ejection every single time, because European leagues have-- and [INAUDIBLE]-- have a zero tolerance for any head contact, either intentional or not, either a guy looking down. The [INAUDIBLE] has said, head contact, doesn't matter how it is, you're ejected, you're gone. A zero tolerance.
So no, it's not, that's hockey. You're NHL [INAUDIBLE] by what you think an illegal play in hockey. And you know what, granted, I'll admit, 10, 15 years ago, we all would have been, oh, what a hit, what a play. But Trouba's hit wasn't a play to separate a player from the puck. That was a hit that--
OMAR: No. No.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: That was on a play that [INAUDIBLE]. He had a hit on Kadri earlier this year, which was a hit to get him away from the puck. That was a good hit. This hit on Trouba-- I'm sorry, on Meier-- that was a dangerous, reckless hit. And don't sort of BS about, you know, oh, clean hit to the head. No hit to the head should be deemed clean, period, in the NHL. None. Zero.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's an oxymoron.
SAM CHANG: No. And anyone who's like, well, if you take that out of the game, I'm not watching it. Like, you're--
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Bye.
SAM CHANG: You're a dirty liar, OK? You're a dirty liar. I guarantee you people who say that watch the World Juniors every year. And if you're telling me that you wouldn't have wanted to watch more of Paul Kariya before that hit changed his entire career, you're lying. Like nobody is going out there thinking, I'd rather see that one hit that one time than 10 more years of like [INAUDIBLE].
OMAR: Yeah. And that's the thing, too, is that we spend so many times talking about the legacy of players and like, oh, if only they were healthy, or if only this happened or that happened.
SAM CHANG: Eric Lindross.
OMAR: We could have got like more years with them. It's like, yeah, because like they're skating around thinking these hits are OK, because based off the rules, it is. But that's a problem. That's what needs to be changed. Allen Walsh has been a huge champion of, whether it's accidental or on purpose-- Avry, you mentioned it-- it should be, there needs to be something for it.
Like if you want to keep the players safe, for frickin' sake, like, oh, my god, I don't, I don't, I don't get it. I don't understand it. It's just, it's an oxymoron, as Julian mentioned. It does, it literally, there's no time and effort for it, as Sam mentioned. It just like-- like it's so frustrating that the joke of like the spinning wheel for player safety is actually a spinning wheel.
Go through the NHL Player Safety Twitter account and see all of the things that have gotten disciplinary action, and then ask yourself, oh, wow, there's only been five things? No.
Again, Cogliano has a broken frickin' neck, man. And Sam Lafferty's high stick, crosscheck got more for that. It makes no-- the league is not safe for players. Change my mind. You cannot.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: You know what it is? Oh, go ahead, Sam, you finish.
SAM CHANG: Sorry. When I say this league, it's not just the league. The PA does an absolute trash job of protecting the players.
OMAR: It's the worst union in professional sports. Like, bar none. Like, oh, my god.
SAM CHANG: And sorry, to be clear, they're terrible at the player protection part of the job. Apparently what their primary purpose is is getting the money, and they don't even really get them paid compared to the other big leagues. So what does the PA do?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's a whole other podcast in itself, if we're going to talk about the amount of money, or lack thereof, for NHL players. Yeah.
All I just want to say is that hockey is a purely physical game. And I don't think we're at a point where that part of the game needs to be taken out. And I don't think that's under siege when we say that we don't want hits to the head. Like just because I say that the Jacob Trouba hit is bad, it doesn't mean I don't want to see any type of physical contact. Doesn't mean any of us don't want to see any of that. It is a part of the game. And there's ways of going about it that are more sensible than whatever the hell Jacob Trouba did.