The ECHL suspended Tyler Murovich 12 games for what they called a “careless, reckless” play.
I think that’s the most accurate way to describe it and that’s the saddest part about it.
It wasn’t violent. It wasn’t overly aggressive. It wasn’t barbaric. It was just…reckless. So depressingly reckless. To take your stick or hands and push a person from behind toward the boards, even if it’s just a little nudge, is potentially destructive.
Video: Best of Hockey!
So why would anyone push from behind at all?
Most of the time nothing bad happens with these little pushes. It’s such a unique action really. The difference between a legal, unharmful push no one notices and an illegal, potentially lethal push that could warrant a lifelong ban is very, very small. Generally even illegal ones only earn a two minute minor that often isn’t even for boarding but for cross checking. Its not something everyone usually freaks out about and demands justice for. It’s the thought of what might happen that makes a person quietly go, really? Did he just do that?
Well, kids. Here’s what could happen. A broken neck and broken back. Thankfully not a death, yet. Thankfully Anthony Calabrese, the unfortunate recipient, seems to be making a solid recovery.
No one can deny the only reason the suspension is 12 games is from the result, not from the play itself. IF Malabrese doesn’t have broken vertebrae, we probably only know the name Murovich at most as some guy who took a boarding minor and got in a fight that time. Herein lies the problem. If no injury happens it’s hard to justify any suspension for a little “harmless” push. But they should suspend. Here’s your justification looking us right in the eye. The NHL, the ECHL, and basically any hockey governing body in the known universe needs to do a better job of communicating WHY this is a reckless play. They need to do it for the kids.
What makes this play more reckless and careless than the other 2 or 3 times per game this happens that no one talks about? This one is a little more obvious in that Calabrese doesn’t have the puck, isn’t eligible to be hit, and therefore shouldn’t be worried about bracing for one. But that still doesn’t mean he’ll automatically fly in head first the way he did. And to be as fair to Murovich as possible, he didn’t even push up high in the back or anything. He gave a standard issue nudge to the hips. For how dirty this play overall was, his actual technique was fairly clean. What made it dangerous was the timing of it, and the posture of Malabrese, who was already leaned forward slightly, head leading. I am in no way insinuating Malabrese shares any blame here. Like I said, he’s not eligible and wouldn’t even consider being hit at the time. This is ALL Murovich. But I bring up his technique to ask how this is any more dangerous than when a player has the puck, is braced for impact, but the hitter pushes higher up at the mid back or shoulders and forces the head forward into the boards by his actions alone?
You’re right. It isn’t less dangerous. They’re both ridiculously dangerous. But there’s never a suspension unless someone breaks a neck.
I hope this 12 game suspension for worst case leads to a few scattered 1,2, or 3 game suspensions at the NHL level based on what might have been from hits like this:
Video: Marc NHL
Video: Eric Burton