The Monday After: The best – or worst – of intentions

Dundee Stars forward Egil Kalns missed Saturday's game through a DOPS suspension, but how was his offence judged to have no intent to injure? (PHOTO: Derek Black)

THE BEST – OR WORST – OF INTENTIONS

As the first DOPS rulings for the new season came into the public domain, there was one word that stuck for me reading one of the summaries of the incident in question.

“Intent.”

As we all know, DOPS can be a contentious issue and, with the hindsight of having some level of insider knowledge on how the process works, it’s probably in better hands than it’s ever been under Lyle Seitz and his Player Safety Committee.

And far be it for me to question the experience and knowledge of these guys and the job they do, because they’ve forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about this wonderful sport.

But I’m often left scratching my head when a sentence is inserted into a DOPS verdict making the assertion that a player acted with the “intention to injure.”

This was made in the determination of Dundee Stars’ Egil Kalns, who was given a one-game ban for the check to the head of Glasgow Clan’s Craig Moore last week.

I’m not going to go down the road of questioning why such an offence was deemed to be worthy of a single game ban.  The guys making the decisions have their reasons and I’m sure it’s perfectly feasible one.

But this was the latest verdict that carried this particular caveat and I’m more than happy to be educated on this, but how do you measure a level of intent from an offending player?

DOPS look extensively at footage to determine and judge incidents (PHOTO: Steelers TV)

There may be incidents where, for example, two players will chase for a puck, the one behind lets frustrations get the better of them and they cross check them into the boards.  You can perhaps use ‘intent’ as a means for a judgment.

But in the case of the Kalns one last week, which stated “It is felt Kalns was not making the check with an intent to injure”, going by the video I watched and the slo-mo version, how is intention to injure judged?

The video angles we have in the Elite League are not like what you see on Sky Sports, where you can show incidents from a variety of different positions so how can this be a determination?

Is there a certain type of body language, a look on the offending player’s face, a manner in how they skate to initiate contact with an opponent?  I’m not understanding it.

Now, I would hope no player will ever go into a situation where they want to deliberately hurt someone, but there could be instances where the red mist comes down and all control is lost.

A former referee of high reputation spoke to me a few years ago and said something that stuck with me that only the player responsible knows what’s going through their minds, e.g. whether they intend to hurt someone.

To be clear, I’m not singling out Kalns here for his actions, but my point is applying to every ice hockey player out there and how they are seemingly judged when it comes to DOPS cases.  

It would be fascinating to know more on that, with the best of intentions.  Pun slightly intended.

Highlights are great if you can’t be at a game, but do they need to be so long?

PLAYING THE LONG GAME

I enjoy watching the game highlights that all the clubs post, but when you see them going to 20 or 30 minutes, or even beyond, I just can’t invest in that.

The Elite League have started posting goal videos at the conclusion of each game, which is handy for a short reference of how goals were scored and are generally very good.

Highlights give you more of a steer of how a game goes, but, as someone who tries to watch everyone’s for work and interest purposes, watching lengthy footage isn’t something I have time for.

I only get a 30 minute lunch break and watching on YouTube while on the move eats up data on my phone isn’t conducive to being able to watch every minute of the action.

I’m probably in the minority of one on this, but very lengthy highlights packages, to me, aren’t worth watching and would rather watch a more condensed version.

You wouldn’t get that length of time on any television highlights show, so if you are going to post something as big as that, you may as well post the full game.

Ten minutes, give or take, a suitable length of highlights for me and it means I can watch two or three games during lunch.  

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