Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There are very few people I consider to be experts. This is probably because I have a Political Science Degree and therefore the complex to go along with it. Nevertheless two such people I believe to be experts are TSN's hockey god, Bob McKenzie, and current Kable Town executive John Francis "Jack" Donaghy (for extra credit I'll also say this guy is an expert in the field of music that I'm not cool enough to listen to).

On to the purpose of this post. Years ago when the giant Andrew Sutton played for a now forgotten hockey club, he once asked a reporter in a ill advised post game scrum if the reporter was an expert due to footage he saw during the game, and more specifically during a replay of a borderline body check performed by Sutton. Doesn't ring a bell?

Was the reporter an expert? Probably not, his name is not mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog post.

Andy Sutton however is an expert, an expert in violent hockey hits, some which have caused him to be hurt financially. Come with me as we take a look at some of the more notable "highlights" of this career in expertise.

Sid is lucky the Pens already played the Oilers
First let's take a look at some proof that Andy Sutton can be an effective clean yet devastating NHL hitting machine:

Could some of those hits be called charging? Yeah probably, but charging is one of those subjective hockey calls. Is Any Sutton a predator on the ice? Yes, but there is nothing wrong with that in a physical game like hockey, as long as he is able to hit cleanly and not hurt his team by taking penalties, or by being suspended, which has happened more than a few times over his career. 

Let's take a look at some of the dirty hits now which have caused Mr. Sutton to get a stern talking to, and watch a few games from the press box:

Saw the number, drilled Pascal Dupuis head first into the end boards. Looks like Dupuis may have been knocked out and is lying in a pool of his own blood too for good measure. Sutton received 2 games.

The incident that sparked the expert interview. No suspension for this hit, though it probably would have been this year. May have targeted the head, may have gotten the elbow up a bit, I'm no expert. Were this hit to take place in the regular season it may have been suspension worthy, in the past the NHL has made it clear it won't suspend players in the playoffs unless it is absolutely necessary.

That brings us to this season, take it away Brendan Shanaban:

Pretty cut and dry there, Sutton almost only hit him in the head. Most interesting part of the video is that Shanahan mentions Sutton has been fined in the past. Fines the don't include a suspension do not have to be disclosed to the public. Further digging has uncovered that Sutton has been fined over SEVEN times for on ice incidents. That is fairly significant.

Fast forward, Sutton misses his 5 games, is force to donate some of that sweet $2.125 million contract to the NHL Player Emergency Fund, and he's back on the ice. I can't remember what happens next....

Sometime during his first shift of the game, which I was lucky enough to attend, I turned to my buddy and said "Every time Sutton is on the ice I get a feeling that something dirty is going to happen."

That night Sutton's stat line read: 1 assist, 2 minutes for boarding, 2 minutes for boarding, 5 minutes for fighting, totaling 9 minutes in penalties in just over 18 minutes of ice-time. Sutton was a +2 and has given the 3rd Star by TSN. Of course that doesn't the "clean" hits including a knee on Eric Staal in the first period that resulted in Staal receiving an unsportsmanlike penalty and his devastating third period open ice hit on Jeff Skinner which I cannot find video footage of. It is interesting to point out though that although the hit was deemed clean, Jeff Skinner has not played since and is out with an "undisclosed injury." Read into that what you will.

The big talking point from that game though, since the Oilers really shat the bed, was Sutton's second boarding penalty. Again let's turn to an expert in his own right, Brendan Shanahan:

The Oilers did not make Sutton available for interviews after the game. Probably the wisest decision that club has made since signing Corey Potter in the offseason (I thought about saying since they kept RNH in the show but come on, that was a gimmie!)

Recently Sutton has opened his mouth about the incident to say how he feels the system is not doing him any favours. While he may or may not be right about the suspension hearing system in the NHL, he is certainly not doing himself any favours by coming out with quotes like this following suspensions:

This one released through the Oilers after recieving 5 games for the Landeskog hit: "I have been informed of and understand the League's decision, however, I had no intention of delivering an illegal check.  For 14 years, I've always played the game with respect and integrity and I will continue to do so when I return."

And this one released without club censorship following his current 8 game ban for the above hit: “They make their decisions and unfortunately you have to live with them. I really don’t have much recourse in any way shape or form...” 
Obviously the public isn't privy to these discipline hearings, but I doubt these quotes and Sutton's obvious violent history will help him during his next hearing. And there WILL be a next hearing.

Sutton's 8 game suspension makes him next available to the Edmonton Oilers on December 31st, when the Oilers play one of Sutton's old teams,  the New York Islanders.


  1. Yeah, I love those Shanaban videos. Like more than a friend.


    Probably only....

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