Saturday, December 3, 2011
Debate Ensues Over Jordin Tootoo Hit on Ryan Miller
Depending on which bench or broadcast booth you were sitting in on Saturday night, the hit by Nashville's Jordin Tootoo on Buffalo's Ryan Miller was either a "suspend-able offense" or a "hockey play." There was little middle ground of opinion.
Predators coach Barry Trotz was asked about the penalty in his post game presser. "I wouldn’t say excessive but sensitive would probably be a better word because of the Ryan Miller and the Lucic situation. I think it may be a bit oversensitive."
Trotz explained his view of the play. "Tootoo’s on his off-hand which is a great spot to take a power move to the inside. I thought we were going pretty good – it wasn’t like it was a one-sided game where a team was up by three or four goals. We were coming really hard and trying to take pucks to the net and he gets in traffic."
"He’s on the right side and he puts the puck into his power move and he wants to get across the front. He tried to avoid him in my estimation because he launched and that’s the only way you can do that. The guy was on his back so it really limited where he could go. I know it wasn’t intentional it was just a "hockey play" that went awry a little bit."
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff was furious. "What happened in the game was a joke. All it does is prove the fact right that when I said it was “Open Season,” it appears it is Open Season. You’ve got a guy that comes off a concussion and you’ve got Jordin Tootoo running over your goaltender."
"We used to get a two-minute power-play for that and we got a one-minute power-play out of that. That’s a joke. I want to see what the League wants to do with this one. It’s a joke. Your goalie comes back from a concussion and he gets run by Jordin Tootoo and we get a one-minute power-play? It's a joke, end of story."
Miller was incensed with the play. "I can believe it, from him. He had just started losing the puck in time for me to get ready for it. You know he’s going to come hard to the net every time. I was ready for that. I got my hands up and just got right in the mix after that."
Miller was also defensive about his punching Tootoo repeatedly after the hit. "I can’t sit back and let guys take advantage of me either, so I’ve got to try to get right in the pile-up and do what I can do, which is not a whole lot, but at least it shows that I’m not going to take it."
Tootoo had a totally different view of the play. "I was driving to the net and I got a little shove from behind. The last thing I wanted to do was to run the goalie over and put my team down. It is what it is, but I’m skating hard, I drop my shoulder in towards the net. Clearly, I tried to jump out of the way. There was no intent to charge at him. That’s all I can say."
Tootoo felt that Miller should have also been accessed a penalty. "There were four guys throwing jabs at me for a good 30 seconds. I was defenseless. I was swamped by four guys, four on one. What am I supposed to do, take them all on? That’s unfortunate that Miller didn’t get anything called towards him, but that’s all I can say."
Tootoo wasn't clear on the penalty that was accessed. "All he told me was get this guy out of the game. I have no clue why. I mean, obviously, with the hit on Miller. Like I said, it is the ref’s decision. Now I have to face the disciplinary committee and go from there."
It will be interesting to see what results from the incident when Tootoo has a hearing with Brendan Shanahan in the next day or two. It seems likely that some form of supplemental discipline will result but it is unclear as to whether Shanahan will see Trotz's version of a "hockey play gone awry," or the Ruff version of "open season on goalies."
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass
Thanks to the Nashville Predators Media Services for extensive post-game audio surrounding the incident.