Is Our Team Dirty?

April 16, 2007


Seriously…a friend just came up and asked me that question. My first instinct is to say “no, of course not!” But when you hear the talking heads (Brett Hull, Barry Melrose) talk about us I begin to question it myself.

I don’t think of Hartnell as a dirty player…but ask a Sharks fan and you’ll get an earful.

Ask if they think Radulov is dirty and then your other ear is full too! (but here is a guy that has played his entire career including his time as a junior player and NEVER got suspended!)

I have been proud of the way our team has not backed down this year. Last year in the playoffs we were pushed around and taken advantage of. No one was digging for the pucks, no one was hitting and we lost in five.

So help me out…are the Nashville Predators a dirty team?


  1. I think as a Pred’s fan all you need to do is put yourself in the other team’s shoes to answer that question. If the situation was reversed and it was a Shark player involved in those questionable hits and a Predator injured would you say to yourself “wow, that was a good hit” or “I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that.” If so then you have your answer “No.”

  2. Hmmm..let’s see. If Bill Guerin skating around slew-footing and donkey punching players all night long isn’t dirty, then yes, we are dirty. I haven’t seen anyone on our team play like Guerin, Chris Chelios, or Claude Lemieux, so I don’t see how we could be considered dirty.

    San Jose is upset because they thought they would waltz into town, beat us up like they did last year, and skate back home with a 2-0 lead. They didn’t count on us standing up to them.

    My feeling is if the refs can’t stop the cheap shots, then we need to. Call it dirty if you want but I call it survival.

  3. I don’t think they are… but then again, I don’t watch a ton of Pred games.

  4. I dont know if there really is such a thing as a dirty team. There are dirty players and coaches who either turn a blind eye or encourage the “do what it takes” attitude that ends up encouraging dirty play. At this point I think the Preds are the later.

  5. Good point one2gamble…I think you hit on something. Maybe the ‘unwritten rule’ of hockey that everyone knows but doesn’t talk about.

    Wilson wanted his guys to go after the Preds…but he probably never had to say a word (though in his case I can’t imagine him not talking…it’s so rare!)

  6. I thought this was going in the right direction after the first comment which asked for an impartial look at the play but that was lost in the rest of the comments. Being a fan makes it hard to be objective. Just a small disclaimer- I am a Sharks season ticket holder, but am a hockey fan before any one team (was so long before the Sharks existed as I used to go to Kings and Canucks games when available.)

    Now my take- Hartnell’s hit- questionable, but not conclusive so the league let him play. They also probably knew that Cheechoo was going to play or was not hurt that bad.

    Radulov’s hit was flagrant. If a Sharks player had done that to a Pred you all would be up in arms. The league did the right thing in upholding the mandatory suspension. The problem is that a hit such as that can cause real injury including concusion. That could affect Bernier’s career so the league has to send a message.

    In a sense Pred-Joe you answered your own question in your original comments when you said-

    “Last year in the playoffs we were pushed around and taken advantage of. No one was digging for the pucks, no one was hitting and we lost in five.”

    This year they are not letting that happen, but have stepped over the line some. The Sharks are big boys and will play physical as well. If someone on the Shark hits as Radulov did, I would expect the league to suspend him as well. Remember, the Sharks were out hit by Edmonton last year and lost that series so they bulked up and got tougher as well.

    I am looking forward to a great game tonight.

  7. Great points One Sharks Fan…and thanks for keeping it on the level and not letting your emotions take control. It’s nice to have a nice dialogue with another hockey fan.

  8. You know, I’m beginning to wonder if people are now calling our team ‘dirty’ because we’re FINALLY standing up for ourselves, unlike most of the last 8 seasons. Other teams have been walking over us for years, and now we’re finally throwing some hits of our own, and others are paying attention to us.

    I grant that we’ve taken more penalties and suspensions recently than we should have, but some of them are taken with good reason (a la Scott Nichol retaliating for the dirty play on him immediately before that), and some of them really were ACCIDENTS (a la Alexander Radulov checking Bernier from behind). Sorry, one time for Rads does not a pattern make, so I’m not about to believe that Rads is ‘dirty’ until it becomes something consistent.

    With Hartnell it is much easier to make a potential case that he’s playing ‘dirty’, but do I really believe that? No. You really do have to consider the circumstances of each fight to decide whether or not there’s actually a pattern of ‘dirty’ on the player’s part. Hartnell’s knee-contact with Cheechoo WOULDN’T have been knee-contact if Cheechoo hadn’t tried to avoid the clean hit he saw coming, but as Cheechoo sidestepped out of the way, knees connected. Why in the hell would ANY hockey player do that intentionally? Knee-to-knee could take oneself out as easily as it could your opponent, so why would Hartnell want to potentially take himself out of the play-offs? The simple answer is: he wouldn’t. And given that it was Cheechoo that sidestepped what would’ve been a clean hit, you shouldn’t call Hartnell’s hit dirty. It was unintentional contact.

    The one that you could really make a case against is Tootoo, and that’s because he’s an agitator. People want to believe that he’s ‘dirty’ because he gets under their own team’s skin and makes the opponent do stupid things. Therefore they don’t like him and they want to believe that everything he does is ‘dirty’ when several of those situations are just agitation or perfectly clean checks. It’s an exceptionally fine line between ‘agitator’ and ‘goon’, and because Tootoo has been known to instigate and stand up for his team, he’s been labeled as a dirty goon along with the likes of Jody Shelley or Tie Domi.

    I don’t think the 2-hit fight with Robidas (Tootoo hit Robidas, Robidas hit the ice) was Tootoo intentionally being dirty. Yes, Tootoo intended to hit Robidas, whom he saw coming at him from the corner of his eye. However, I honestly believe that connecting with Robidas’s _face_ was an accident, as was the concussion from hitting the ice. No, I am NOT saying Tootoo isn’t to blame. I’m saying that the hit was intentional, but where it caught Robidas was NOT – I think that was a function of how fast it all happened, and seeing Robidas coming at him out of the corner of his eye while he was off-balance. I think a 5-game suspension was a bit high, especially given that Robidas got nothing for charging Tootoo (which he did in retaliation to a perfectly clean check against Modano), nor Modano for hitting Tootoo with the stick upon Tootoo hitting Robidas. But, because people want to hate Tootoo, they don’t see those other issues with the situation.

    Anyway, I admit to not having examined our players individually over their careers with that level of scrutiny, but thinking back over time, I just don’t see them as dirty on the whole. I just don’t see the consistent pattern that would indicate intent to retaliate. More often than not, it’s been unintentional accidents.

  9. By the way, I do agree with the Radulov suspension. I do think the hit was an accident, but it was the right call by the league, and I think it’ll send a clear message to Rads that what he did is NOT acceptable.

  10. I don’t think that the predators are a dirty team and I am a very strong sharks fan. I thnik Radulov’s hit does deserve a suspension. Hartnell’s hit on cheechoo is a different story. I don’t think it deserved a game misconduct jut some sort of penalty because it didnt look intentional it looked like he was trying to get out of the way.

  11. I wouldn’t call the Preds a dirty team, but if they continue to go down the physical road as they are then they will be. I find it funny that it is San Jose fans getting upset with it, since they were once considered a dirty team as well. It was Todd Marchment’s destroying Joe Neiundyk’s knee caps against the boards that got them that reputation.

  12. This is the worst matchup possible for me. I have been a Sharks fan since 1991 inception and live in Nevada. I have been a Preds fan (and yes own the jersey too) for about 5 years with the hopes of getting a transfer to Nashville. My family lives in Nashville and I finally got my transfer. I’m moving there next spring.

    I have been on both sharks and preds boards and kept up with opinions with both. NO I don’t think the preds are a dirty team. I do believe there are some dirty players like on most teams. Anyone who thinks Tootoo does not play dirty (not all the time) is a biased preds fan. Everyone refers to the Robidas punch but there are quite a few boarding calls on him to make me believe he wants to injure. Dirty player.. yes. Agitator..glorified name for dirty player. Hartnell’s hit was questionable, not dirty. I did believe he deserved to be suspended 1 game. Blame the NHL for the nastiness in game 2 for not addressing the incident. Preds fans defend Nichol for sucker punching Spacek and blame Spacek for riding him into the boards. Then line up on face off and drop em face to face and man to man!! That was a dirty sucker punch! dirty player … no. Dirty play… yes. Hordi is kind of a joke. I understand the need for a goon to protect you players, but the guy can’t even play. He would rather start a fight to put up on his website than help his team win. Dirty… no Selfish… yes. Rudys hit in game 2 deserved suspension. It was time to get this series under control! Was it dirty..no. I read most preds fan argument that he never plays like that and never had a misconduct in minors. AND??? So what. Accident..yes. Dirty… no. Deserving of suspension… hmm dont know. During regular season I think he doesnt get suspended. After the mess in game 2. You have to send a message to the teams it will no longer be tolerated. Do you see a pattern here? At least you got rid of Witt.

    I have talked to Canucks fans(ugh!), Blues fans (HA HA HA HA) and Stars fans (DOnt ask me why!!..Kidding Starsfan) as well as others and most hockey fans I talk to say Nashville is a dirty team. Not what a future season ticket holder wants to hear, but the reputation is there. You did get some anti dirty player cred with me by getting rid of Brendan NIT Witt.

    A lot of teams have dirty players but can you call a team dirty for that? Nashville has the reputation already. Its too bad this is discussion keeps coming up. San Jose is big and phsical. Nashville is fast. What a great series this could have been. I believe it still could be, but what will people really be talking about?

  13. Thanks liv2mtb – looks like you and Liria have both put alot of thought into this.

    Come back anytime and leave your feedback!

  14. First off, let me say that I am a Sharks fan who lives in the Dallas area. That being said, I know all about having your team being accused of being dirty because of the actions of a few players. I would not by any means call Nashville a dirty team. The only things dirty about the Predators are Jordin Tootoo and the two plays from Game 1 and Game 2. Jordin Tootoo is a dirty player; that is a fact. So often I hear that he is an agitator in his defense, but let’s face it, he’s a punk. The Robidas punch is a perfect example of this. I was watching that game live, and when I heard that Robidas was skating back to get at Tootoo after the hit on Modano, I thought it was going to be a good fight between two smaller, physical players. Needless to say, I was disappointed. As for the Hartnell hit on Cheechoo, I thought that was a dirty hit. I’ve seen that hit from nearly every angle and Hartnell was definitely leading with his knee, whether or not it was his intent to go knee-to-knee with Cheechoo isn’t really important. The point is that he did. As for the Radulov hit, he left his feet to hit a guy from behind with his head down, facing the boards. I can’t think of how that could be a clean hit. So here’s what we’ve got so far, a dirty player and two dirty hits. That’s hardly enough to make a dirty team.
    The thing that bothers me about Nashville this year is not that I think they’re a dirty team, but that the organization seems to be in denial when something dirty happens. Whenever a Nashville player does something dirty, it seems as though no one in the organization has the balls to put the responsibility for it on the player. After the Tootoo-Robidas incident, Barry Trotz was applauding Tootoo for defending himself from the big, bad Robidas and for keeping his gloves on. It’s not like Tootoo had Georges Laraque bearing down on him and he had to throw a sucker punch so as not to be destroyed, Robidas is like 5’9″. Tootoo would’ve just fought him if he weren’t a coward. As for keeping the gloves on I’m not quite sure what Trotz had in mind by bringing that up in his statement to the media after the incident, but with the high-density plastic slash inserts that they put in pro-stock gloves, Tootoo didn’t do Robidas any favors by keeping the gloves on.
    Then with the Hartnell hit, I’d talk to Nashville fans and hear the rhetoric of Paul McCann claiming that Hartnell shouldn’t be suspended because he didn’t mean to hit Cheechoo knee-to-knee. Accident or not it happened, and those kind of hits are suspension worthy. I know, I’m a Sharks fan, and as far as I’m concerned, Marchment got off way too easy when the intent was clearly there.
    Radulov’s hit was worse than Hartnell’s in my opinion, due to the unmistakeable intent and the vulnerable position that Bernier was in. Right after the game, Trotz was saying that Bernier saw Radulov coming and braced for the hit. That’s bull. Even if it wasn’t, Bernier still got knocked out from a hit from behind where Radulov left his feet.
    I realize that was probably way too wordy, so I’ll summarize. Nashville is not a dirty team. Jordin Tootoo is a dirty player. The hits by Hartnell and Radulov were dirty hits, but they aren’t dirty players. The entire Nashville organization is blind to their own actions and seems to always be looking for some to place the blame on instead of accepting responsibility for the actions of their players.

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