Wednesday, November 4, 2009

School Your Pool - Michael Liambas Suspension

I've remained relatively silent through the whole Ben Fanelli incident. I decided to write a piece for School Your Pool which sums up my thoughts on Liambas' suspension and the entire incident.

Be sure to check it out.

Michael Liambas Suspension - Fair?

Also be sure to let me know what you think about everything. The suspension? The hit? David Branch?


Jim said...

My heart aches for the Kitchener boy who is fighting for his life and will likely never play this sport again.
My heart also aches for the Erie boy who was put on the team to be phyiscal and made a big hit on an opposing player. Now that the boy is so badly injured he will have to live with the guilt forever. I doubt he would want to put skates on again.
Branch had to give out a huge suspension to keep the moms and dads of the next years crop happy. The OHL can't be seen to them as a vicious league or they will pull a U turn and head to the NCAA.
Question: If the player that hit the Kitchener boy was Tyler Toffoli or Tyler Seguin or John McFarland or Jeff Skinner who are the future of the OHL, would they have been suspended for a year??

On the Pond said...

It feels like eye for an eye vengeance. Liambas has potentially ended Fanelli's career, so Liambas must suffer the same? But with all the attention this story drew, once Fanelli was labelled "in critical condition", there was no other way this was going to go down. A combination of a dangerously forceful hit, an ill prepared (though not unaware) recipient, and bad luck resulted in a life threatening injury. A life threatening injury resulted in international coverage. Pressure from parents and international coverage forced Branch into his decision. Liambas was just one piece of the puzzle.

With the politics of it aside, I'll mention the hit now. It was charging, I think we can all agree. But to what extent does that make Liambas guilty? Charging doesn't get called without an injury. Everyone defines "too fast" differently, so no one is willing to call it until an injury proves that it was indeed too fast. So Liambas, and many others, are allowed to push the limits until something like this happens. So I pose a few questions to everyone. If we never corrected him and he was allowed to continue, thinking it was okay, who is responsible? And if it's so difficult to define "too fast", how do you crack down on these hits? The dirtyness of a hit is largely subjective and circumstantial, so how do you govern them as a whole?

Anonymous said...

On the Pond - you govern them exactly like this. Stiff fines for the consequences regardless of the intent leading up to them. I think Liambis intended to squash Fanelli, and if Fanelli haden't turned at the last minute, it might have been a highlight hit and Fanelli might have played the rest of the game. When it goes bad, though, all the league can do is mete out a penalty that while it may not be considered as just by everyone, at minimum its a reminder to players that they have to exercise the highest possible level of split-second judgement in these situations. Liambas wasn't able to do that, and must face professional and personal consequences of that lapse. I'm sure he's not a bad person, and he probably doesn't even have bad judgement, but whenever there is a lapse in judgement (by one or more people) there are usually several more who are painfully affected. What else can you do? It can't be ingnored, swept under a rug, or minimized. There's really no other choice but to suspend him.

On the Pond said...

That's pretty much the point. "What else can you do?" Nothing really, but it feels like we should be doing something else. These things require harsh punishment and I agree with the suspension, but that's really only a reactionary measure. We hope that these concequences will deter players from making risky decisions, but as Brock said, everyone is playing the odds.