VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some Vancouver Canucks fans are wondering if anyone on the team has a backbone.
Elias Pettersson is out with a possible concussion after he was bodyslammed on the ice Saturday night. Worse still, according to some in Canucks Nation, no one on the team went after the man responsible — Florida defenseman Mike Matheson.
“It was a retaliation for getting beat out of the corner,” said former Canucks president Trevor Linden to NEWS 1130. “There was a play that preceded that. So, there was intent there.”
James Cybulski with Sportsnet 650 understands why some fans are angry.
“The optics look bad, in the sense that they went out and spent all this money on the ‘summer of grit,’ if you will — bringing in guys like Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle and Tim Schaller. You didn’t see any of those guys respond.”
But he says there are a couple of reasons behind the lack of action.
“You look at the players on the ice — they were more skill guys, when it happened. But at the same time, the Canucks were also protecting a lead. In the same vein, I think people were still focused on the two points more than trying to go back to 1980s-style hockey.”
“What response did you want? Running around, chasing around that player or the other team’s top players? That’s not what you want to see. You want to see composure,” said Linden.
He points out it was a tied game with 10 minutes left to play.
“Guys are focused on trying to win. First and foremost guys want to keep their composure. You can’t go running around, trying to get retribution in a game like that. There’s a time and place for that — maybe that presents itself, maybe it doesn’t. But the right response was they won the game. At that point, you can’t do anything about your teammate.”
All the talk now is whether Matheson will be suspended for injuring Pettersson.
“It’s a young player that’s got star potential, and there was an injury that was suffered. Hopefully, the league does the right thing. I do believe it’s a suspend-able hit,” said Linden.
Matheson could be suspended as soon as today.
“If nothing’s done by the league, then the Canucks looks bad not doing anything about it — any sort of front to your justice. But if something is sent — like a game or two suspension, then it shows that the league is serious about protecting stars,” said Cybulski.