Wilderness Walk, Supplemental: "Reporting"

OK, Wilderness, the Sergei Gonchar hit on Cal Clutterbuck that just won't die has reared its ugly head again. This time, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of all places. In a Q&A with readers, Post-Gazette writer Dave Molinari goes after Clutterbuck for his comments following the game that night.

Make the jump. Read the article. Let's discuss.

OK, let's take a look at the question posed to Mr. Molinari:

Any idea what Cal Clutterbuck had on his mind with the obviously stupid comment and veiled threat he made toward Sergei Gonchar? Does he honestly hope to intimidate Gonchar or does he think that he will get into Gonchar's head? What he has done essentially is to insure that the refs of (the next Penguins-Wild game) will have an eagle-eye on him and that even a minor feint toward Gonchar will result in a minor, if not a major, penalty. I guess he is trying to make a name for himself but to my mind, let your play do that, not your mouth.

Fred Schuck, Birmingham, Ala.

First off, any hockey question posed from Alabama should be viewed with some scrutiny, so let's move away from that fact. Has anyone ever read a more slanted, bias filled question? In court, this would be called leading the witness. When a reporter does it, it's called choosing a question for its inflammatory value, despite likely having a thousand much better questions on the same topic.

The answer?

Clutterbuck, a blue-collar winger for Minnesota, would not be the first player to have his mouth in motion before his brain was fully in gear, as appears to have been the case in the wake of the Wild's 4-3 victory against the Penguins last week.

During that game, Gonchar -- hardly known for thuggish play -- picked up a major penalty for interference for a hit that Clutterbuck blamed for concussion-like symptoms he experienced a few days later. (Admit it: You always thought Gonchar would be the first player to get a major for hooking.)

After the game, Clutterbuck told reporters that Gonchar had "better hope he retires at the end of the year, I'll tell you that. Somebody's going to hurt him before the end of the year. Someone will. It's not going to be me, but someone will."

Gonchar, by the way, contends that he was retaliating for a late, head-high hit he had absorbed earlier from Clutterbuck and that the timing of his check on Clutterbuck was thrown off when the puck didn't get to Clutterbuck when he expected it to. Whatever the reason, it's worth noting that the league office, after reviewing the incident, did not see fit to fine, let alone suspend, Gonchar.

Clutterbuck is in the league because of his physical play and has earned a reputation for taking bad penalties, which makes his threat to Gonchar's well-being (even though he says he won't be the player to injure him) all the more interesting. Certainly, the next time the two share a slab of ice -- if Gonchar is even thinking about retiring after this season, Clutterbuck apparently is the only guy in the world who knows it -- the officials should be paying particular attention to anything remotely illegal that Clutterbuck does to Gonchar.

It's one thing to contemplate revenge for a cheap shot, real or perceived. It's quite another to suggest to the world months in advance that if it happens, it was completely premeditated. Fortunately for Clutterbuck, at least in this case, NHL regulations didn't allow for him to be assessed a stupidity major.

Here we go, folks. Let's do this, as Russo would say, frog dissection style.

Clutterbuck, a blue-collar winger for Minnesota, would not be the first player to have his mouth in motion before his brain was fully in gear, as appears to have been the case in the wake of the Wild's 4-3 victory against the Penguins last week.

Nice. Good start. Within the first line of the answer from an "objective" reporter, he has already called Clutterbuck stupid.

During that game, Gonchar -- hardly known for thuggish play -- picked up a major penalty for interference for a hit that Clutterbuck blamed for concussion-like symptoms he experienced a few days later. (Admit it: You always thought Gonchar would be the first player to get a major for hooking.)

OK... this is fairly innocuous.

Gonchar, by the way, contends that he was retaliating for a late, head-high hit he had absorbed earlier from Clutterbuck...

Indeed, Gonchar did claim that, but the video evidence shows otherwise, and you would think a reporter would be willing to accept fact, rather than report a player's opinion as fact.

and that the timing of his check on Clutterbuck was thrown off when the puck didn't get to Clutterbuck when he expected it to.

So, he made a bad hit. The puck was no where near Clutterbuck. Didn't get to him? It wasn't even coming toward him.

Whatever the reason, it's worth noting that the league office, after reviewing the incident, did not see fit to fine, let alone suspend, Gonchar.

Yes, because Colin Campbell is a moron, and the NHL's discipline system is broken at best, and tainted at worst.

Clutterbuck is in the league because of his physical play and has earned a reputation for taking bad penalties, which makes his threat to Gonchar's well-being (even though he says he won't be the player to injure him) all the more interesting.

Where has Clutterbuck earned said reputation for taking bad penalties? He had 76 PIMs in 78 games last season. He has 20 PIMs in 42 games this season. Bad penalties? Such as? Please, elaborate.

Certainly, the next time the two share a slab of ice -- if Gonchar is even thinking about retiring after this season, Clutterbuck apparently is the only guy in the world who knows it -- the officials should be paying particular attention to anything remotely illegal that Clutterbuck does to Gonchar.

I would hope the refs would call anything illegal Clutterbuck does to anyone on the ice. You know, because its their job. I would also think that the refs are not as stupid as your argument makes them out to be. Despite what Campbell says, Gonchar soiled his reputation with the hit on Clutterbuck. Refs will be watching him more closely as well. If another hit like this happens, Gonchar cannot claim "good citizen" status again.

It's one thing to contemplate revenge for a cheap shot, real or perceived. It's quite another to suggest to the world months in advance that if it happens, it was completely premeditated.

This is fair. The comments by Cal were not bright, and I said that the night he said them, and several times since. However, they came in the heat of the moment. No matter the words, the sentiment is there. The Wild players will be looking for retribution. Call it "The Code" or whatever you want, but Gonchar will have to answer for the hit.

 

Fortunately for Clutterbuck, at least in this case, NHL regulations didn't allow for him to be assessed a stupidity major.

And fortunately for you, sir, you cannot be given a major penalty for one of the most homeristic, non-objective, easy to pick apart arguments ever made by a reporter. If you want to work for the Penguins PR department, call them. If you want to work for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, you may want to try to actually report the facts.

What say you Wilderness?

-Buddha.

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