Structured Rant: Masculinity in Hockey & Broadcasts

We miss you always, Derek

This past week has been a strange one in Rangerstown, a lot of which we’ve unpacked on the blog in recent days. We now know that our top signing over the summer was playing on a torn meniscus, we’ve seen games with five players out due to injury, and we’ve had some interesting broadcasting.

The issue of losing your new star defenseman to a meniscus tear is much like an onion: the more you peel back all the facts, the more you feel miserable and cry. For starters, the injury took place in training camp, four months ago. This is an 8-12 week recovery injury. This would be old news had it been handled at the time of injury.

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate, though, and give Shattenkirk the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t realize the severity and he wanted to play Opening Night for his beloved team. Fine, I’ll give him that. But the issue with waiting four months is what happens during those four months. As someone who’s played this game to the tune of two reconstructive ankle surgeries, let me be your guide.

Everyone and their mother has heard the phrase “cortisone shot,” and it’d be a fair assessment that plenty of people have gotten them. It’s a great medical procedure. However, when there is structural damage, the steroid — which reduces inflammation, but cannot repair a torn ligament, or tendon, or cartilage (as is your meniscus) — can do more harm than good. It reduces pain, but without fixing the issue, this causes overuse. An abundance of injections can accumulate extra scar tissue, which needs to be cleared during the surgery. Not to mention the pain always comes back.

The fact that Kevin Shattenkirk played so long on an injury is not something unusual, especially not for NHL players. How often per game do you hear about a blocked shot? Do you ever stop to think what that entails? The following is part of the job description: lay your (semi-)padded body out in front of a dense rubber disc flying in an imprecise trajectory at speeds upwards of 80-90 miles per hour. And you thought your job was rough.

This toughness, of course, winds up hurting the team. Shattenkirk played poorly, no doubt aligned with when the shot(s) wore off. We see (and praise, lol) the injury reports come out after a team is eliminated from the playoffs. Erik Karlsson was playing on a broken foot, for eff’s sake. The sport is physically rough, so why do we glorify additional toughness, the type that obligates players to put their health at risk, the type that eventually gives a few life-threatening brain injuries and, to a less-serious but more common extent, arthritis at a young age? Because the culture surrounding hockey insists that we do so.

On the Rangers’ postgame broadcast Sunday night, former player and noted basic math hater Ron Duguay made a pretty aggressive statement about the officiating and, inadvertently, how he feels about women:

“I think these guys would have been better off doing women’s hockey,

the way they did the officiating — because they were kind of soft.”

You don’t need any statistics – basic or advanced – to realize that this is problematic. Just plain old common sense. It’s almost like Ron isn’t aware that there’s a whole professional women’s hockey league and the Metropolitan area’s even got a team.

I understand that the rules are different in men’s and women’s hockey, and I even believe the fact that Duguay probably wasn’t even thinking when he made that statement. But to make this statement shows the following:

  1. Duguay is stuck in his glory days of playing, when women were nowhere near playing professionally,
  2. From his glory days, he still believes in that style of hockey, which is so antiquated. The successful teams are based on speed, skill, and good fundamentals, not who has the best goons,
  3. Duguay is apparently unaware that he’s broadcasting to New York City, where the population leans progressive,
  4. There is a general disrespect and distaste for the tragedies that have come about in recent years, specifically in relation to Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard, both of whom died in 2011, both of whom were “tough guy” “enforcers.” Rypien took his own life just a month after Boogaard overdosed on alcohol and oxycodone. Boogaard’s brain, studied after his death, showed definitive CTE. But yes, Ron, heaven forbid anybody on your team be soft.

To say this past week has left quite a sour taste in many of our stomachs would be an understatement. The physical nature of hockey and the medical practices that need to take place are quite clearly more serious than what I need to do in order to manage my team’s finances day to day. But there needs to be something more structured to ensure players aren’t playing fast and loose with their bodies.

And, quite frankly, there needs to be something done about out of date, out of style has-been player-turned-broadcaster enabling the idea that a lack of physicality and a lack of a penis makes a player, a ref, a person, or an organization any worse.

42 thoughts on “Structured Rant: Masculinity in Hockey & Broadcasts

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Theres a difference between being a goon cultured sport and a finesse based sport with physicality. Our team tries to be the first part of the latter but teams like the kings steamroll over us bc we simply aren’t tough to play against. Boardwork is poor, battles lost all over the ice leads to hemmoraging shots. Been like that the whole time with this core. I can get disney on ice elsewhere.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Once again you judge a person because they don’t agree with you. Why doesn’t Duguay have a right to feel the way he does? I have 6 older sisters and I believe in equality but I also don’t think woman belong in certain jobs simple because GOD made men one way the and women another, does that make me a sexiest? Can a man nurture a child the way a woman can? NO! You liberals make me laugh. You talk about free speech and equality but only if we agree with you. The moment people disagree with you we are haters, sexiest and every other word you can think of to attack those who disagree with you.
    I don’t think you will even post this because it doesn’t agree with you but I’m putting it out there anyway. Why is it we can’t agree to disagree anymore

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      This is not a political post. This is a human decency and respect post.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Exactly. Why is stating the facts forbidden in 2018? Its a different brand of hockey, which is fine. Everything has to be equivalized today.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Free speech means you’re not arrested or worse for what you say, not that I won’t criticize you for it 😉

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      You’re definitely not sexiest, Johnny.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Nobody is trying to suppress your opinion. Maybe you should toughen that hide a little yourself if you think nobody is allowed to call you out for a bull-pucks opinion,or agreeing with a bull-pucks opinion, though.

      Men and women are built differently, sure. It’s all relative, though – they don’t play the sport against each other. Hockey is a tough sport for each gender respectively, and Dugay’s comments are thoughtless/careless at best, and sexist at worst (the latter, if you ask me). Men’s hockey is a tough sport for men. Women’s hockey is a tough sport for women. Is there more pugilism in general in the men’s game? Sure. That doesn’t mean Dugay needs to put down the women’s game to make a point; the women who play hockey are plenty tough.

      Don’t want to be labeled sexist? Okay. Don’t be sexist. It isn’t rocket science there, Johnny.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      It’s sad that 9 people agree with what you said. Ok you said GOD made……Now prove what you said starting with providing there’s a GOD. Let’s stick to Hockey and leave what God said or made for other blogs.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      So you don’t believe in equality. Just because you say you do doesn’t mean you do.

      Read your post again. Men and women can’t hold the same job. Men and women can’t raise kids the same way.

      It’s 2018. Wake the eff up. Men can raise children and anything a man can do a woman can do as well.

      Instead of tossing the gloves down , maybe you should think about being decent to people.

      Decency – behavior that confirms to accepted norms of morality or respectability. It’s not just a word , for some of us it’s a way of life.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      I owe you an apology! You did post it. We may all have different opinions on different things, but we all have one thing in common: WE LOVE THE RANGERS! I look forward to maybe one day having the pleasure of meeting each and every one of you. Unfortunately since my injuries I can’t get to many games any more. THANK YOU ALL for everything you do to make this a fun site to go to every day.

      • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

        You will never be censored here if you disagree with someone. The only time a comment is removed is if it is inflammatory in nature and doesn’t add to the conversation.

        Certain words get flagged automatically by our spam filter, but I rarely trash a comment.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Ron Duguay is an idiot and has no business being on the same panel as Steve Valiquette during the broadcasts.

    So take solace in that fact.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Ahhh, just like the good ole days…

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    You are stuck in vortex of two realities. The first half of your analysis was outstanding. Pointing out the obvious, that Rangers management has screwed players and we fans by allowing players to be on the ice in a sub-par physical condition…it showed in their performances and hurt the team. This was (is) true in all the major sports, the Olympics, etc. since sports competition began.
    Modern medicine and social evolution combined with access by fans to information about injuries has changed the sports culture (to a degree). Human nature and peer pressure causes injured players to downplay their damage because the competitive sports environment expects it.
    At least concussion protocols and instant x-rays has diminished human sacrifice to win a game…
    Your analysis hit a sand bar with your hyper sensitivity to Ron Duguay’s careless generational comment shared by millions of sports fans. He attempted to walk it back because his colleagues and/or a producer warned him that the current intolerant culture (correctly associated with New York City) would eat him alive for crossing the PC ‘No Man’s Land’….Ron is a wonderful hockey player who thrilled Ranger fans and the league and his “unforgiveable transgression” {to you} caused you to trash him. No different than the behavior you attacked him for.
    Women’s hockey has come a long way. No need to get crazy because stereotypes die a slow death. Try not to brag about Progressive intolerance which plays better in Cuba, Venezuela, and other Socialist paradises.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      I loved Ron Duguay as a player back in the day. But he is a joke as an announcer (and not just because of this stupid comment alone). You can ignore your old uncle Charlie’s sexist comments, but not someone whose job it is to represent the sport on television. It needs to be called out for it to eventually stop. Thanks for the post, Becky.

      • Jan 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        Thanks for your kind words, Rangermom! I totally agree.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Rather silly in my opinion to equate criticism of Duguay’s comment to politics and the climate of other nations.

    Ron’s comment was pretty tone deaf. My 15 year-old daughter is an avid hockey fan and I think she would be thinking that it was dumb. I don’t know if I would make too big of a deal about it, but it was an insipid comment nevertheless.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    The perfect hockey team has a balance of skill and grit. AV has stripped this team of any grit during his time here and please don’t bring up Glass…one guy doesn’t make you tough. He did the same thing with Nucks…we do not draft tough guys and will not trade for tough guys.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Agreed. Skill and sandpaper don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Our team is a bunch of figure skaters out there. And they aren’t even great at it. Yet this fanbase continues to worship good but not great ‘skilled’ players.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Great, Insightful article and while Speed & Skill have evolved as primary elements of the game, I think the presence of Hitiing, Checking & Contact necessary to underscore these attributes may have been understated

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      The point I was making – and apologies if it was not explained clearly, that’s on me – is that sometimes being tough as evidenced in fighting and a goon running around with no skill whatsoever leads to a worse game and worse consequences for the players themselves than the regular checking which is part of the game. Incidentally part of womens hockey as well.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    So I stopped reading this blog prior to the season for many reasons, some of which being the reaction to DeAngelo (I could care less who my team’s players voted for) and overall poor design of the site (like seriously, why aren’t the columns wider?), but that’s not why I’m here.

    A tweet from Becky ended up in my timeline because someone else I follow liked the tweet (hate that feature twitter) and I felt compelled to read the article.

    I actually thing it’s an interesting one though. The glorifying toughness seems pretty clear cut. We respect guys who put their bodies on the line for a sport they love. I don’t think anything is wrong with that. Fighting…sure, that should be outlawed and I believe it’s on the decline due to the fact that teams don’t really carry ‘goons’ on the roster anymore.

    How can you force a guy to sit? Where’s the line of what injuries should be regulated? Concussions are taken a lot more seriously now…but a injury like Shatty’s? If a guy is willing to play through pain, that’s up to him. Should Tom Brady have sat out of the AFC Championship Game because he received 12 stitches in his hand a few days prior?

    The Duguay comment was strange and out of line. But I don’t think he was “unaware” he is broadcasting in New York. That’s laughable and if you believe it, you might have to be put in concussion protocol.

    Overall, soild post….but not enough to bring me back full-time.

    Oh and one last thing, do you guys still get furious over people getting excited about catching t-shirts from a canon at the garden? Sheeeeesh!

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Interesting point about where the line should be drawn… I think it relies on the coaching staff working with the medical staff. Anybody could tell that Shattenkirk wasn’t playing well, and if he received several shots (I don’t how many he did) then I think that’s indicative that he should have had a procedure done to fix it instead of just ignore it. It would be very unusual for someone to be able to play through (hopefully) June on an injury suffered in September. Personally speaking, I think it wasn’t handled well.
      Hope you’ll come back sometime soon, even if just sporadically. Thanks for dropping in.

      • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

        “Anyone could tell he wasn’t playing well” coming from the person who gave him a B+ for the season.

      • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm

        Good article. Unlike many here, you didn’t point fingers. I disagree with you where you think the line is drawn. It is ALWAYS the player’s responsibility. It is the rare coach who will sit his best players when they assure him they can go. A player who is too hurt to play, but forced by management, should get his own doctor and follow that advice and call in the player’s union if the team disagrees. Once that is realized, you see the line much more clearly and who is actually drawing it.

        As you pointed out, Shattenkirk likely wanted to be on the ice for the opener. This team got off to a horrendous start, but Shattenkirk didn’t notching points in 6 of his first 8 games, then scoreless in 3 before notching points in 7 straight. 5-11-16 in his first 18 games as a Ranger isn’t a performance indicative of an injured player. It wasn’t until mid-November where he started struggling. Until proven wrong, I do believe he WANTED to play and believed he could.

        • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:03 pm

          It should never be the player’s responsibility. You want determined players, guys who will go the extra mile, you don’t want guys not willing to make sacrifices. But you also want trainers who just say no, X can’t play. And you want coaches who will tell a player who is 80% that just maybe it’s a good day to give a reserve a chance to play.

          In Game 7 against Tampa Bay in 2015, the Rangers win if Ryan McDonagh doesn’t dress. You can win without a star; you can’t win with a star who can barely stand up.

          Note: the Seattle Seahawks had some friction this year when an injured star linebacker played a game ineffectively instead of deferring to a reserve.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    considering that NBCSN was in the house Tuesday and Thursday and it was also blacked out during that time par for the course but now the boys are on the west coast haven’t won yet

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I am NOT a hockey referee, but I am a soccer referee.

    Ronnie completely missed the boat with his comment. He should have said something along the lines of youth hockey or peewee or whatever. Equating it to the wo men’s game is just wrong, and since it was live TV, I’ll give him a pass. However, ever since the rise of Stevie V, Duge’s lack of preparation and readiness comes thru loud and clear. IMHO, I think he shows up 5 minutes before air and wings it!

    Anyway, back to refereeing for a second. I do all age groups and gender in soccer up to and including the adults (who are LUNATICS!). There is a huge difference in how you approach a match depending on the sex of the players. And it has NOTHING to do with the amount of physical play. Not withstanding the strength of the sexes, women play just as ferocious and dirty and tough as guys at the level I am refereeing. And I’m sure it’s exactly the same in hockey.

    However, there are different things to watch out for. Men usually retaliate swiftly for an injustice.Women will eventually get even. It might take them until they play again, but they never forget. Women use their lower bodies to commit more fouls; men use their upper bodies. Women hold and grab way more subtly than men. Both complain, but as a referee you cannot just yell at a woman to shut up (as a male referee, I have seen women referee do it) and be successful. You can tell guys to knock it off. Women need it explained more clearly and calmly. Not a sexist remark at all, they just don’t take to being yelled at. Women know the rules of their sport just as well and most times better than the male counterparts. So, they know what they are complaining about. They also trash talk way worse than guys. Way more personal. And they hate losing as much as the guys.

    As a referee, you call the game the players expect. When you Don’t do that, that’s when you lose the control that you need to have.

    One final note. If Ronnie thought the refs were soft, how come the LAK’s weren’t given a 5 and a loss of a player when the head hit happened?

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I would like to see some players that play with intensity or dare i say a edge. Complete your body checks this stick checks lately looks like a allstar game,

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      exactly. They confuse zuccarello getting into a scrum once a game as toughness. We lit didint win a board or puck battle the last 45 mins vs la. Part is coaching and part is player attributes. If we can’t fancypass through a team we’re doomed. Im sick of it. Change it up.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Duguay should have just said what all could see – The referees in the LA game were simply incompetent. It was a Head Shot. Also when Quick crossed the line, that’s a penalty. No excuses. And I live in NYC and I’m not “progressive” and I could care less about all the announcers – usually mute the intermissions and never watch after the game- all that matters to me is the game itself.

    Players who continue to play with serious injury are selfish. They can twist themselves into a pretzel with convoluted reasoning but hey, if you can’t give 100% then get an operation and get better. Don’t play and risk permanent damage.

    This NYR team has reached it’s expiration point. Time to break it up and start over with the youngsters that Gorton drafted. If the coach ang GM aren’t on the same page then one or both should go.

    Gonna be a tough rest of the season.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    The PC cuckolds are out in force! Those old time fighters were soooo unPC…they were meanies! You have been trained well zeroes.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    #metoo ????

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    By whose standard did Ron Duguay misspeak? I am on his side that hockey has become figure skating on steroids. It has almost become unwatchable.

    3 times this year during “Rivalary” games I lost interest and stopped watching the games.
    Staged fights I didn’t like either however fights I loved that were hockey plays. Hitting oh let’s not even go there….(Hitting, We don’t need no stinking hitting) said no one ever who watched old time hockey. Spare me the concussion nonsense. I played contact sports because I chose to play knowing the ramifications.

    I am here to tell you that the protective gear is just as much a part of the problem. Players used to protect themselves, now they rely on their equipment.

    Look at football….form tackling has disappeared in lieu of hard hits. Though I do digress that I have not watched football since the kneeling protests however I am sure it’s still the same. Why the hits? Equipment ends the discussion.

    Fotiu….who remembers his passionate fan base, and why did he have such a huge following? Remember when he got traded and the reaction? Who remembers his first game back with the Whalers….Gordie Howe was still playing. Yeah that also sums up the difference in hockey from then to today.

    People in hockey thought the grass was greener on the other side….eh….yeah ok. I still watch hockey, however it is by far a worse game than in the past.

    Brooks and his stupid article about Kid Rock also expresses the stupidity that has taken over our society.
    If you are a liberal…you are right and smarter than everyone else. So lets see Brooks indicates that Kid Rock should not represent Hockey because he displayed the Confederate flag…….that’s a battle flag not the Confederate flag, yet it’s ok to display the Rainbow flag? Adorn the White House with it and that’s not offensive? Give me a freaking break. Why is one point of view acceptable and the other is not?

    Mr Duguay you did just fine. You expressed a point of view you believed in and entitled to express it. Those who opposed it. well that’s fine…oppose it but don’t go gallivanting with your self righteous bullshit.

    • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      Well said, when the intensity ramps up via a fight or big hit the game becomes 10xs more enjoyable to watch. Libbys are so daft they are unaware that they are no more than useful idiots in their own demise.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Ugh! A political article?

    Politics is a surefire way to ruin a sports blog…. and lately an entire sport (see NFL). This stuff is divisive. You still have to remember (like you say about Ron) that not everyone agrees with your point of view either… even in NY.

    I’m new to this website this season, but already having doubts with posts like this. I look for hockey analysis when I visit hockey sites. Not this stuff…

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm


    “Spare me the concussion nonsense. I played contact sports because I chose to play knowing the ramifications.”

    Maybe so, but in that case you are quite rare. Certainly when I was 20 or 30, I had no appreciation of what dementia felt like. I didn’t even have a clue as to what being old was like. What constitutes good health in old age? Who knew? I sure didn’t. The concept that something would cause lasting damage or damage down the road is hard to grasp. Yes, someone may have told you ramifications, but very few of us actually understand them.

    “If you are a liberal…you are right and smarter than everyone else.”

    Talk about stereotyping. The truth is that I have skills and intellectual abilities that you don’t and you have skills and intellectual abilities that I don’t. You want to claim your superiorities and deny those of others.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    This is a sports site, enough with the carp on politics. For everyone’s thought process, please keep in mind that no political party has a monopoly on scumbags, they are all scumbags!!!!!!!!!

    Now go crazy with the thumbs down, or up, or sideways, just have fun with it….

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I think the one – kinda obvious, frankly – explanation is that Duguay probably has a few cobwebs upstairs.

  • Jan 23, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Hey well, we can probably all agree that the best part was the panel’s subsequent awkward silence and shifting out of frame to avoid being in that ‘end of career’ clip.

  • Jan 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Yet another example of Feminist gender fascism. I marched for freedom, not for this BS. So weak, so oppressive, so privileged, so hypocritical.

    Masculinity is AWESOME.

    Grow. Up.

    • Jan 24, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      You’re a clown.

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