Monday, January 26, 2009

Conboy and Tropp Suspended for the Season

FYS just announced that Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp will both be suspended for the duration of their season for their roles in the attack on Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer Saturday night. I know a lot of people, myself included, were hoping for more. I was of the opinion that Conboy, at the very least, should've been kicked off the team.

But I don't think anyone can be unhappy with the punishment, especially considering the fact that Kampfer escaped major injury. I realize that the result doesn't change the action--the recklessness was the same whether they killed him or he got away uninjured--but I'm ok with the punishment FYS imposed. I would only hope that both players are on no-tolerance policies from here on out. On-ice, personal life, in class....take a false step and you're gone.

I do feel that if Kampfer had been seriously injured we would have seen at least one Spartan booted from the team. But I'd much, much rather have a healthy Kampfer than have two fewer Spartans on their hockey roster.

Even though FYS's team is awful, the punishment is severe. Both guys are going to miss 12+ games, and they've got a stigma that will follow them for a long time. (Have you ever looked at Todd Bertuzzi the same way after his hit on Steve Moore? I haven't.) Considering that it doesn't appear Kampfer will miss any action, I think it's pretty reasonable. Though I do still question FYS for having a no-talent knucklehead like Conboy on the team.

There's finally a good-quality video of the incident on Youtube, so if you haven't yet seen what all the fuss is about, here ya go:

As one would expect, the Michigan blogosphere exploded about the incident.
-The Ace of Sports, The Diag and MHNet had hilarious beat-downs of the State News writer who essentially split the blame for the incident between Michigan and MSU. I had a similar reaction to the two of them when I read that story. I'm glad they already did it justice. I especially liked that MHNet pointed things out to yet another recipient of the thin letter that no, the second word of the chant was not "State".

The original article (by the way, check out the hyperlink...evidently they've got a Canadian uploading articles or something?) is worth reading, simply to see the writer getting ripped to shreds in the comments.

This is the best part:

With the game all but over, U-M’s Steve Kampfer took a run at MSU sophomore forward Corey Tropp at center ice.

In an attempt to stick up for his teammate, MSU freshman Andrew Conboy went after Kampfer to try and teach him a lesson.


MGoBlog had a pair of typically awesome pieces. One about the incident itself and a follow-up the next day. (Bonus points for the picture of Tropp between Satan and Jim Tressel.) He makes a really great point that the punishment needed to be severe, considering college hockey doesn't allow players to "police themselves" by fighting.

I do agree that the suspension to the players isn't as severe as it would have been if FYS was a decent hockey team, but these have to rank amongst the longest suspensions in the history of college hockey. I wanted to see one, if not both of them, kicked off the team, but the realistic side of me figured that wouldn't happen. It's nice to know that brutally assaulting someone on the ice is twice as severe as saying "Sloppy seconds" about your ex-girlfriend though. In case you were wondering.

Here was MHNet's original take about the game. I can't remember if I linked to it or not.

A really strong take from Michigan Sports Center.

WCH has the FYS chant figured out.

The national media/blogosphere has picked up on things as well. The incident made it to Deadspin, The New York Times, The Sporting News, AOL's Fanhouse, and now, ESPN.

The Ann Arbor News, who has been all over this story, has an account of how Bruce Kampfer made it past security into the visiting locker room. The elder Kampfer called Red Berenson to apologize for his actions and Michigan announced that security will be beefed up in the future.

The Michigan Daily has an interview with Steve Kampfer. He confirms that the slash hit him in the neck and he mentions that no one from FYS has contacted him to apologize and he doesn't want them to.

Some good news: Mel Pearson was on WTKA today and mentioned that Mark Mitera is doing very well and is "probably a couple weeks away still..." It sounds like we're going to get #17 back before the end of the year, which is amazing. Our defense corps is going to be just ridiculous when he gets back. Scooter Vaughan, who had a very solid freshman season, is a healthy scratch already. Hard to believe that we've got the #9 defense in the country without Mitera, without Kampfer for over half the season, and without Burlon for 8 games or so. If that group is completely healthy for the post-season, we're going to be sitting pretty.

Final thoughts:

I'm glad to see that FYS took action before the CCHA did (even if it was kind of a joint venture). They sent a message that actions like that won't be tolerated, and even if I think it lacked a little bit of a spine not to boot at least one of them, the punishment was quick, it was severe, and they didn't make excuses for the actions, unlike the State News reporter.

I'm also glad to see that Michigan quickly admitted that the security outside the visiting locker room was lax and has taken steps to remedy the situation. It shouldn't be that easy to get inside a team's locker room. Though had there been adequate security around, Mr. Kampfer still could have gotten to Tropp when the team was headed out to the bus, if he really wanted to. Security would have eliminated the "spur of the moment" reaction to run in there, though, and it's good they're going to step it up. It wasn't a great reaction, but Mr. Kampfer has brass ones...

Finally, I have to comment about the language at Yost, most notably the FYS chant. I might take some heat for this opinion, and that's fine. Maybe it's a generational thing or maybe I just have a very high threshold for what is offensive, but I just don't see what the big deal is. I really don't. It's a nice ideal that college games be a family atmosphere, but when you've got a couple thousand college kids in the same place, there's going to be language that you don't necessarily want your kid to hear. Hell, there's probably language you wouldn't want your kid to hear in the dining halls, let alone at the hockey games.

When I was 11, my parents let my brother and I see My Cousin Vinny. I still remember it to this day. We went to the video store and they told both of us, "We don't agree with the language that they use in this movie. You will not use the words they use. But the movie is funny enough that we think you need to see it." We watched it. We laughed a lot. And it didn't corrupt me from having heard the word "fuck" several dozen times. Be a good parent and it's a non-issue. Either your kid knows the word or they're going to learn the word at some point. Don't stop going to Yost because of the language. If it happens, use it as a teaching tool.

I never agreed with throwing the term "C***-sucker" into the penalty chant. I do think that crosses the line. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite somewhat, I'm not sure. I have my own lines and I think that one crossed it. But I never have seen the problem with the rest of the penalty chant--seriously, you can say the majority of those words on TV--and even if the FYS chant would normally cross my hypothetical line, I do believe that it was completely called-for in this situation. Sometimes booing just doesn't get it done. Call me immature if you want to.

For the record, I realize that stuff like that doesn't paint the university in a great light. Would I appreciate it if they wouldn't chant "Fuck the Irish" unprovoked? Sure. But in general, I view people as overly-sensitive about stuff like that. We can have all the violence in the world on TV. But God-forbid we see a covered up breast during the Super Bowl or someone says the F-word. Maybe you shouldn't have to consider what your kid will hear if you take him to the hockey game. But if he doesn't know those words yet, he's gonna learn them soon enough. Probably from you during a Michigan football game. Chances are, unless he's like 4 he probably uses them already when he's out of your earshot.

Lastly, since I have to run, lost in the melee this weekend was how freaking awesome our new second line is. Palushaj, Rust and Hagelin were amazing this weekend. They've clearly got chemistry, Rust is scoring again, and Caporusso proved yet again that he can be perfectly effective without Palushaj on his wing. Turnbull and Wohlberg are playing great hockey. Two scoring lines (and a fantastic checking line) make for a very scary Michigan team moving forward, especially considering how good our defense and goaltending have been. The third line wasn't great, but things don't always gel overnight. If Czarnik gets going--and he pretty much has to at some point--the third line could be pretty good as well.


Anonymous said...

I feel that the Kampfer's should demand that Tropp and Conboy be charged with as many charges as possible.These have to include assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and even attempted murder. If all else fails the Kampher's should sue Tropp's and Conboy's familys, Rick Comely, and Little Brother U for all that they are worth. The CCHA is a joke if they do not kick both out of the league and give Comley a heavy fine. Hell with Little Brothers distigushed history of suporting worthless thugs, maybe the NCAA should examine the prospect of making LBU to disband its D1 hockey program. LBU's hockey team belongs in some Quebec beer league, not the NCAA.

Tom said...

I think that the real tragedy here is that Tim Miller is a senior and won't get to skate against Conboy/Tropp again. I really think that he's earned the nickname "the killer" (plus it counts double with some of the one-man shows he's had on the penalty kill recently).

I wonder if Michigan is going to "suspend" Kampfer's dad? I think that we've all done things that we regret in the heat of the moment, but these actions need to have consequences. If Michigan wants to have the moral high ground here, I think that they have to ask him to stay home for the next couple of weekends. Thoughts?

Becky said...

I never agreed with throwing the term "C***-sucker" into the penalty chant. I do think that crosses the line.

I completely agree with you -- having "cocksucker" as part of a regular chant is over the line, as is a regular refrain of "Fuck the Irish." "Dirty Irish" is funnier, anyways! Also, I get tired in general of all the worst insults for the "C-ya" cheer boiling down to being either "gay" or "promiscuous woman". Blah. (I like "WHOOOOOOORE!", though, because of the way it reverberates. So I'm maybe even more inconsistent than you.)

At the same time, I think "Fuck you State!", heard in all its glory on TV, was perfectly understandable given the context of what happened.

(Can I rant about Paula Weston? And how much I hate her for always being like, "Oh, I'm just a little girl hockey reporter, don't mind me?" And how she's so prudish that not only did she complain about the "Porno Mustache!" chant -- which is one of my favorites -- but she wrote it as "P***o Mustache"? I stopped reading her when she had her fiftieth column complaining about Yost obscenities, in a season that saw fans in Alaska dumping their sodas on Al Montoya. We're the ones without any class?)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the comeback of the Rust-Hagelin-Palushaj line. I've been hoping for this for awhile and was quite pleased with this weekend. I'm also excited for some more Ciraulo filled games!

Josh said...

I agree with Becky. We should leave out the c*cksucker ending to the hockey cheer. I like last season when we were personalizing the ending of the hockey cheer depending on the team and player getting sent to the box. Of course part of the reason we started personalizing the cheer was that the ushers were being more stringent on kicking students out for cheering c*cksucker last season. The rest of the cheer is fine. Nothing you wouldn't here on prime time tv. There is nothing mocking gay people in the cheer. So i don't know where becky is getting that. I do not know what changed the administrations plans for the student section. Chanting F You State may not have been classy but it was the right move. The students could have bottled up that anger and frustrated energy, but it had to be released before someone did something really dumb and stupid. It was a good pressure release.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree about the pressure release comment. I was in the student section, chanting FYS with all the rest, and after the game, I was able to simply look at MSU fans with loathing, shake my head, and walk away. Had I not blown off steam with the other students, I probably would have hit someone.

On a side note, my friends and I have been among those not yelling c***sucker for a few years now. This year, we have added "Boren" to the end of the cheer, which, imho, is a much nastier thing to call someone than a c***sucker.

Anonymous said...

My son and i were at this game in Ann Arbor (as a recruiting trip). He's being looked at my both Michigan, Michigan State and a few others. I can't tell you if he'll be playing at Michigan or not, but i do promise you he won't be playing for Michigan State. My wife, my son, and I all sat watching this unfold on the ice across from us and couldn't believe what we were seeing. I was almost surreal. Hockey has enough challenges without incidents like this feeding the anti-hockey sentiment across the nation. I'm just glad Steve Kampfer is going to be OK. Best of luck on the rest of the season.

Joe Hass said...

On security: when I read that the guy watching the door actually leaves his post when a player is going from the ice entrance to the locker room, I laughed (and not a funny laugh, but an absurd laugh).

I always find it amusing when the DPS people are up on the club level. Because that's so often where the troublemakers sit.

As for the chant: the Athletic Department are the biggest bunch of hypocrites when it comes to the chant. They say they want the chant to stop, but they never seem to do anything that would actually, you know, make the chant stop. I think it's stupid and pointless and mildly offensive, but you know what? There's a lot of stuff that meets all three of those categories, and I still manage to live my life.

There's a point in which the chanting goes from amusing to angry, and the "Fuck You State" chant at the end was one of those that was an real angry chant, when I thought "you know, I'd put a couple of security people by the State parents section because this crowd is getting ugly" (and, in fact, it was).

I mentioned this in a previous comment: at some point, the Athletic Department has to start treating these things as places that require actual security, not a token appearance by DPS. They need to hire people who have the ability to manage a situation and remove people if needed. The locker room incident was a wake-up call. How much you want to bet they hit snooze?

Josh said...

The AD has been trying to stop the c*cksucker part of the hockey cheer up until this season. The past two seasons ('06-'07, '07-'08) the AD instructed ushers to remove any students they witness yelling c*cksucker in the hockey cheer. I was actually kicked out for it once. It actually worked last season as we (students) removed that part from the cheer and decided to customize for the team we were playing. The rest of the cheer is fine. Chump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch, whore, slut are all words found on prime time tv and in PG movies. Some of the endings we used for the cheer last season included cornhusker, ohio resident, and dingle berry (which caught on very strongly and was used for the rest of the season after the tO$U game).

I do not why the AD gave us students more freedom with the hockey cheer this season. They have not been kicking out students for dropping the c***k sucker ending at all this season. So the AD gave us students an inch of freedom for the cheer and the students took a mile. I can imagine last years rules will be enforce for the student section again starting Saturday night.

SyracuseWolvrine said...

Just glanced at the Sporting News article that was linked ... Who is Aaron Kampfer?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Conboy just dropped out of MSU

Joe Hass said...

Josh: just kicking the students out does nothing, because the kids come back the next game and do it again.

The correct answer is to eject the students, revoke their hockey season tickets (with no refund, which I believe is in their right under the terms of purchasing season tickets), and ban them from attendance at any intercollegiate event for the remainder of their Michigan career. If they're caught, it's criminal trespassing, charges are brought, and you're expelled. Make this announcement at the start of the game: "Violators are subject to removal from the arena, forfeiture of their season tickets, and banning from all Michigan sporting events." That'll get everyone's attention. And that's how you stop the chant.

Think that's too rough? Then simply prohibit them from attending any hockey games for the remainder of their academic careers. The bottom line is this: the AD has asked nicely: didn't work. They've tossed students: didn't work. Just because the AD doesn't want to do something doesn't mean they can't do it.

And don't count on the ushers. Put security people in the press box level with binoculars to monitor the student section, and have them radio to DPS to remove the students en masse (15 at a time).

Again, it's a solvable problem. The AD just doesn't want to do what it takes to solve the problem.

Josh said...

Come on Joe, kicking the students out worked a season ago and will work again IF THEY ACTUALLY KICK THE STUDENTS OUT. We didn't say the c*cksucker ending during the '07-'08 season and everyone was happy. This season is just evidence of when you give someone an inch they will take a mile. I was surprised when c*cksucker took over half way through this season. What you are suggesting is way too tough. It is just swearing. It is not like we are assaulting anyone...

whatever, I just cannot logically see why the American society is so obsessed with swearing over violence. My beliefs maybe how I was raised by my parents.

Joe Hass said...

Josh: You're right that it'd be bordering on draconian, and this is coming from a guy who was raised in a household where swearing was not a big deal. It makes no difference to me if they bounce the kids or not. I think the penalty chant is just stupid in general, but as I noted in a previous comment there are a lot of stupid things in life that aren't worth fighting about.

My point is that the AD wants to have it both ways: they want to make it sound as though they're taking a hard line on the chant without actually taking a hard line on the chant. And that's where I call bullshit. Either you start taking real action against the students because they're doing the verbal equivalent of flipping you off or you stop doing your best Helen Lovejoy "Won't somebody think of the children?" cry and just suck it up.

Packer487 said...

@Becky: I'm not 100% positive we were the first, but to the best of my knowledge it was my group of friends that originally started the porno mustache chant. I'm disappointed Molina shaved his off, because he always seemed to get a kick out of that chant. I wish I had this blog back in 02 or 03 when she was killing Michigan pretty much every week in her column about the fan behavior. I absolutely lit her up in an email about how we swear, but we don't throw full cans of beer at people like the monsters down in the city where she hailed from.

@DLup: That's pretty good, tacking "Boren" onto the end. I know for a little while there (several years back) we used to close the chant with "Henson, Ellerbe, Pitino, Pitino's wife"

@Joe Hass: I think everyone can agree that that wasn't the best workflow. But then again, they've probably never had more security than that around the visiting locker room and nobody has ever broken in before. Sometimes it takes a bad incident to make you realize that the status quo isn't good enough.

Of course, you complain about DPS being up in the luxury boxes, but what would you be saying if an incident happened up there and there was no DPS cop up there? Michigan being negligent again?

@Syracuse: Maybe that guy is a Packers fan too and confused Steve Kampfer with Aaron Kampman? :)

@Joe Hass (comment 2): I suppose that would be one way to stop the chant, yes. Why not just kick them out of school while you're at it?

I don't know that it's this way for everyone, but if I ever got kicked out of the arena for doing the chant, I probably would have cut it out. But then, I'm one of the ones who pretty much cut it out when they asked us to, because I didn't want to risk missing any Michigan hockey.

Why keep showing up and wasting money by getting yourself thrown out for saying one bit of that chant that doesn't need to be said? I think I would've just yelled "Box cutter" instead.

@Josh: I'm with ya. I actually read a comment from someone (maybe on Brian's blog) who stated it was easier to explain to his daughter about the attack on Steve Kampfer than it was to explain to her the language that the student section was using. I really don't understand that.

@Joe Hass (#3): I think you might have hit on something there. I don't think the athletic department likes the chant. I think they'd prefer that the kids not do it. But I also think they're pretty realistic that they're not going to cut it out completely.

Pick your battles. I have no problem if they want to come down hard on the students to cut out the c-sucker part of the chant again. (And again, maybe that makes me a hypocrite based on my "they're just words" stance.) It seemed to be effective the last time they did it. That should be sufficient. Because that is the only word of the penalty chant that should really be considered offensive to anyone, IMO.

But I will never agree that the students were at all out of line for the FYS chant.

Anonymous said...

Adding "Boren" to the end of the CYA chant is effing PRICELESS!!!!!

hump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch, whore, slut, BOREN BOREN BOREN!!!!