• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Tailing the Komets

OK, here's a question

Why did Brad MacMillan get suspended for 22 games?

Every report I've read and/or heard says MacMillan hit Van Drunen with one punch off the faceoff. I've heard all kind of supositions that someone allegedly hit Van Drunen while he was on the ice, but I've never seen that in a reliable source, and that has never been repeated in the reports since that night. Frankly, I don't believe MacMillan would do that. MacMillan is a player who reacts instantly, such as the elbow against Glenn Detulleo, but I've seen him fight more than 60 times when he had a chance to really do some damage to a player and he always pulls off at that point. He never loses control. Even in the incident last year against Muskegon he knew exactly what he was doing the entire time.

So he gets 22 games for one punch? Or does he get 22 games because of Van Drunen's injuries which are horrific, but also are a possibility when you play in a hockey game where fights are allowed and frequently happen? But attempt to injure for landing a punch? It has not been explained why that particular punch was any different than any other punch that is landed or thrown in a game.

But are the rules suddenly changing to fit the circumstances in this instance?

The more I think about this, it seems to be he got 22 games because Odessa's owner yelled the loudest, the incident was getting massive national publcity and the league had to react. The league has never released the tape, and would likely love for this to go away as quickly as possible, but part of this smells. From what I've seen reported, I don't understand why MacMillan got 22 games. He gets 22 games for landing one punch, but the other fights that happened basically get nothing?

I hope the union goes forward with its appeal because something isn't right here.  The league needs to protect it's players on both sides, and fighting is allowed under the rules of the game. It's no surprise to anyone on this blog that I'm not a huge proponent of fighting, but it's allowable under the rules. Either it is or it isn't, and what did MacMillan do wrong under the rules? If he threw one punch shouldn't it be an instigator penalty at most under the rules?

I don't understand this.

Posted in: Komets


Wed, 10/20/2010 - 6:40pm

1 punch to an unsuspecting or unwilling opponent is awful. Ever notice when someone gets sucker punched the injuries they sustain are much more severe? A willing combatant will flinch to avoid direct hits, or tighten supporter muscles to disperse the impact. So when someone is sucker punched they receive the most devastating effect possible from the blow.

22 games sounds right to me. Fight someone who is ready.

Not getting enough hits on the blog last few days so sparkin up some controversy eh? Good topic to get it I suppose. Thought we kinda ran it into the ground previously though.

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 6:59pm

So an elbow or a blow to the head when leaping in the air to make contact should receive 22 games...I am with Blake on this one. I have seen players get hurt just as bad from those types of "blows" as Van Drunen did.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 7:00pm

Sure, because I'm so famous for stirring stuff up just to do it. And because I'm getting sooooo much money out of the blog.

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 7:05pm

What are you "so famous" for?? Lol

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 7:29pm

How do you know that DVD had no clue that Mac was coming for him? You don't.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 7:45pm

I'm hearing different stories, I don't know which to believe and I wonder if I'll ever have the chance to understand this situation. Maybe this is a case where for Brad MacMillan it might have been better if he had been charged because at least then he could face his accuser in court, have a chance to defend himself and the full story would come out. Right now he doesn't have any chance, except for a possible appeal. He's going to be haunted by this situation, rightly or possibly wrongly, the rest of his life. If that's the case, then the league should bend over backwards to make sure the entire situation is fair -- to both sides.

I'm not trying to accuse the league of doing something unethical or immoral. I'm simply saying I have some questions. I don't understand why things have happened this way, and the league has said it will not comment further on the situation. There was never any chance to ask the questions. More than anything, I'm saying I don't understand.

I don't play games with things like this. I don't hint that I know something when I don't. I go right to the people involved and ask the questions. That has not been possible in this situation. The players on the team will tell you I am famous for something. I go into the locker room and say, hey, I've heard this, what's the deal? I try to get the direct answers ASAP. Remember the alleged fight in practice last year? I'm straight with them and I expect them to be straight with me.

If you'll recall, last year after the Muskegon incident, I made every effort to talk to both sides, both coaches and all the players involved in the situation so everyone could make up their own minds. Because this was an exhibition game and the deadlines present, that was not possible in this case.

And I haven't commented on this before now because I wanted to wait until the facts had a chance to come out. There's been that time now.

Tom Berry is one of the people in this world I have the most respect for. Whenever he ruled on a suspension, he laid everything out. You could disagree with him, but you knew exactly where he stood on any given situation. Same with Brad Jones. There was never any doubt in my mind those two men took the time to be very careful and thoughtful in any decision they made.

For any player to be suspended for one-third of a season and threaten his livelihood like this, there should be more transparency. We've never been able to hear MacMillan's side of the story, and I would guess we never will because his lawyer and the team and everyone is telling him not to. It seems awfully one-sided, and hockey fights NEVER are. Just like divorces, there's always two sides to a hockey fight.

In a situation like this, if it is over, there should be no questions remaining. But there are.

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 7:58pm

This whole thing has just been...odd. The video needs to be released

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 8:01pm

Thank you, Blake. Since this went down I've read these people demonizing MacMillan. I agree that after watching him for the legnth of time I did that he was never "over the line".

It upsets me to read the statements made by people who were all too happy to watch Mac entertain them, bury the guy without knowing the facts.

I don't know what happened so I can only base my opinion on what I know from what I've seen in the past.

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 8:57pm

Great article Blake.

Vandrunen did see Mac coming. He even told people he saw him coming.

Mac is getting 22 games for throwing one good punch. That's it. Vandrunen challenged Mac before the whistle blew by spearing his hands.

I hope the appeal goes through as well.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 10:27pm

Your thoughts have me thinking alot Blake. I have to take a step back, and I agree with you. On everything you say here....even though I like fights in hockey, whereas you don't as it seems, otherwise, I agree with your thoughts.

My point from the beginning was....Mac was going to be in trouble for this. It was more of a gut feeling than anything, and it was because of what I was reading from Colorado fans who were screaming to get rid of Mac, which to me was the most telling evidence that was out there, even though it wasn't visual proof of anything. It was those fans, condemning their own player, that made it sound so bad.

I love what Mac did as a Komet. He was a true Komet. He was a Warrior. I will forever remember his role in the Playoffs playing with a broken hand and other injuries and darn near single handedly beating Kalamazoo to move onto the Finals, and being such a valuable player with PC out. He will forever be one of my all time favorite Komets for what he did when he was here.

And I will say, I agree with much of what JM says....he is not known for cheap play, and he did fight face to face with players, and always stood tall for his teammates. No question about it.

Thanks for your well thought out response to this Blake. This one really got me thinking. And I appreciate this so much.

I wish the best for Brad.

Chad Ryan
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 11:00pm

When I first read the accounts of this situation, I also thought something was wrong. I've done video interviews with Mac, I've photographed numerous fights of his and I've been around him quite a bit when covering the K's. I didn't believe then, and I don't believe now that he's the kind of player he's being portrayed as.

He was adamant about making sure a guy knew they were going to fight before anything happened. He told me that on more than one occasion and I take him for his word. Something else went down that we don't, and apparently won't, know about.

When Blake and I worked on the Komets preview section, I asked Blake how long it would take for Mac to wind up drawing the ire of K's fans. Turns out, it was faster than either of us might have predicted - during the preseason. Some of you busting his chops might want to remember just 5 months ago when you were screaming for the guy. I think he deserves at least a slight benefit of the doubt.

Blake Sebring
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 11:30pm

I think after 21 years I'm simply bored with fighting. I understand it's role in the game, but it never solves anything, it never really accomplishes anything. It's becoming more irrellevant. I know that's sacrilege to many of you, but really, when was the last time a fight really proved anything? Or really affected a game? Did the FW-Musk stuff ever end to anyone's satisfaction? How about the feud with Elmira? I have tremendous respect for the men who fight, I guess I'm just less sure with each season how much impact they are really having.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 5:20am

Fighting in hockey keeps the game honest. Part of todays problems with the game is the instigator rule. If you know that you do something stupid and then know you will have to answer the bell, it changes the way you handle your self on the ice. If fighting in hockey were not allowed, think wayne gretzy would have all the points he had? Coincidence dave semenco and marty mcsorley were traded with the great one? If fighting not allowed, the great one would have been fair game like everyone else on the ice

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 5:58am

Fighting in hockey is something that is just part of the game. You can play hockey without it, but sooner or later someone's going to take advantage of the skill player like brian was hinting at. That's why suspensions handed out by leagues are relevant. They keep athletic meatheads in check. Some try to hurt others because the others are better than they are, or at least it seems that way, or they just want to show how "tough" they are. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good blood-bath every now and again just like the next person, after all it is that time of year.

Was the 22 game suspension legit? I'm not too sure about that, but the CHL wanted to make a statement, or an example. It's politics at this point, and it's far from over. Something needed to be done yes, but sometimes institutions, or leagues, can go too far.

This reminds me of the NFL coming out and saying blows to the head are going to be surgically reviewed. The intent to injure in any sport needs to be critisized with some common sense. And players should practice common sense when they decide on how they are going to act on the playing...surface.

Playing at high speeds, things are going to happen that athletes can't control. However, I would think that life and or safety is more important than some trophy. Again, a little common sense can go a long way.

In any event, there's a lot of gray areas in life and we should realize that sports is not going to be immune that. Not every fight is the same, not every hit is the same, and there are different reasons athletes do things, but on the other hand sometimes every fight is the same, and every hit is the same and athletes do things for the same reasons.

It's a judgement call and people have been talking about who should make those judgements for ions. So we can sit here and discuss who's right and who's wrong until we're blue in the face, but we won't accomplish anything, because at that point we'll already have our minds made up as to what we think about this situation or the next or the one previous, or whatever.

I like Blake's approach, get everyone's side of the story, tell those sides and let everyone make there own decision. Kind of sounds like an election....owners, players, etc. voting on what type, if any, punishment Mac should get..?...hm. Unions and leagues might not be a bad combination, but I think there needs to be another branch, what that is exactly I'm not too sure.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 6:40am

Age may have something to do with getting bored with the fights. I'm not as into the boxing or MMA as I used to be. Granted, this is not an across-the-board analysis, but the younger fans tend to enjoy the fights more. As has been said countless times on this blog, at this level, it's not about the game anyhow, it's about the entertainment, and fights are entertaining. They aren't going anywhere, no matter how many people get hurt.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 7:30am

You are right, Blake Sebring. This whole thing has something about it that is not right. Here is an article from February where a player from Rapid City (of the CHL) got suspended 12 games for breaking another players neck. (http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/sports/article_ab9b543c-1f37-11df-9ad7-001cc4c002e0.html) The injured player was out for the balance of the season. 12 games for breaking someones vertebrae - 22 games for a broken jaw and a broken nose - doesn't make sense.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 10:48am

Dbowty- thanks for bringing that up. 22 games seems even more ridiculous now.

A True Hockey Fan. aka naif
Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:05am

We all need to see the video tape of this brawl before we can make a judgement on wether or not his length of suspension was justified. And since Blake said the video has not been released yet then we just have wait. IMO.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:18am

Although I agree completely with Blake regarding a reporter getting the whole story, I think we have to give the CHL some credit that they know how to do their job.

I , like most of you, would love to see some video of the incident. For me, this doesn't have as much to do with the player being an ex-Komet as it does with protecting the game and its players. I've tried to take the "hometown player" out of it and just use logic, not emotion.

It has been a long time since the Komets played in a unionized league. As I understand it MacMillan has appealed the suspension and the possibility still exists for a civil lawsuit. I'm only guessing, but maybe the league has refused to release any video until some of these other questions have been answered.

Ya know, it just might be that we don't know everything about this incident that the CHL may be privy to. I think its fair to consider that point also.

Blake, I'm confused. You put in a seven paragraph post. Some people would consider that a "book". I thought I was the only person to do that. See how easy it is?! LOL.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:44am

Off the subject completely.

If you want to see something pretty neat, go to the Komets website and take a look at the picture they've put up.

It is the very first Komets home game dated Oct 25, 1952.

Take a moment and notice the ice, the boards, the short screen that is behind the ends of the goals, the lack of any protection along the sides to protect the rinkside seats, and then take a look and see how the fans dressed for the occasion!

My, how times have changed!

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 12:49pm

Also look at the equipment (and lack there of) the players are wearing. If this shot was taken during the second period then just to the left of that net as we look at it is sitting my mother and father. I didn't make that game but I did make it to games that year. My dad use to jump up on that fence and sake it and yell at the refs and an occasional player which is why I'm so mellow at games...... :-)

Left Wing
Thu, 10/21/2010 - 12:58pm

And for most of the people in that picture, it was the first hockey game that they had ever seen.
That must have been an odd evening.

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 1:27pm


You forgot to mention the spectators are remaining in their seats until a stoppage of play, and are actually watching the game! lol

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 1:35pm

For once... thanks Alan for changing the subject. To those of you complaining about the length of the punishment vs. the punishment back in February for a broken neck... The penalty doesn't deal with the type or amount of injuries. I'm sure there is more in the video that NO ONE on this blog has seen that has warranted such a suspension. I don't even see why we're still talking about this. There's a reason the CHL posted "The CHL will make no further public comments regarding this incident and the penalties associated with the Colorado/Odessa game on October 9, 2010." at the end of the press release.

What I find interesting about the photo though is the way they're dressed most of the men in suits and ties, no one's holding up a sign or flag blocking the view of the person behind them, doesn't look like there are many kids kicking the back of seat in front of them, and theres not any advertising in the picture, not just on the ice, but at the top of the section as well. Oh and it doesn't look like anyone is trying to start the wave!!! :)

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 2:11pm

i dont need to see the video, but i can tell you there is nothing on the video that would warrent the CHL to give a 22 suspension

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 3:15pm

There is an advertisement not shown in the photo. On the original scoreboard the Coliseum had an advertisement for the old Wolf & Dessauer Department Store. W & D held an exclusive ad agreement back in the day.

Mr Snufflupugus
Thu, 10/21/2010 - 3:53pm

WHERE is the video for this? ANY video? Did NOBODY have a camera on this game? Does the CHL get stuffed pulled from youtube?

Hit Somebody!!!
Thu, 10/21/2010 - 10:12pm

Pascal Morency has been assigned to Bakersfield of the ECHL by the Houston Aeros of the AHL.

So much for dreaming.....

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 11:20pm

Total crap, Blake. I am actually an employee of the Colorado Eagles (I won't say how) and I'll admit that MacMillan is 100% at fault here, and 22 games isn't enough in my honest opinion. If you have not seen the tape, or you were not at the game when this happened, then you would be ignorant to have too extreme of an opinion from whichever stance you take here. I saw what happened first hand (I was at the game) and Van Drunen did not have a chance in the world to defend himself. A sucker punch caused David Van Drunen to suffer devastating facial injuries, and unfortunately he will now miss at least two months. MacMillan has to pay for his actions, which was NOT a fight, and he should apologize not only to Mr. Van Drunen, but to the many kids that were in attendance that had to witness this during an exhibition game. Just had to give my two cents here.

Fri, 10/22/2010 - 5:18am

So this Van Drunen is totally innocent of all of this? Free and clear? He didn't have it coming at all? No instigating? Ok, if so then why is there no video evidence and if there is, why won't the CHL release it? Why do we only hear one side of this story??