Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Appert Suspended One Game by the ECAC

Straight from the horse's mouth:
ALBANY, N.Y. -- ECAC Hockey today announced that Rensselaer head coach Seth Appert has been suspended one game as a result of his post-game actions after a game at Union, Friday November 12.

The League action was taken in accordance with Section VI. (Conduct and Ethics) of ECAC Hockey Policies and Procedures.

Appert will miss Rensselaer’s game Friday, November 22 versus Connecticut.
OK. Yes, most of us saw this coming.

Now, after looking for "ECAC Hockey Policies and Procedures," it was nowhere to be found. We did, however, find the ECAC East's bylaws. The ECAC East is a Division III conference still directly connected to the actual Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC Hockey split from the actual ECAC in 2004). They have a Section 5 called "Conduct and Ethics." It stands to reason that it's probably pretty much the same thing.
League Discipline
The ECAC commissioner is permitted to assess penalties (i.e., suspensions) on coaches and student-athletes for abusive or racial language, physical action with the intent to injure, negative language toward officiating in public forums (i.e., media) or other incidents, which the Commissioner deems as detrimental to the image of the League.
So basically, don't ever make the league look bad.

Here's the transcript. The first mention happened while Nick Bailen and John Kennedy were being interviewed, with Appert sitting nearby.
Ken Schott, The Daily Gazette: Nick, we'll start with you on the controversial ending. What did you see?

Nick Bailen: I just saw a lot of guys in front, and apparently we had goalie interference, but we can't put everything on that it was just... we should have won it earlier in the game and not given up so many (power plays). We had a good chance, we capitalized, it's just unfortunate that the calls didn't go our way at the end, but we can't blame everything on that.

Schott: What did you think of the call? You guys are celebrating for a couple seconds and then you guys come to find out it's waved off.

Seth Appert: You guys take a look and see. They're not going to comment on the call, but here it is if you want to watch it.

(places laptop on dais)

Appert: There's no comments. Refs make good calls, they make bad calls. We can all watch it and see if there's any interference.

(plays video)

Appert: So I don't think they'll have to answer any more questions on that again.

Schott: Are you... do you think you're going to get fined...

Appert: Back to them.
That looks pretty benign to me. Is this suspension based on showing a video of what actually happened, with no comments? Yes, it's obvious he was of the opinion that the wave-off was bogus. But he left it to the media to make that decision for themselves. They saw his reaction, they know how he felt from that alone. Are we going to suspend people for ever disagreeing with the referees? Does the simple showing of a video make the league look bad? If so, the league has to ask itself... WHY? Why does it make us look bad?

Perhaps it was later in the press conference, when Appert sat down at the dais.
Schott: Seth, are you concerned you might hear from the league about showing the video?

Appert: Why? Is there a policy that you can't show video?

Schott: I'm just asking.

Appert: I think the ref should be concerned about it.

Sean Martin, Albany Times Union: Did you talk to him? What did he say?

Appert: Apparently, we hit the goaltender.

Martin: With what?

Appert: We hit the goaltender into the post and knocked the post off, or something of that nature. Not sure.
Appert was rather standoffish during this exchange. There was a good five seconds of silence after he said the ref should be concerned about it - a comment that could possibly have been the ultimate trigger. But why shouldn't the ref be concerned about blowing a call that cost a team the opportunity to play for one, and possibly two points in overtime?

Later, Appert talked more about his reaction.
WNYT Reporter: Coach, I know I haven't covered you or RPI for all that long, but the way you reacted to the call, do you remember a time in your career reacting like that to a certain call?

Appert: I'm sure I get emotional sometimes. I try not to. I try to be less emotional as I'm getting older and feeling much older. I want to keep the bench calm and we're doing a better job of that in the last year and a half. I think I react emotionally when you know the call is wrong. And it's not why we lost, I want to make that abundantly clear. Full credit to Union, I would appreciate it if everybody would put that in their story. I give full credit to Union, to Nate (Leaman) and his staff for the victory. Absolute full credit. The goal is not why we lost. But...

Ed Weaver, The Record: ...that's why you're not in overtime right now.

Jason Klump, College Hockey News: Why did you lose, then?

Appert: We lost because we were in the box too much.
He's right - the Engineers did take too many penalties on Friday, and limiting them on Saturday helped them win, but let's be real. The disallowed goal would have made it 2-2. Did they play a perfect game? No. Could they have gotten the goal earlier? Yes. They didn't. But they did get it before 60:00, which is all that was asked of them. To disregard a terrible call just because they could have scored another goal in the preceding 59:52 is a joke. Yale lost 4-3 on Sunday when they could have won 6-4 if they'd scored 3 more goals earlier in the game, right? Same stupid argument.

Meanwhile, apparently Nate Leaman is allowed to trash talk Appert in his own press conference from that night while avoiding the obvious.
Schott: We got to see a video of it, and for us it was tough to tell. We were surprised Seth would actually show us the video of the play.

Nate Leaman: Whatever. That wasn't the game. I thought the game was [Allen] York... I thought we had some chances to make it 3-1, and some chances to make it 2-0, and I think York held them in there.

If that goal hadn't been waved off, would you have been asking why it wasn't?

Leaman: That's not the game. You guys are making that call the game, that's what [Appert] wants, he wants that call to be the game, that's what he wants to sell to his team.
Well, first, that's wrong, although I'm sure Leaman hadn't been around for the Appert press-conference. Second, dodging that question's pretty much proof positive that he knows they got the benefit from a lousy call.

Then, of course, Leaman not only whines about the press coverage the next night - the press coverage after a victory - he withholds his team from the media. And nothing.

But hey. At least he didn't make the league look bad.

It's time for the ECAC to man up. The video seems to indicate that RPI was deprived of not one but two goals which probably should have counted this weekend. Union should have had the benefit at the end of Saturday's game of having the video to check to make sure the goal should have counted. There. Is. A. Problem. Sticking your head in the sand and putting your crosshairs on those pointing out the problem instead of fixing it is exactly why this league is becoming more and more of a laughingstock in the college hockey world.

If this leads to some kind of positive action by the league on fixing the officiating problems that have plagued the ECAC for years - problems that Paul Stewart was supposedly brought in to bring to heel THREE years ago, then this suspension is worth it. If not, it's just another indication of the downward spiral. Who's the martyr going to be, Mr. Hagwell? Seth Appert or Paul Stewart?


  1. What's more ridiculous, the ECAC's reaction to this or the reporters trying to blow it up into something more than it is and trying to start a back and forth between Appert and Leaman?

  2. Unbelievable. Talent usually overcomes bad reffing but in this instance if SA is wrong, put me in the boobyhatch too!


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