By now, most readers should be familiar with the controversial fight Sunday night between Tampa Bay Lightning forward B.J. Crombeen and Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. The fact that the two tussled wasn't surprising, but what did ruffle feathers was the fact that Rinaldo continued to throw punches on Crombeen's way down.
It's pretty obvious from viewing that clip that at a certain point, the lights were on and no one was home in Crombeen's noggin, and he looked woozy and concussed on his way off the ice. Concussions happen in fights all of the time, but usually guys throwing punches try to avoid hitting people after they know the other person's done. Crombeen refused to comment on the appropriateness of the hit, saying:
“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing. I mean, guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not.”
So, then, Beener thinks it was dirty. What does Rinaldo have to say?
“I hit him until he was down. I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I hit him until he was down. I made sure he was down and that was it.
“I kind of felt bad in case I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did.”
If making sense of that didn't make your head hurt like Crombeen's did after the fight, I'm impressed. Basically, Rinaldo didn't consider Crombeen down until he was literally down; he isn't the kind of guy to consider "on the way down" or "knocked loopy" to be the end of the fight, and that's understandable. Interpretation's everything. Things get dicey when Rinaldo's teammate Tom Sestito hops in with commentary.
Sestito says that Crombeen "had something coming to him" after slashes to Claude Giroux's wrists. The Flyers captain was uninjured, but it was the intent to injure behind that play that upset the Flyers, and rightfully so. However, premeditation that's vocalized in the press like that is a no-no. Everyone knows that people are marked for retaliation for previous transgressions. It happens pretty often; when the intent to go after someone becomes public, that's where the problem lies.
Crombeen deserved to answer the bell for the slashes. The issue is now more a matter of if Rinaldo and now Sestito upheld their end of the code the same way that Crombeen was held accountable according to it.