Bernstein: Why Do The ‘Hawks Taunt Injured Opponents?

By Dan Bernstein–

I should probably heed the trial lawyer’s rule, and not even ask a question about hockey without already knowing the answer.

Experience with previous, similar efforts tells me that the responses will be contradictory, bewildering and unsatisfying, and will likely result in accusations of femininity, weakness and/or homosexuality. Eventually, some in the discussion will be told to go back to whatever sport they like, and to stop asking things that require logical explanations.

But, against my better judgment, I ask anyway.

Isn’t it considered uncool to for professional athletes to jeer at an opposing player as he’s coming off the ice with an injury?

The Blackhawks have made a habit of doing so this season, which provided some nifty television last night in Boston. Bruins winger Shawn Thornton fell into the skate-blade of the Hawks’ Fernando Pisani, gashing his forehead over his right eye. As he skated off, blood streaming from his face, some comments from the seated Hawks caused him to stop to confront the unidentified hecklers. Thornton nearly shoved past referee Don Van Massenhoven, who then admonished the Chicago bench as Thornton left for 40 stitches.

“Those guys on their team chirp a lot,” Thornton said. “I don’t know if it is right when someone’s face is half across the other side of their face.”

I don’t know either. Perhaps it’s right when someone sustains a serious knee injury, as the Flames’ Brendan Morrison did when he was hit by Niklas Hjalmarsson on February 2nd. The Calgary Sun reported that as he limped off the ice that night, “a sampling of Hawks on the bench fired a few taunting volleys at his misfortune.”

“What was a little disappointing was coming off and guys from the Chicago bench being a little disrespectful. That was uncalled for,” Morrison said. “I don’t know if they understood what was going on, but some young guys on their team were standing up and yelling. I don’t think it’s very professional.”

Hockey, we know, is a rough-and-tumble game played mostly by foreigners, with arcane, off-the-books rules and an unspoken code of “manly” behavior. It’s hard to know where the line is drawn on this kind of thing, since so much depends on an individual’s reputation and history.

I’m sure there’s some aspect of this I just don’t get, that makes what appears to be plainly boorish behavior completely acceptable to some, within the context of the sport. But it would fly in the face of everything I know from football, for example, where the inherent dangers of the job instill a there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-go-I mentality among combatants, even as the competition rages.

Anybody could be next, and everybody knows it. They are all trying to kill each other (and actually succeeding in doing so, if slowly, as we’re now more aware), but the mocking of injuries is not kosher. It’s just not done in the NFL. A defensive end may celebrate a blindside sack, but he’ll also be the first guy with a supportive gesture as the QB is carted away.

The Blackhawks, apparently, do not share that mentality. Perhaps that’s just the way hockey is.

Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Uragay

    Your gay.

    • garyu

      Uh-oh….The Score must’ve told Boers & Bernstein to talk about Hockey…They shouldn’t since they don’t know much about it, and basically don’t like it much..
      Poor Shawn Thornton. He tried to take Hammer’s knee out in the 1st period, and didn’t say ‘OOPS’…Then he fell on a skate, and somebody said something mean! the Hawks are the only team that trash talks….Bad, BAD!

      • Alan A. Rich

        Newsflash, no one cares about hockey, that’s why it is the least profitable of all professional sports. You should really be thankful that people even talk about Hockey. Do you really want to go back to the days of sub 5,000 attendance at the United Center, when it was just the “true fans”? The reason B&B don’t know about hockey is that they and most other people don’t care one bit about your sport.

    • Michelle

      Hockey is a sport, and in sports you get hurt. They knew what they signed up for. and if you did you research, you would see that these ACCIDENTS were not done on purpose to hurt their opponents, they wouldn’t need to hurt anyone.. they didn’t hurt anyone last year and they won the stanley cup.

    • Shawn Johnson

      This is a stupid move by the Hawks because it will come with retaliation. They are the defending champions. They should act like it, instead of acting like teenage bullies.

    • Peter Borich

      Just another reason why is it is hard as a Chicago Sports fan for me to take any pleasure from the Hawks Stanley Cup win last season. Hockey is truly a lower-tier sport, which is evidenced by the conduct by its very participants.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Talk more hawk-ey!

    Stop talking Hawk-ey.

  • morris wanchuk

    Your gay what?

    • nothern huskie

      In this case it is “your gay” Dans hockey gayness is so great that all gayness was given to him, he owns it all.

      • Alan A. Rich

        It’s YOU”RE gay not YOUR gay, and I find it pathetic that you are capable of operating a computer but cannot spell a simple word like YOU’RE correctly or formulate a coherent sentence. By the way, if YOU’RE going to use this forum why don’t you use YOUR real name, calling yourself “Northern Huskie”….that’s just gay.

      • Jon

        This is a reply to the post below, from Mr. Alan A Rich. Congrats for knowing the difference between your and you’re. But unless I’m mistaken, Northern Huskie also understands this. That’s the joke…….. He was playing on the possessive “your,” which he explained by saying that Dan owns his “gayness.” Get it? If you need any more help with jokes in the comments, I’ll check back later.

  • Mr. Pouty Pants

    Football player reserve their taunting fir their twitter accounts during games they are not playing in.

    • Meatless Meatball

      Y’know that’s a really good point. At least the Hawks players do it to the guys’ faces. Not that I think they’re right, but it’s a lot more ballsy to taunt a guy to his face than to lambaste him over the Twitter machine.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Paging MJD… Paging MJD…

  • Chet Coppock

    Hockey isn’t for sissies Danny. I know you just got into the sport last year, jumping on the Hawks bandWGN, but maybe it’s just not for you?

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      It’s Hockey- they taunt – GET USED TO IT!

    • Alan A. Rich

      Jumping on a bandwagon is what fans do, I think that radio hosts of a sports talk show are somewhat obliged to discuss a sport if the team from their hometown is on their way to winning or wins the Stanley Cup. Obviously Bernsie doesn’t care about your boring Canadian sport, and as soon as the Hawks fade to mediocrity you can be assured that no one will talk about your precious hockey for a long time.

  • Goff's jumper

    I love it. It gets the other team more worked up so they don’t concentrate on their fundamentals and are out for blood. It’s a smart move, hooray hawks!!!

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Maybe, but what has been the Hawks’ excuse for their season-long string of mental lapses then?

      • David Hochberg - TownStone Financial

        They traded away all their depth and their 3rd and 4th lines are shell of their former selves?

      • Spoon

        I’m not sure that qualifies as “their season-long string of mental lapses”.

      • Beverly Brewmaster

        Actually, one of the biggest mysteries for me when it comes to analyzing sports is determining when a poor performance is due to lack of effort and when it’s simply a lack of talent. I’ve asked myself that a million times when it comes to this year’s Blackhawks. Obviously there are times where they don’t seem to care (not going hard into the corners, for example) but for those of us who were watching games before May last year, you’ll recall having similar feelings about that team down the stretch. I think they just had depth on the third and fourth lines that covered up those mistakes and this year they don’t.

    • Denver Deadite

      And yet, the Bruins didn’t take the bait last night.

      So, it’s only a smart move if it works. It certainly didn’t work last night.

    • Peter (in Rogers Park)

      That was a joke, right? The Hawks lost…badly. Time for a new tactic.

  • Danfan

    Thorton had teken a run at Hjalmarsson’s knee earlier in the game. It was a cheap shot behind the play and could have torn up his knee pretty good. I assume the Hawks were pretty happy to see the guy covered in blood. Still pretty low class to say something as he’e skating by. Keep your mouth shut and go win the game.

    • JAWS

      Danfan is correct. Thornton is a goon who took a shot at Hammer earlier. While I don’t agree that yapping was the right thing to do, I’m sure the Hawks wanted to remind him of it.

  • Denver Deadite

    Oh, and Notre Dame Student Safety wins the TOB. I called it at the start, and I see no reason why it won’t at this point. It was utterly absurd that it was made a 16 seed in the first place.

    • Spoon

      Jumping on LSD in a blizzard was my pick.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      I wonder if under-ranking Notre Dame Student Safety was an ironic response to the fact that, in real life, Notre Dame football is ridiculously OVER-ranked every year.

      And for me, Urinal Conversations is the VCU of the ToB. Annoying? Yes. Awkward? Absolutely. But bad on the level of Charlie Sheen or Carol Moseley Braun? No way. Just goes to show how weak Matty’s bracket was this year.

  • Jay's Insulin Pump

    Danny . . . in hockey, if a player needs to be carted off the ice, I seriously doubt anyone would taunt him. Just like in football.

    Many times in hockey, the hits that lead to injuries are intentional. Hence the taunting. In football, their job is to hit someone as hard as they can. Resulting injuries are usually unintentional.

    Don’t BS us with this story, and don’t compare two completely different sports. If someone called in B&B with this nonsense, they wouldn’t hear the end of it.

    • Peter (in Rogers Park)


  • Steve

    Have your communist gay talk more hockey on blogs


  • Peter (in Rogers Park)

    Maybe (as Danfan pointed out) the Hawks’ bench was making known its approval of the seemingly karmic nature of Thornton’s injury. Classy? Not really. Understandable? Sure.

    Anyway, in today’s blog DB links hockey’s violent/macho nature with the fact that it’s played mostly by foreigners. I do appreciate that this illustrates the inanity of some self-hating Americans’ perceived cultural inferiority to Europe, Canada, and pretty much anywhere but here. Unfortunately, while I sincerely doubt that DB is truly prejudiced toward any group (except maybe people with southern accents), there are shades of xenophobia to the comment.

    The only major, professional, team sport in the U.S. that isn’t played, in large part, by foreigners is football. The only major, professional, team sport in the U.S. that is played, in great majority, by foreigners is hockey. The only two major professional sports in the U.S. that are experiencing major rules/cultural changes (if not outright existential crises) as a result of their inherent levels of violence are football and hockey.

    I’m relatively certain that if you were to seek an example of bad manners on the football field it wouldn’t be hard to find one (so why go out of the way to write about it in hockey?). Point is, for a guy who hangs his hat on employing logic and reason over stupid, unfounded generalization, today’s blog was a blow to the personal brand image.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      THIS IS THE WORD. Preach it, my brother.

    • Alan A. Rich

      That was an odd comment out of nowhere about foreigners. But anyone who has spent time in eastern Europe knows that certain countries like the Ukraine, Russia and Czech Republic (to name a few) do have a culture that promotes a boorish machismo attitude amongst males. Whether or not its more prevalent then in America is up for debate. Still, why make that comment about foreigners? It’s not really becoming of a well adjusted adult. But no one who listens to B&B would ever accuse Bernstein of being a socially well adjusted adult….that’s why we listen to his show!


    Taunting or no taunting, the Blackhawks have very little margin for error and they can’t afford more losses like the one last night to the Bruins in Boston. The Hawks are just 3 points ahead of the Flames for the final playoff spot in the tight Western Conference standings. They can easily be watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs at home like you & me if they have duds like the one last night in Boston. They won’t be laughing when the Hawks join the 1995 Devils & 2006 Hurricanes as the last Stanley Cup Champions not to defend their Stanley Cup title the following season.

    As for the Bulls, what’s with all the backlash with Derrick Rose as the NBA MVP? Are the national idiots kidding me? D.Rose has without question stepped up his game big time with Tom Thibodeau head coaching the Bulls to the top record in the Eastern Conference and continues to dazzle every time he plays! Watch tonight’s roadie in Minneapolis and those idiots in Bristol, CT might want to re-think their stance on LeBron James and a Heat team they continue to shove down America’s throat! Derrick has been THAT DAMN GOOD!

    • AT3374

      Don’t let those dopes over on ESPN bother you . D. Rose is clearly the MVP this year , without him the Bulls are in the middle of the pack in the east fo sho .

      Just hope he stays healthy ……..

      • SHARK

        I’m not letting those four-letter dopes in Bristol, CT sway my opinion. What Colin Cowherd doesn’t know is that he’s going to be shocked that LeBron James won’t get nearly as many MVP votes as he thinks, regardless of stats and the garbage he spewed today on his show that “LeBron is the face of the league”! Gimme a break! There’s a lot more people backlashing on LeBron for that pathetic “Decision” and how he’s conducted himself since last summer. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Magic’s Dwight Howard & the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant get more MVP votes than LeBron. There’s no doubt in my mind that Derrick Rose is the NBA’s MVP and head coach Tom Thibodeau is NBA Coach of the Year. I don’t buy this D. Rose backlash for a second!

      • Alan A. Rich

        Yes, and without Dwight Howard the Magic suck, without Kobe the Lakers suck, without Lebron the Heat suck, without Dwayne Wade the Heat suck, without Kevin Durant the Thunder suck, without Russell Westbrook the Thunder suck, without Dirk the Mavs suck. Why don’t we just rename the MVP award the “Without Player __ this team sucks” award. You are an idiot and your criteria for choosing an MVP is just as dumb as you.

  • AT3374

    Bad loss and horrible job at taunting

  • Leave the lawyering to the lawyers

    You hit that out of the park Rogers Park Pete.

    “Point is, for a guy who hangs his hat on employing logic and reason over stupid, unfounded generalization, today’s blog was a blow to the personal brand image.”

    That is Dan Bernstein’s journalistic career in a cliff note, nutshell sentence. He has no problem emblazzoning his own integrity with the highest hypocrisy if it means stirring the pot. It’s too bad, he had a lot of potential and sold it all out now he’s just a hack blowing in the wind.

    • bobstone

      I don’t beleive this is the real Bernstein. I heard the guy impersonating him admit to being wrong. That proves that it’s not the real Dan Bernstein.

      • GigFCP

        Ain’t that the truth…what an hyper-arrogant SOB he is and I used to like him when he did shows by himself and before his head grew to be the size of a hot air balloon. He is blessed with outstanding intelligence and a truly once-in-a-decade comedic talent in the cerebral sense. He has wasted it on pigheadedness and juvenile repartee that does in fact include merciless on-air bullying of anyone with the least bit of stage fright that might lead to a somewhat bungled rationale. If he maintains that this is fine because “it’s entertainment” then he is for all practical purposes a prostitute.

  • thebizkit

    Its classless to act that way but what do you expect from a bunch of Canadians and KANER!!!


    Bev Brew

    Yep. They were dangling after the Olympic Break. They had yet to install Niemi. No one else has been gutted and filleted like the ‘hawks roster.

    You know that the opposition is going to target Toews and Kane. Phoenix looked clueless, but they were all over Detroit.

    I agree, the lack of depth is showing. This game was a chance to rest Crawford, because they used a lot of energy Monday night.

  • Denver Deadite

    Listening to podcasts from yesterday’s B&B. I really wish they’d just not discuss college sports, because it’s obvious they hate it, whether it’s football or basketball or whatever.

    They want all the best players in the NBA ASAP, but then complain that college basketball sucks as a result. Sheesh, get over it.

    And then there’s the repeated discussion from last year about how a Butler or VCU should basically be sent home after the opening weekend, regardless of whether they win, because they still shouldn’t be there.

    No, clowns, VCU earned each of those victories, so why not focus on the fact that the supposed better teams just decided to stink it up night after night?

    In the end, I wonder why they’re so hell bent to punish teams (and kids) who are doing nothing wrong.

    • bigtime sucker

      i have to second that, if people don’t want smaller schools in the tournament, DON’T FRICKIN INVITE THEM. create a 1 and a 1a like football and have the 64 team tournament consist exclusivly with teams from Big East, SEC, ACC, Big 10, Pac 10 big 12, MVC and maybe moutain west and call it a tournament. and then do a 1a tournament for every other conference. maybe clemson should have beaten VCU, maybe FSU should have won their game, maybe Kansas should have won theirs, or go yell at purdue for losing, but don’t blame the NBa and don’t blame the small schools,

    • Alan A. Rich

      The hatred for college sports revolves around the fact that the NCAA is simply a free developmental league for professional leagues like the NBA and NFL. It’s bad when compared to the professional levels of competition in each respective sport. The fact that the NCAA has such a HUGE following in comparison to minor league baseball just proves that most people are idiots and have this ideal of money tainting the purity of a sport. The NCAA should be a league for students who want to play sports whilst earning a degree. Players with the potential to be professional athletes should be recruited and paid to develop their skills once they graduate high school if not sooner. Do you really think society has ever missed out on any great intellectual contributions from student athletes who fake being students so they can earn a living as an athlete?

      • GigFCP

        Now, with THAT I totally agree!

  • Rachel Ray's Early Morning Cereal

    “Perhaps that’s just the way hockey is.” What? Taunting an injured opponent is looked down upon like anything…it’s not a “hockey thing,” hence, Thronton’s disapproving response. To say hockey is the only sport that proudly taunts injured opponents is laughable. It’s a proven fact that in a large group of people, there are going to be a few assbags present. Just like any other sport, that’s a classless act and I hope the Hawk(s) that did it get their due. Bring on the Blue Jackets.

  • Justin

    Shawn Thornton should be more worried about Zdeno Chára trying to kill other players. What did he have to say about? Probably nothing.

    Players like Matt Cooke taking head shots is the real problem in hockey, not the Hawks talking a little trash.

  • Fermunda

    Gee, I don’t know Bernsie, why do you taunt many of your callers??

    • Mr. Pouty Pants


    • Alan A. Rich

      Because most of them are stupid, unemployed and high on shwag when they call, if I were in his position I’d give it to them even worse.


    The Tuesday Steve Dahlcast is hilarious!

    It is “tell a friend Tuesday, afterall,” (er, um, Wednesday):

    He’s talking about:
    Rosie O’ Donnell
    The new P.A. guy at Wrigley Field.

    • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

      Yeah, i dislike Roise O’Fat, but having her in town could jump start the economy locally, by having her fat @ss eat her way through the Loop

      • SPAULDING!

        Steve thought “it might be a one-camera.” show.

        That’d be awesome if it was like “Between Two Ferns.”
        Even better, if it had the lady in the turtle neck signing in a super-imposed

  • jason sawan

    first and foremost let me tell you this ,,, thorton s part… bernzie ,,,,,, he stuck out his knee on jarhlmonson’s easily the dirtiest thing in nhl.. thx to idiots like that the most famous boston player ever bobby fricking orr had to retire due to idiots like thorton.. that was thortons part… go get a few threads in you’re head and come back out ,, healed up in 2 weeks a little nick on the forehead … knee on knee could blow out some others players knee be done for season or hinder the careers.. yeah the players were giving it to him just like he was when was skating by after the knee on jarmy yapping to the players ,,more less saying poor baby…. boston is not stupid they know they might just play this team in 7 weeks ,, you never know….

    • Mr. Pouty Pants

      Is sticking you knee out worse that taking off your skate and trying to stab somebody with it?

  • jason sawan

    yeah thats what he was trying to do wait were both falling and i m going to untie my skate then slice across your face,, please cmon man they fell and there was a skate and thorton came up under it.. cmon on man don’t be dramatic, please leave for you’re politicians down there..



    • Alan A. Rich

      Only poor people make comments such as yours, your jealousy over other people’s financial well being is pitiful.

      • Lincoln

        While I agree with you, Alan, the amount of comments you have posted on this blog is also pitiful. Seriously, get a life.

  • Reggie

    “look at his face. . .someone threw his F$%&@! KEYS at him!”

    • Fermunda was a MONKEY WRENCH…

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