Hockey Insult Controversy


Image taken by Dolovis from Commons.Wikimedia

Brandon Manning at the American Hockey League 2013 All-Star Skills Competition, January 27, 2013.

Sean Cooke, Staff Writer

Connor McDavid was the 2015 first overall pick and quickly assimilated into the starting lineup of the Edmonton Oilers as one of the leading scorers. Brandon Manning is in his fifth season with the Philadelphia Flyers and has always been more of an enforcer than a goal-scorer.


About 13 months ago, McDavid suffered a long-term injury after a run into the boards with Manning. This issue experienced controversy at the time because some viewers speculated that Manning intentionally injured McDavid. Both McDavid and Manning defended the case that the event was an accident, so the controversy diffused.

Image taken by Connor Mah from Commons.Wikimedia
Connor McDavid at the 2015 Edmonton Oilers Development Camp, July 4, 2015.

This issue, however, arose again in the most recent meeting of these teams on December 8, 2016. After the 6-5 win for the Flyers, McDavid revealed that Manning confessed that he intended to injure him back in 2015. McDavid also noted that he feels taken advantage of because previously he had done nothing but defend Manning.


This caused a lot of articles to be written calling Manning “classless” for his comments. Manning responded to McDavid’s accusation by reminding people that he “play[s] a hard game” and “stuff happens out there.”


I don’t think we should jump to the conclusion that Manning taunting McDavid about the injury is a confession. If you watch any footage of players wearing microphones, you’ll notice that most of the things that opposing players say to each other is not nice. It is also clear that this type of behavior is Manning’s game. Manning is an enforcer, and an enforcer’s job is to make goal-scorers–like McDavid–timid when on the ice. Manning was trying to weaken McDavid’s star play by making him think that he was out to get him.


Other people propose that Manning played McDavid for a fool. Skeptics think that Manning just defended himself in 2015 until the incident cooled off. Now that Manning can’t really get punished for intentionally injuring McDavid, he is willing to use the truth as a taunting tool to throw off the star player. People saw this as classless because McDavid was very honorable when he defended Manning at the time of the injury.


I do agree that what Manning said was rude, but a rude comment doesn’t exactly stick out in the NHL. It’s the game that the enforcers play with the goal-scorers: the enforcers try to entice the stars to fight with them. If both players fight, then both players are taken out of the game for five minutes. A team losing their star player for five minutes is a bigger loss than a team losing some goon for five minutes. Enforcers taunt, and stars keep their cool. The way I see it, nothing out of the ordinary happened here.