Lost in the fun of Clowe-gate 2012 was the fact that some nasty business occurred between the Kings and Sharks during their first meeting of the week just a few days ago. That time it was Kyle Clifford doing the hitting as Couture went face first into the bench. Fast forward two days and it was Mike Richards hitting Couture from behind into the sideboards. Either way, Logan’s face probably hurts.
The real part of this one that mystifies me is how Richards gets off with just a two minute minor. There was literally no judgement call to be made beyond “Hey I can read the nameplate on this guy’s jersey, probably shouldn’t put his teeth into the glass,” but alas, he did it anyways.
Now, I don’t share the same outrage as the commentators on the tape because the answer to “Why do NHLers keep doing this?” is pretty simple. They’re not thinking, and by and large, they don’t care. We can legislate everything in the rulebook to try and make sure that people don’t get hurt, but at the end of the day it’s what happens between the ears of the guys on skates that determines who takes a dirty hit and who doesn’t. What gets done in a boardroom with general managers is window dressing.
Bringing back the red line does nothing to help Logan Couture in that situation. There was no quick decision to be made. Only Mike Richards choosing not to hit him makes a difference, and nine times out of 10 that’s all it boils down to.