There are a ton of reasons all of us love playoff hockey and recognize the NHL Playoffs as the most grueling tournament in sports.
The game is faster, the hits are bigger, the goaltending is out of this world, the ice seems brighter and cleaner, the fans are louder. We know that with emotions running high and the intensity level soaring, there are bound to be some unfortunate injuries and some questionable hits, not to mention some questionable calls.
But what’s happened so far in the 2012 Playoffs, and what is overshadowing the great hockey we’ve seen, is absolutely ridiculous.
What started as a crazy first couple of nights quickly became a nasty weekend, and now we’ve reached a week of devastation on the ice. Malicious hits from behind, driving opponents’ heads into the glass, cross checks to the throat and face, and now Raffi Torres’ reckless airborne hit that sent Marian Hossa to hospital.
And we’ve barely reached the halfway point of the first round.
Some people blame the freakishly growing size of the modern day players. Some people blame the speed of the game. A lot blame both, and say we need to find some reasonable ways to slow the game down just a tad, and perhaps even find ways to shrink equipment without minimizing players’ protection.
Here’s a simpler idea. Make players think twice before acting like gutless idiots on the ice. Shea Weber received no suspension for that aforementioned driving of an opponent’s head into the glass. Arron Asham got four games for the cross check to the throat and subsequent sucker punch while Brayden Schenn lay on the ice, and that was considered a heftier punishment.
It seems Brendan Shanahan and the NHL have forgotten that deterrence is the main objective of a suspension, and are simply handing out these Mickey Mouse bans to follow a precedent, instead of to set one.
Here’s an idea. Throw precedents out the window the same way goons like Asham and Torres throw common sense and responsibility out the window before a cowardly action, and start handing out ridiculously sized suspensions that actually make a statement.
I’d rather be sitting here in the future with a slightly toned down postseason debating if a suspension was too severe, instead of sitting here in the future wondering how a near deadly on ice incident wasn’t punished enough.
Other than that, here are some morning links to lighten the mood:
- Right on cue, the NHL should suspend Torres for the remainder of the playoffs (ESPN). I was hoping for the same thing for Asham, so I’m not holding my breath.
- For the record, Torres has defended his hit as a “hockey play” (Puck Daddy).
- Marian Hossa was released from hospital last night and is recovering from an “upper body injury” (Reuters). Lost in the debate and anger over the hit itself is that an exciting and talented player is now out of action.
- Daniel Sedin may play when the Canucks try to stave off elimination in Game 4 against the Kings tonight (Windsor Star).
- Daniel Alfredsson is likely to miss Game 4 against the Rangers tonight (Postmedia News).
- Can one win change everything for the Canucks? (The Province). The obvious advantage higher seeds have if they win Game 4 to avoid the sweep is that they get Game 5 at home. If the Canucks (and Penguins) can survive the night and then take care of business at home, they’ll suddenly find themselves one win away from a Game 7. Let’s see if they can get Game 4 first.
- Sidney Crosby is putting himself in unnecessary danger (Canada.com).
- Matt Cooke is proof that you can deter violence in hockey (National Post).
- The Flyers know better than to rest with a 3-0 series lead (Yahoo!)
- Safety has taken a backseat in the playoffs (Calgary Herald).
- Can we say that Pekka Rinne is stealing the series against the Red Wings for Nashville? (The Tennessean). A 3-1 record with a 2.00 GAA and a .942 save percentage? I think you can say it.
- Former New Jersey backup goalie Scott Clemmensen came back to haunt the Devils (The Star-Ledger). It’s not often you see both starting goaltenders pulled in a playoff game, let alone one Martin Brodeur is playing in.