The NHL playoffs can be the most entertaining time of the year for a lot of fans. The problem is the players are playing as if there is no tomorrow.
The mentality is a good thing in regards to play, but the way things are going, the games are turning more into gladiator matches.
Milan Lucic for the Boston Bruins speared Detroid Red Wings’ Danny DeKeyser in the groin last week. In what I thought was despicable play, Lucic only received a $5,000 fine. Not enough to make even a dent in his bank account.
The worst thing for me is that he did not get suspended. He acted like a coward and hit Dekeyser from behind. Lucic is a “star” in the league which is why I think the league didn’t come down on him.
Joel Quenneville was fined $25,000 for his inappropriate conduct during a game against the St. Louis Blues. He grabbed his crotch in the direction of the ref because he thought there was a bad call made.
You can not hurt anyone and get $25,000 fine, but Lucic spears a guy and gets a $5,000 fine. The inconsistency just doesn’t make any sense and is an absolute disgrace to the game and its players.
I have said this in the past, guys have to take care of each other. There is no need to hit a guy when you can see his numbers. Yes, the game is one of the fastest in the world, but your ability to think is still the same.
As a professional in the sport you have become accustomed to the speed and need to act accordingly.There has been no precedent set for player discipline in the league. If you’re a superstar in the league, chances are you won’t see any harsh punishment coming your way.
You can go out there and do whatever you want to another player and maybe get a slap on the wrist or the wallet. If you’re a third or a fourth line guy and your throw a dirty check, you are going down.
As I write this article I remain unaware of Matt Cooke’s suspension for his knee-to-knee hit, but I promise you it will be harsh. Love or hate Matt Cooke, he really changed his act the last couple of years.He went from one of the dirtiest players in the league to a respectable third line guy. Now with the knee-on-knee incident, Cooke will be going down. I think it is really sad, because Cooke really has changed the way he plays the game.
The Colorado Avalanche revealed how long Tyson Barrie would be out for. In most cases, no team in the playoffs will reveal what part of the body is injured or how long their player will be out for. I think the Avalance did that in order to entice the league to suspend Cooke for a long period of time.
Again the biggest thing for me is the penalties are not matching the crime. The league wants to protect their players, and that is important. They also need to be treated the same across the board.
There should be little difference in first and fourth line guys when it comes to suspensions. Why should Lucic be allowed to go out of his way to spear someone and receive a fine, but a fourth line guy like Cooke would have the book thrown at him? The inconsistency is just an absolute joke from the league. They want to keep competitive hockey by not suspending stars. That isn’t hockey. Seeing a guy go out and hurt another player is not hockey. I have no problem with good, clean hits, but it’s the dirty ones that gets me. There needs to be a precedent in these suspensions.
Don’t give someone leniency because they’re a star; have the same rules across the board for everyone. If not, the league looks like a joke and hypocrite. Saying that one action hurting someone is better than another action hurting someone.
Side Note: The Pittsburgh Penguins will survive the first round of the playoffs thanks to their depth. At the point when I wrote this article; Crosby, Kunitz, Neal and Malkin still have not scored. If you told me that at the beginning of the series and say they were up 2-1, I would have not believed you. Their stars must play better and the power play has to improve if they even want to think about competing with the New York Rangers or the Philadelphia Flyers.