NHL handled game poorly
Since the Super Bowl (you know, that thing that the Packers won) has ended, I have been able to devote my precious sports-watching energy to other sports.
This includes the NHL, which I always start to follow with veracity around this time of year. Not necessarily because there is no more football, but because the season is really long and I have things to do. Well, I tell myself I have things to do, but that’s another story.
I’ve always enjoyed watching hockey, even before I knew what a blue line or offsides was. This was also before I knew what a Canadian was. I usually like more finesse teams, but I appreciate it if they have an edge. Teams with players who aren’t afraid to get into a fair fisticuffs to electrify their team.
However, I do reach a certain point when I believe it’s not helpful. This threshold was reached Friday night during the Islanders’ thrashing of the Penguins 9-3.
There were 65 penalties that totaled 346 minutes, 10 ejections and 15 fighting majors.
Somebody who has never watched a hockey game could probably figure out: that’s a bit much.
There are two incidents that are the most noteworthy from the game. The first of these involves Michael Haley of the Islanders getting into two separate fights during the same incident, with Max Talbot and the other with Penguins goalie Brent Johnson.
They were both on the ice and within view. What was he supposed to do? Not fight them?
This was in retaliation for Talbot concussing one of his teammates in the last meeting between the two teams and Johnson, in a goalie-fight, broke Islanders’ goalie Rick DiPietro’s face. He’s out four to six weeks.
He generously fought both guys so none of his teammates had to. Hopefully they baked him some brownies.
If this wasn’t enough, the Islanders’ Trevor Gillies, who looks like an absolute goon by the way, blindsided freshly called-up Eric Tangradi. Tangradi immediately dropped his stick and held his face. Gillies then starts punching him as he falls to the ice.
After this, as Tangradi is just lying there, Gillies is taunting him. Tangradi was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, so luckily it wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Oh, and it was a day after his 22nd birthday.
This is obviously a problem, but the bigger problem is how all of this has been handled and responded too.
Firstly, Gillies got a nine-game suspension. This should have been at least double it. This is a perfect time for the NHL to show how they feel about cheap shoots and they dropped the ball (you thought I was going to say puck, didn’t you?).
This may have not been as bad when Todd Bertuzzi punched a guy from behind and fall on top of him ending his career. However, that’s only because Tangradi didn’t get as seriously hurt.
They are giving the opposite message than they should be. This is such a lenient response give how they want to eliminate cheap shots
The other problem was how Haley was allowed to get-up from one fight, and start another. I mean, I’m sure the ref was busy doing other things and couldn’t ref the game, but I think he could have found some time. That officiating team should be suspended in my humblest of opinions.
I also hate Mario Lemieux’s comments afterwards at how horrifying it all ways and that he doesn’t want to be apart of the league anymore. Coming from a guy with Talbot and Sam Cooke (who didn’t play in that game) on his roster, that’s a little hard to take. Those two aren’t necessarily squeaky clean.
Fights are supposed to be energizers for your team, but when everybody is fighting throughout the game, it loses some of its importance. The NHL should have been prepared for the game.
The starting goalie was injured in a previous game. They should have known some form of retaliation was coming better than they did.
I enjoy the hockey aspect of the NHL, but really don’t like the front office.