Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Joke That Is The NHL

The NHL has made many different attempts to crackdown on various things.  First there was players in the goal crease.  The most famous one has been the obstruction fouls.  Currently the NHL is on a head hunting crusade, going after players who deliver blows to the head of their opponents.

So when Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green was clobbered from behind by David Koci , 43 fighting majors in his career, in Colorado back in December we had sufficient reason to believe that a suspension would be handed down.  After all, Green has only one fight in his NHL career and that came in the playoffs two years ago.  Koci is a known thug and was hit with a 5 minute major for boarding and ejected from the game for his hit.  Green left the game after the hit (after missing 11 of the previous 12 games with a shoulder injuries) and did not return.

However, the ejection in the second period and a fine was deemed all that was necessary by the NHL for David Koci.

Now last night Green was once again, and as has been the case for most of the season, getting run at by various members of the Florida Panthers.  Green in an attempt to stand up for himself stepped up on Michael Frolik at the Caps blueline with his elbow and is hit with a three game suspension.  Green was penalized on the play.  He received a two minute minor for elbowing and Frolik didn't miss a shift of require medical attention.  Green later tried to jump out of the way of a hit from Dmitry Kulikov and ended up leaving last night's game with a charley horse.  Kulikov, unlike some other NHL players who ended up injuring players who tried to jump out of the way of their hits, is not expected to have his hit reviewed.

Pardon us if we find this both baffling and infuriating.  There's simply no rhyme or reason for this disparity.  Last year in the playoffs Donald Brashear got hit with a six game suspension, five of them for a clean hit that did not draw a penalty during the run of play.  But Scott Walker of the Carolina Hurricanes flat out sucker punched Aaron Ward, then of the Boston Bruins, and no "supplemental discipline" was found necessary by the NHL.  Furthermore in the above-the-boards Stanley Cup Finals, Evgeni Malkin-Lindros starts a fight with noted Detroit Red Wings thug, Henrik Zetterberg, with 19 seconds left in Game 2, but the NHL announced the rescission of the automatic suspension due Malkin-Lindros before the incident was even one hour old.

We could go on and on and on citing examples of clearly and barely dirty play that received little or no attention from the NHL.  But it is becoming more and more clear to us that the message the NHL is trying to send is that it is open season on the Washington Capitals because what else could it be?  Captain A.O.'s and now Mike Green's suspensions tell us that according to the NHL Front Office that teams can do whatever they want to the Caps.  Dan Carcillo got four games back in December for his nonsense with Matt "Omar" Bradley, but that was Carcillo's second suspension this season.  However Sean Avery threw a sucker punch at Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov at the end of Game 3 last year and the NHL looked the other way despite proudly proclaiming a crackdown on "message sending" at the end of playoff games.

But as for the Caps, remember, a team that by design has no clear-cut enforcer or regular heavyweight fighter types on the roster and who is tied for the fewest fighting majors in the NHL this season (but four instigator penalties, the last two of them coming when the Caps had a sizable lead late in the game) has one of the dirtiest, most suspension worthy teams in the NHL.


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