After watching Hockey for the Better part of the weekend, I am convinced now more than ever that NHL really is getting what it deserves. All season long, they have been giving out the ridiculous $2500 fines for questionable hits, and suspending players for a game or 2 here or there if and only if the player being hit gets injured. And now we are fining coaches more money than the players are being fined and they haven’t hit anyone…Though a few would like to I am sure!
I would also like to reference the wrestling tactics that were used this past week with the “turnbuckle type head slams against the glass” that basically went unpunished. And as recently as today, Dan Bylsma got a $10,000 fine for Craig Adams late game nonsense. Oh by the way, Adams got a 1 game suspension. The Penguins James Neal has two hearings in front of the NHL both tomorrow and Wednesday for his 2 ridiculous cheap shots late in the third period of the game against the Flyers. And, we can not forget Arron Asham who hit a guy in the Adams Apple with a cross check and as he was falling to the ground he decided to continue to punch him in the head. He has his hearing on Tuesday also.
Last year, when Matt Cooke was suspended for what was the entire playoffs or a 10 game ban, it caused Cooke to change his game. He finished this season with less than 40 minutes of penalty time, in which 10 minutes came in the final 4 or 5 games. He would normally have at least double that amount of penalty time and very little offensive production. This year, he scored 20 goals and looked like a talented hockey player that could do more than just kill penalties. My point is, when you suspend or ban a player for a substantial amount of time, they may in fact think twice.
A game or two serves no purpose, suspensions of 10, 15, 25 or even 30 games would fix a sport that is struggling. I watched the Sunday game with the Flyers and Penguins in utter horror. My son, who walked into the room whom is 7 years old asked me what they were playing. Not why were they fighting, what were they playing. That questions will stay with me for a while. If fighting was an automatic game misconduct, with a minimum 5 game suspension, it would not happen nearly as often.
But in order for anything to change, the guys in the stripes have to call the game properly. A great many hits and fights that are taking place right now are the product of some really poor officiating. With the NHL now allowing obstruction, you will continue to see this mess night in and night out. I will say it has a great deal to do with why some of the more talented teams are struggling. Skating is no longer at a premium in this league. They are not allowing the players to skate and because of that, the frustration is at and all time high.
The NHL right now, has more talent on the ice than we have ever seen, maybe not the greatest but the most for sure. So why would you not want to promote a style of hockey that excites the fans and puts your game in the best light? That is a question I would like answered so if you run across someone from the front office of the NHL, ask them for me. I would love to get that answer.