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Canandaigua, NY • United States • 29 Years Old • Male

Needs To Be Said

Posted 9:57 PM ET | Comments 12
I write this article, as an unbiased fan. I write this, as someone who loves the sport of hockey. This first-round of the 2011 playoffs has been exciting, and nothing but dull. 6 of the 8 playoff series have gone at least 6 games. However, there is something amiss in the NHL.

I plan on using 3 examples in this situation.

First: Game 3 of the Vancouver vs Chicago series. Raffi Torres lines up Brent Seabrook behind the Chicago goal. Torres blatently hits Seabrook with an elbow to the head. Seabrook's head was turned as he was accepting a pass from his teamate. Seabrook left the game, and missed games 4 and 5. Torres recieves a 2 minute penalty for interference. Nothing else happens.

Second: Game 6 of the Buffalo vs Philadelphia series. Mike Richards pushes Tim Connolly, from behind, hard into the boards. Connolly leaves the game, doesn't return. Connolly is out for at least game 7, possibly longer. Richards clearly pushes Connolly, who was in a vulnerable position (much like Seabrook), headfirst into the boards. Richards serves a 2 minute penalty for boarding. Nothing else happens.

Third: Game 4 of the Boston vs Montreal series. Andrew Ference gives the middle finger to Montreal Canadians' fans after he scores a goal. Ference is fined $2500 by the NHL.

Now, to me, there is a serious injustice happening in the NHL. The message sent to the NHL players in this instance is simple. It is alright, to hit someone in a manner that will hurt them. Hitting is part of the game, yes. It is an essential part of the game. Every year, I'm reminded of that fact when I watch the NHL All-Star game, and watch the "All-Stars" skate around and play boring hockey. No one loves a good clean body check than I do. However, there are clean hits, and illegal hits. There is a large difference. The NHL has been talking about making a stand on illegal hits to the head, from behind, and hitting individuals in a vulnerable position. The NHL has an opportunity to send a message, but they fail to do so. They talk the talk, but refuse to walk the walk. However, heaven forbid that the players make a rude gesture.

I agree with the NHL's decision to fine Ference. They did the right thing. I wouldn't want to have my niece or children at that game, and have them see something like that. Ference should have been fined. I could even argue that Ference should have been fined more. But nothing happens for the illegal hits from Torres, Richards, and anyone else doing this in the NHL playoffs this season. So apparently, it must be ok. The consequences for these actions are not proportionate to the crime so to speak. Don't flip the bird, but go ahead and hit an individual in an illegal matter that could potentially hurt them. That's fine.

To all the remaining teams in this years' NHL playoffs, I offer this advice. If you see someone on the other team, hit them. Doesn't matter if they have the puck or if it's from behind. Heck, it doesn't matter if you hit him in the head. Go ahead and hurt someone! The NHL won't do a thing.

However, don't make any naughty gestures. The NHL won't tolerate it.
Filed Under:   NHL   Hits to the Head   NHL Playoffs 2011  
April 25, 2011 10:50 PM ET | Delete
NHL can't pick and choose who they suspend, I can't see how Richards hit doesn't get a suspension. Why bother to worry about headshots if your going to pick and choose.
April 25, 2011 11:30 PM ET | Delete
I fully agree, but we are talking about the NHL. They won't move. They think it sells the game better by doing nothing. I think it hurts the product, but the NHL see it the other way around.
April 26, 2011 9:41 AM ET | Delete
April 26, 2011 9:43 AM ET | Delete
does anyone else see my comment or do I have to do it all over again?
April 26, 2011 9:45 AM ET | Delete
The intention part of equation needs to be eliminated. All hits to the head should be suspendable. The fact that kunitz only got one game for his elbow is further proof that the one man decision power (colin campbell) system doesnt work.
April 26, 2011 9:46 AM ET | Delete
Collin campbell is a former goon himself and now he is in the position of power to police the goons. Thats like having a inmate be the warden of his own jail.
April 26, 2011 9:52 AM ET | Delete
dont see my comment on here, but what I suggest is make it a system that takes the nhl out of it. the first offense is a 5 min major plus game misconduct. Second offense is auto 3 game suspension, 3rd offense is 15 games. This keeps it fair for everyone, and does not discriminate who gets suspended.
April 26, 2011 4:06 PM ET | Delete
man do i love this great read the nhl doesnt care bout head shots its all PR and people would say u can suspend richards for a game 7. im like y he did something brutal and especially with his track record but like always the nhl drops the ball great article
April 26, 2011 5:20 PM ET | Delete
the headshots that warrented suspensions were direct shots from one player to the head of another player ( with the exception of the Torres hit). There was no mistaking the intention. That being said - the NHL has been extremely inconsistant all season and to say that what would be a multi-game suspension in the regular season is only worth one post-season game almost promotes hits like that in the playoffs because players only have to miss one game.
April 26, 2011 8:17 PM ET | Delete
also is against blind side hits and idk any more blindsided then from the back
April 27, 2011 9:10 AM ET | Delete
Hitting a player from behind into the boards should be a 5 minute major. If there is an injury, a suspension should be levied. Make these calls all the time and players will become more responsible.
April 28, 2011 8:07 AM ET | Delete
sigepshawn, This forum only allows a certain number of characters before it erases your comments completely. Not sure why or what the magic number is. Just keep the comments short and they'll post.
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