What a crazy start to the second round for the Ducks and Wings. The game featured some great hockey action, and some controversial calls and non-calls.
In particular, I am referring to the huge open ice hit on Jiri Hudler by Mike Brown. In my opinion (and also the league), it was a clean hit that ended with Hudler being cut over the eye. It also ended with Brown assessed a 5-minute major for interference. Is that even a possibility? Should it have been called what it was really- intent to injure?
The Wings get their revenge on the powerplay with Franzen driving the net and scoring a classic Franzen goal. He then made no attempt to avoid contact with Hiller. Of course, no call and the goal counts. I'm OK with that. Perry likes to score goals that way, and gets called once in a while for goalie interference. The Ducks scored at least 3 goals in a similar manner on their way to winning the Cup, all which counted. I'm not for weakening the sport, so no complaints.
What I am going to complain about is the fact that Mike Babcock said, prior to the start of the game, that his players are not going to get into the rough stuff with the Ducks. Before the whistle, or after the whistle. His players were going to line up for the faceoff and not get into any scrums. Unfortunately he failed to tell his players this as they were often the ones pushing and shoving when the play stopped. Nice way to take the high road, say it but then don't do it.
Also, I have to take exception to everybody pointing to the Ducks and calling them dirty. There is a difference between dirty and physical. There are dirty penalties. Elbow, roughing, boarding. Sometimes they are accidental. Sometimes they are on purpose. Niklas Kronwall hit Ryan Carter up high with his elbows at about the 2:06 (17:54 remaining) in the first period. If you have it on your DVR, go view it. It was intent to injure. Compare that to Brown's hit and you really have to wonder. How was that not called? Perhaps it was because Carter stayed on his feet (I'm not saying Hudler could have or should have). Perhaps it was because Carter didn't bleed profusely. He did, however, require attention at the bench and later in the game you can see his face is mangled up pretty bad and a bloody nose.
In the end, some will point to this and say "See, non-superstars don't get the same protection that superstars get". Well that may be true. But the question is, do the superstars need favorable treatment. And is that fair? Or should the rules be changed so that even non-superstars get the same treatment? Discrimination exists even when it's not based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.
That hit by Mike Brown last night reminded me of Scott Stevens' hit on Paul Kariya in 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. While Kariya did not lay bloodied on the ice, he did lay motionless and breathless for a good 5 seconds. Kariya was helped off the ice, and I don't think anyone watching thought he'd be back. I was at that game, and it was unreal. My point is, everyone said "Well that's what Scott Stevens does. Don't skate around with your head down when Stevens is on the ice."
There are plenty of examples just like last night, so to say this example is different would be silly.
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