Screw the National Hockey League, Brendan Shanahan and the worst commissioner in the history of sport, Gary Bettman. Guy is an absolute clown. Only commissioner in my memory to have not only been dumb enough to allow a labor dispute between mostly multimillionaire's to occur, but he did it twice. The first time the owners locked the players out resulted in a 46 game shortened 95-96 season. The second time...well, there was no season at all 04-05. Way to go, jackass. But I digress......
First point is, and the playoffs have made this all the more clear, if you're a high profile star in the NHL you can do whatever the fuck you want on the ice and get away with it, or atleast avoid a long term suspension, a hefty fine, or even a penalty, or all three if your name is Shea Weber. Except of course if your name is Nicklas Backstrom or Alex Ovechkin and you play for the Washington Capitals.
Remember back in January when our boy Ovie got the book thrown at him and was suspended for three games for leaving his feet and charging Zbynek Michalek of that whiny team in Pittsburgh? Yea, no penalty was called on the play. No one was injured.
Only differnce between Backstrom's and Ovechkin's suspension is Nicky got a
match penalty on his crosscheck upstairs on Peverly so Shanahan and
Bettman could lean on that crutch and no explanation was needed. Their
hands were essentially tied.
Shanahan on why Shea Weber was not suspended. ""I looked at that one and I'm not happy with that play," Shanahan said. "I investigated that hit. I called Detroit
that night. I think that [Weber] pushed [Zetterberg's] face in the
glass. I was really close to a one-game suspension on that and when I
talked to Detroit and I talked to [Ken Holland] he basically said the
player was fine."
In the same interview he explicitly mentions injury as being a contributing factor in suspension or penalty.
Either Shanahan was watching a different game, or the euphemism for basically curbing a guys head on the boards is "pushing his face in the glass" . Definitely an ugly play. Definitely suspendable. No one was injured, no penalty was called on the play. No suspension. Fine, but have some fucking consistency!
Carl Hagelin get's three games while Matt Carkner gets one for essentially mugging Brian Boyle. Andrew Shaw gets three games for running into Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in a play I've seen countless times go unpunished (last night in Pittsburgh comes to mind). All three, Hagelin Carkner, Shaw are not household names and they got the book throw at them. But again, there is no consistency. On any level.
Second point is what is the deal with the playoff scheduling and why do I feel the Caps are getting hosed? Only series in the playoffs scheduled to play games on back to back days. Today's game (Saturday) is at 3 pm. So make tomorrows game at 7 right? To accommodate for travel between Boston and D.C. and to allow an extra few hours of rest in a tightly played hard fought playoff series. No, 3 pm scheduled for Sunday. Presumably it's a money grab to cash in on the Sunday afternoon crowd. Coupled with the Pens/Flyers game 6 at noon tomorrow, the NHL could see some pretty good viewing numbers. But the Caps should not be playing tomorrow in the first place.
As I mentioned, there is the only one first round series to have games on back to back days. But, but, but, it's the same for both teams. Go fuck yourself. Looking at records, the Bruins are 8-4 this year in the second game of back to backers. Caps..... 5-6-2. Clear advantage Boston. Oh, let's schedule the Boston Bruins (an overtly NHL favored city and original six franchise) and the Washington Capitals (a lowly Southeast division dweller with a bunch of Russians that just came on the scene again that the NHL could give two shits about) to play pivotal games 5 and 6 on back to back days (not nights, or staggered). Thanks Gary Bettman. Blow me. End rant.
Update: Just saw Rafi Torres got 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa. While I completely agree with the decision and and I believe goons like Torres and unsuspecting blind side cheap shot hits that result in guys getting stretchered off the ice need to be punished severely, I see this as just another rash, impetuous decision by the NHL brass, pressured by the media firestorm created during the current playoff run to come down hard on someone (preferably not a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins). In no way will it change the culture in the NHL on hits unless there is some consistency on punishment being dolled out. No matter who you are. Or who you play for.