Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Night Fights: Playoffs Round 2

I knew last week was too good to be true! After a week of multi-fight games and a handful of brawls, this week was a quiet one in the NHL fighting realm. This week's action saw a lot of grind-it-out games, including many one-goal and overtime games. I anticipate the rest of the playoffs to play out like this with the notion that players need to play phyiscal, while being smart and disciplined. And given the recent 25-game suspension to Raffi Torres for his hit on Marian Hossa, I can't imagine players playing too recklessly for that "big hit". But you never really know.

The suspension was the third longest penalty to be handed out by the NHL and the longest since Chris Simon's 30-game suspension in 2007. Now, it might be Torres' track record or even the extent of Hossa's injury (carried off on a stretcher and still out) that led to the lengthy suspension, but it took the NHL long enough to hand out stiffer penalties for unnecessary and careless play. Starting with the pathetic $2,500 fine on Shea Weber's headsmash of Henrik Zetterberg, the NHL (aka Brendan Shanahan) has been inconsistent with its disciplinary actions. It was only one week ago when James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins took a similar run at Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers.

James Neal received a 1-game suspension for that hit. Yeah...that's not going to fly. So I hope from now on, the NHL gets these hits right. They need to or someone's career will be over in a matter of seconds. Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Time to congratulate the St. Louis Blues for their 1st playoff series victory in 10 years over the San Jose Sharks this past Saturday, winning four straight to take the series in 5 games. The Blues are a young and talented team as well as the league's statistically best defensive team, only allowing 165 goals this past year. They've also shown some great grit and tenacity in which we'll now witness.

Tommy Wingels (Sharks) was no match for Chris Stewart (Blues). Steward was in control the whole fight, even able to remove Wingel's helmet like he was opening a jar of jam. But I'll give it to Wingels who gave up 2 inches and almost 30 pounds. He stuck his nose in there and wasn't afraid of throw a punch. I respect that. But for now, he'll have time to bulk up as the Sharks are sent packing for home. Don't look now, but the St. Louis Blues are ready to make a deep run for the Stanley Cup. They are young and energetic, have great goaltending, and are willing to knock some heads. That sounds like a good recipe to me!

 Photos and video courtesy of,,, &


You got so lucky in our bracket because you originally had the Penguins winning it all! =]

'Where's Crosby' is so much tougher than 'Where's Waldo'

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