The NHL’s justice system is broken. It’s gotten so bad that a lengthy suspension to a career predator who may have ended the season of a superstar is seen as laughable because of the suspensions that have gone before (or in the case of Shea Weber, the ones that have not gone before). Despite much acclaim early in the season, Brendan Shanahan has now clearly shown that, when the games really matter, he’s no better at meting out punishment than his predecessor, Colin “My Son Plays for the Bruins So I Won’t Suspend Bruins and Miraculously They Just Won the Cup How About That” Campbell. If the NHL wants to regain any measure of credibility it needs to look to (and I’m holding my nose as I type this) the Conservative Party of Canada. It needs to establish clear and consistent rules (not guidelines, rules) for what constitutes a suspension and the length of that suspension. It needs to establish mandatory minimums.
Before I say anything else, the pic of the Flyers bench below was stolen unceremoniously from the Puck Doctors. You oughtta surf their site, yo.
All right. The Pittsburgh Penguins have dodged two bullets now, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the first round to force a game six. Game four was a laugher – Philly wasn’t even in the building, and the Pens had something to prove. They scored at will, putting five pucks past each of the Flyer goalies for a 10-3 win.
Chris: If they lose, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Craig MacTavish coaching next year.
Jason: If he can get Kesler to play to his potential, bring him on. I’m far more disappointed in Kes than I am in AV. I mean, is he still hurt? If so, he was selfish not to sit longer at the start of the year. Is he pissed at V? Then he’s being an unprofessional baby.
Final exam at UBC tomorrow, otherwise I’d write up the wheat thresher that is the LA Kings special team attack.
Just two observations:
1) Both games at Rogers Arena featured massive defensive zone giveaways by Alex Edler that wound up giving the Kings a goal. Something’s wrong with this kid. Injury? Relationship trouble? Lupus?
2) Roberto Luongo is just about the only guy in blue who cannot be blamed one whit for Vancouver being down two-bagel. (Anyone who tries to blame him either hasn’t watched the games, doesn’t know a thing about hockey, or both.)
The 2012 playoffs are under way, and I’d like to congratulate officiating crews on and off the ice for kicking things off with a bang. Zebras in all three games on day one were awful, and Brendan Shanahan made complete his cold-water shrinkage from pre-season promises to trade in the NHL Wheel of Justice for consistent punishment across the league.
Before you think this is a partisan rant about the Vancouver Canucks getting jobbed of game one against the Los Angeles Kings, I’d like to proffer this: the Kings were by far the better team Wednesday night, and if not for the early heroics of Roberto Luongo, would have been in a 3-0 or 4-0 position long before calls became an issue. Also, the royal men from SoCal were flogged by a couple of questionable whistles too – I am under no delusions that Vancouver deserved that first game. Refs in Vancouver, Nashville and Pittsburgh were way too visible on the first night. Even the affable Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock commented on it during an in-game interview with Brian Engblom:
By Jim Chliboyko, Pucked in the Head’s official Winnipeg correspondent. Yes, he actually lives there. And yes, for our American readers, they have indoor plumbing and central heating. No, they don’t live in igloos. Well, not all of them anyway. Consider this a companion piece to our first round picks, posted yesterday.
I’m especially well-positioned to pre-judge the 16 teams geared up for the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I only really paid attention to the Winnipeg Jets this year, and all the live games I managed to see this season were with teams that, consequently, missed the playoffs. Which is sort of like cheering for all the red-headed and albino kids in The Hunger Games.
Finally. After 301 days, 1230 games and eleventy billion unfunny Vancouver riot jokes, Wednesday will bring the return of NHL playoff hockey. Having learned absolutely nothing from the annual debacle of our regular season predictions — Leafs sneaking in, bah. Sabres winning the East, HA! — Pucked in the Head presents 2012 NHL Playoff Predictions… because dammit, that’s what loudmouthed fans with self-published blogs do.