In Daniel Sedin’s case it was turn the other jaw, which Blackhawks Duncan Keith firmly planted his elbow. That was at 13:36 of the first period and although Sedin came back for a brief time on the ice, he quickly retired to the dressing room for the rest of the game.
For that Keith received a two minute penalty for elbowing. Here’s what Coach Alain Vigneault had to say about that. “Deliberate, principal point of contact, everything you are trying to take out of the game…I expected a major, I got a minor.”
Let’s have a look at a similar incident the night before when Phoenix Coyotes Shane Doan through a glancing elbow at Dallas Stars Jamie Benn’s head. In a question and answer segment that was written on TSN.ca, this is what retired and former well respected referee Kerry Fraser said about the Benn hit. “For whatever reason it happened, the protruded elbow that made direct contact with Benn’s chin was worthy of a five-minute major and game misconduct. This type of direct hit to the head of an opponent is not only illegal but is also worthy of a suspension.”
With two referees and two linesmen on the ice, and the puck in the area of Sedin, how did the officials miss that call and why wasn’t it a five minute major and game misconduct?
The change several months ago in the officiating is now quite prominent and is so inconsistent, the players and fans have no idea what’s going to be called and what’s not. Penalties are at all time low and not since 1977 have these been this low. Just who decided to change the interference penalties called and the enforcement of the hits to the head? Wasn’t it the NHL that has verbalized on many occasions in the media, they want that taken out of the game?
You and I may never know, but if you understand the hierarchy of the NHL starting with the Commissioner’s office, they would not make the decision unilaterally without some input. I believe that input came from a number of the “old boys club”, the Board of Governors.
I remember following the injury reports for the previous two seasons and it was very evident that the NHL defenseman were falling like flies. For example, last season both the New Jersey Devils and the St. Louis had at different times, four out of their six starting D-men out of the lineup. They were out with various injuries such as concussions (prevalent) and lower and upper body injuries.
That season (2010/11) the Devils were mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for months before they got enough healthy starting D-men back and ended up missing the playoffs. If you know anything about the Devils, this team has been consistent about making the playoffs year after year.
The same thing happened to the Blues who also never recovered. If you are a Canuck follower then you will remember that they went through 13 different D-men that season also.
What has happened is that enough NHL owners collectively, have not only tampered with the officiating but also with the enforcement of the head hits. They were not about to let their team and particularly their D-men, get constantly knocked out of games or lose their players to lengthy suspensions.
Brendan Shanahan’s suspensions have changed dramatically from the beginning of the year and anyone that knows hockey can see that the inference calls have been reduced. This inference is something that I wrote about months ago and what you now see is subtle tugs, hooks, and positioning to impede the wingers entering into the attacking zone. Not only that, but it’s happening all over the ice as the players are now cognizant of what they can get away with.
You think its bad now, wait till the playoffs, which takes me back to my opening comments about the hit to Daniel Sedin.
The philosophy of Canucks Mike Gillis was fine last year during the regular season when the penalties were called and the power play was working, but everyone knows that it changes in the playoffs. Not only that, but the play is so ramped up that everyone on the team becomes shot blockers. Trying to get the puck on net through the shooting lanes, is like flying a single prop airplane at low levels through the Cathedral Grove’s giant Douglas firs.
Gillis needs to let the horses out in order to protect themselves. If the opposition is going to constantly take liberties with the Sedins, then show them how to carry their sticks a little higher. Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Max Lapierre and Jannik Hansen just to name a few, play better when they are at their antagonistic best. If that means getting in the oppositions faces after the whistle, then at least they will have the opposition chasing them all over the ice instead of the reversal.
The one thing I do know about the NHL, is that if you offer the other cheek it will get you hurt. So with the playoffs nine games away it’s about time Gillis changes tactics, because every other team will be walking that fine line of dishing out punishment.
Ice Bits: The Canucks tried their best to get back at Keith last night but they didn’t quite finish. Karma says – What goes around comes around. If that were the Boston Bruins instead of the Canucks, one of Hawks would have paid for it.
It has been reported that Daniel Sedin has been flown back to Vancouver to see a specialist and to receve treatment. It will be interesting to see how Mike Gillis spins this.
As TSN’s Bob McKenzie said during the intermission, so what if Keith get’s three or five games, it doesn’t help if Daniel Sedin is out for any length of time. Look at what happened to Washington Cap’s Nicklas Backstrom from a similar hit from Rene Bourque, (Jan.3/12) and he’s still not back. He had to be placed on the LTIR.
Cory Schneider and Manny Malhotra to start tonight against Dallas.
Roberto Luongo’s best game in a dozen and Mason Raymond was the second best player. The Canucks didn’t take advantage of the Hawks having played the night before and the game was lost in the first period when the Canucks went 0-3 on the power play. Canucks then received the next five penalties before the Keith melee broke out.
Hawks Andrew Shaw looks like the second coming of Bruins Brad Marchand.
Photo Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits – YouTube
Quote Credits – The Vancouver Sun and Province
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