Sunday, April 25, 2010

NHL Logic

.. or lack there of.

Colin Campbell handed down the sentence for Marian Hossa's hit on Dan Hamhuis in game 5 of the Blackhawks and Predators series today. It was a verdict on a hit that was identical to that of Alex Ovechkin's hit on Brian Campbell in the very same building in the regular season. As everyone looked at both hits side by side the reaction was the same from every analyst and commentator; Hossa is going to be suspended for that hit.

Here's Hossa's hit:

Here is Ovechkin's hit:

So when the Colin Campbell came out with Hossa's punishment, it was understandable everyone was confused when the verdict was not a suspension. Nothing, nada, not one game missed for the exact same hit that forced Ovechkin to sit out 2 games.

You can see why players and coaches are confused when it comes to the league's supplemental discipline. Campbell released this statement in his defense of the decision:
"I have made the decision that this play does not warrant supplemental discipline after considering all of the facts, including reviewing the video and speaking with Mr. Hossa. This play is distinguishable from recent incidents by a number of factors, including the degree of contact involved; the fact that the consequences of the play do not appear to be as severe; that this was a hockey play involving a race for the puck; that Mr. Hossa is not a repeat offender; and that the call of a major penalty by the referee was significant and appropriate."

To be honest, I don't get it. It is the exact same hit, the exact same incident. Both players pushed the opposing player from behind and both slammed into the boards uncomfortably. So what are we suppose to surmise from this? You can run a player as long as you don't hurt him or have any prior "history" (whatever that means, since it is Ovechkin's first offense of hitting from behind or boarding penalty).

What fans, players and general managers are really looking for is just some consistency. And I am not even a Hossa hater. I could care less if he gets off or not. But I do believe in fairness, and by the decisions of the league office that fairness thing is not present in their actions.

Caps Notes:
  • Caps spent their last free day working on the power play. Just 1 for 24, the leagues best PP has been a non-factor in this series. Bruce Boudreau worked a new player into the mix, tough guy Eric Belanger.
  • After blowing some steam right after Friday night's game, it was a calmer Boudreau at Caps practice. After saying 5 or 6 players were just along for the ride, he back tracked a bit. As per Tarik's blog:
    "The other day he was more irritated, and today he was a little more calm," Mike Knuble said of Boudreau, the power play's architect. "Today, it was, 'Alright guys, I know we can do this', now that he's had a day to get away from it. It was just little things like puck recovery and being on rebounds a little more. Little things to focus on."
  • "Sno-vechkin" has taken on new levels. Habs fans are incensed over Alex Ovechkin spray one of the Canadien kid flag bearers with ice as he is coming to the bench. You can make up your own mind on the video below:

    The best commentary was when NHL on the Fly commentator Larry Murphy blamed the kid for "waving the flag in front of him." The Habs' fans have problems if this is their rallying cry.
  • The Hershey Bears have opened a 2 games to none lead on the Albany River Rats with a 6-3 win tonight.

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