Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just a couple things

So to say the last few days in the NHL have been interesting would be a severe understatement.

Actually I'd go so far as saying the last week.

Friday February 6th, I had the honor of getting to go to the new Consol Energy Center to see my Penguins play the Buffalo Sabres. It was Evgeni Malkin's first game back after missing some games to to a lingering knee problem and a sinus infection.

Well, that didn't last long, courtesy of the Sabres Tyler Myers. When Geno went down, you could just tell the way he was getting up it wasn't good at all. And it most certainly wasn't. Lost now to the Penguins for the rest of the season, Malkin tore both his ACL and MCL *sigh*. Thankfully he's already had his surgery to repair both tears, so all that is left now is for him to heal and rehab, and by the time next season starts he should be ready again.

It's just in the mean time that things get a bit frustrating.

Now all the speculation is about whether Sidney Crosby returns from his concussion this season. He says yes, but some of us are left to speculate if that will be the case or not. Myself, I'm almost to the point that I wish he'd just say "be done with it" and take the season off and not come back too soon, that way come October we know he's healed and 100%.

But that's not how players like Sidney, with an intense passion for the game he plays, operate. I would just hate to see him go the way of Marc Savard, come back, only to get hurt again, potentially risking his career, or even his life. And what a shame it would be for this sport if the likes of Sidney Crosby's career was cut too short. We are just starting to see his potential.

The debate of headshots can be a tiresome discussion among hockey commentators and bloggers better than myself, but one thing most people tend to agree on is that something needs to be done. Steckle's head shot on Crosby was not even called for a penalty in the game, let alone was there any discipline given by the league after the fact. You can debate favortisim, good call, bad call... whatever... but that was a blind side hit to the head, and the Crosby haters are loving it.

Whatever. But I will say this, there has never been a time that I was glad that Sid was NOT playing, any more so than this past Friday night in Long Island.

The spectacle that took place there will live long in the memory of many Pens fans as I'm sure it will the Islanders. Something that started a week earlier with the fight between Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro, resulting in the ever fragile DiPietro breaking one of his orbital bones from the single punch Johnson laid on him, continued on Friday with the result being 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors, and 20 game misconducts.

Yes, it was a slug fest in the truest definition of the term. Plus it was a sad example of this great sport.

I will say that despite the Penguins lack of power players in the game, most of the team being made up of their AHL affiliate, they played the game clean for as long as they could despite the ass kicking they were getting. It was all strictly in the name of revenge for the DiPietro incident that the Islanders blatantly went after any Penguin player they could. Then when they got the chance to go after Johnson they did.

This is a black eye on an other wise noble sport. I like to think hockey players are better men than what participate in the NBA and NFL.. they just tend to conduct themselves better away from the game. Call me biased, but that's how I see it. So to see them act like barbarians playing a game that is rough enough as it is, disappoints me.

I won't go into how I hate when people find out I love hockey so much say, "oh I love it when they fight". That statement really pisses me off. Hockey is not about fighting, there is a sport for that called boxing. No way am I against fighting in the sport of hockey, it has it's time and place, but not to the extent (or even half!) as what took place on Friday.

Like I said before, I was just glad Sidney was not playing, because goon play being what it is, you know that him or Malkin would have been targets themselves. Not that they are shrinking violets in their own right, but still....

Anyhow, I'm going to step out on a limb today and ask the Buffalo Sabres to put some extra "oomph" into their game today as they take on the Islanders, while the Pens are at MSG to take on the Rangers.

Just within the hour, Mario Lemieux released the following statement:

Pittsburgh Penguins
“Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.

“We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”
Leave it to 66 to tell it like it is....