Cover Photo by Elise Amendola, AP
Drew Doughty, Nazem Kadri, Josh Morrissey, and now Ryan Hartman are the names of players who have been suspended this NHL Playoffs for malicious hits. We haven’t even made it through the first round and four players have received a slap on the wrist from the Department of Player Safety.
That seems excessive. For comparison, only two players received suspensions last year throughout the entire playoffs. Hell, Sidney Crosby bounced PK Subbans head off the ice like he was bouncing a basketball in Game Five of the Finals last year and received a whopping no games suspension.
Of course that was Sidney Crosby. Hockey’s golden boy. He could get away with murder.
But what gives? I dunno, but I kinda like it. I don’t want to see anyone hurt, obviously, but the intensity the playoffs has this year is intoxicating. Only four players have received a suspension but there’s been plenty of others that probably could have. Dudes are straight dummying each other on the ice. Every shift, someone is looking to bury the opposition. The battle for the cup seems to be on a whole different level this year.
This is what playoff hockey is all about. This is why the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been, are now, and will forever be, better than any other sports post season. It’s not a matter of who’s the best team in the end, it’s about who can survive the gauntlet it takes to get to the Stanley Cup Finals and still piece together a team to take the ice.
Again, I’m not encouraging dirty play, a cross check to the brain bucket is never okay. But people want to see that kind of intensity. They want to watch the agitators make the oppositions blood boil to the point where they break. They want to see the fights and the seismic wave generating bangs.
It’s Lord Stanley’s Cup. It means something.
I hope that the suspensions don’t start making the refs blow the whistle after every knock. No one likes a whistle happy zebra. We still have a lot of hockey to go and I want to sustain this level of intensity. Let the boys play.