Dan Boyle has to be happy his New York Rangers fought back from a 3-1 series deficit and booked a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Aside from that good news, though, 2014-15 hasn’t been kind to him.
Boyle broke his hand in November and missed 14 games. When he was on the ice, his age showed, and he struggled defensively on and off throughout the season. In the second round of the playoffs he took a hard hit in the corner from Nicklas Backstrom in the dying seconds of Game 1, leading to Washington’s winning goal. And then, in Game 7, Caps blueliner Brooks Orpik positively erased Boyle:
“Brandon Prust’s post-game comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the League has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management,” NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a news release. Read more
Emotions run high during the Stanley Cup playoffs and, in turn, so does vitriol toward the NHL’s Department of Player Safety every time a questionable hit occurs. The victimized team and its fan base demand supplemental discipline. The perpetrating team and its fan base proclaim the player’s innocence. After the decision, one side ends up enraged.
The Detroit Red Wings and their tribe of keyboard warriors are furious with Niklas Kronwall’s Game 7 suspension. Sorry, Detroit, but you shouldn’t be. The Kronwall case wasn’t even vague. He hammered Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov with violent force directly to the head. It’s rule 48: illegal check to the head. Or, as the league stated specifically, it’s rule 42: charging. The DOPS had an excellent chance to send a zero-tolerance message by sitting down Detroit’s best blueliner for a series-deciding game. Consider the test passed with flying colors. The rationale behind the decision:
The league announced the suspension late Tuesday evening, with the Department of Player Safety referencing Kronwall’s contact with Kucherov’s head and Kronwall’s feet leaving the ice at the moment of impact as factors in its decision: Read more
If there is any sense of justice in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings will be without their best defenseman for Game 7 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night. And if the Department of Player Safety doesn’t suspend Niklas Kronwall for his hit on Nikita Kucherov in Game 6, it might as well find a nice, warm beach somewhere to spend the rest of the playoffs.
Because if Kronwall does not sit out at least Game 7 of the Lightning-Red Wings series, the NHL will have officially confirmed what much of the first round has already proved, that it has no intention of suspending anyone for anything in this year’s playoffs. Read more
On the day off between Games 4 and 5 of the first round series between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, the Islanders managed to get a few things off their chest concerning the Tom Wilson hit on Lubomir Visnovsky. It was all probably quite therapeutic for them.
Kyle Okposo referred to Wilson as “an idiot.” The Islanders were unanimous in their assertion that it was a dirty play and Islanders captain John Tavares called it, “a complete target of a defenseless player.” Considering the effects of the hit – Visnovsky is out indefinitely and with his history with concussions, it’s not a stretch to suggest it could be a very serious injury – you could understand why the Islanders were so incensed. Already dealing with the absence of Travis Hamonic on the blueline, the Islanders will lose a 38-year-old veteran with more than 800 NHL games in Visnovsky and replace him with a 20-year-old with zero NHL games in Ryan Pulock. Read more
Well, the old-time hockey guys in the NHL’s head office must be doubling over patting themselves on the back right about now. They’ve instantly created a gong show in the first-round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. And in a league that openly admits that it sells hate, it just got exactly what it wants.
No matter that its ludicrous decision not to suspend P.K. Subban for his two-handed slash to the hand of Mark Stone has suddenly hijacked this series. Between now and Friday night for Game 2, few people will be talking about how the Canadiens fourth line depth players, who had been dormant for much of the season, rescued them in Game 1. Fewer will be talking about how arguably the two best goaltenders in the NHL going into the playoffs, Carey Price and Andrew Hammond, have to be much better in Game 2 than they were in Game 1. Read more
One small whack in the playoffs, one giant gouge for playoff-kind.
P.K. Subban’s tomahawk to Mark Stone’s wrist ignited an inferno of what is so controversial and so awesome about the NHL playoffs. It was a microcosm of a hockey fan’s favorite two months of the season, all captured in a few moments of the second period of the first game of Round 1.