Culture of violence off the hook again, along with Andre Deveaux

Ken Campbell
Andre Deveaux (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

With the news that minor league enforcer Andre Deveaux will not be charged for his on-ice attack on an opponent in Sweden in March, it looks as though the culture of violence in hockey is once again off the hook. Sometimes it seems this game avoids court scrutiny more than a Mafia kingpin.

But like the Mafia kingpin, its day will come. One of these days an assault trial involving something done on the ice is going to make it to court and the game, by extension, will be on trial.

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The glaring flaw in the NHL’s playoff discipline process

Johnny Oduya winces as several members of the Lightning look on (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)

In the second period of Monday night’s Game 3 win by Tampa Bay, Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, on his way back to the bench for a line change, collides with Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya. Kucherov’s left skate takes Oduya’s legs out from under him and it was Blackhawk down. And perhaps out.

Kucherov received a two-minute minor for tripping, while Oduya received treatment for a likely injury. A key cog on the Hawks’ depleted blueline, Oduya left the game in the second and played reduced minutes in the third. He clearly wasn’t 100 percent.

There’s been some chatter that Kucherov’s move was a slew foot, an intentional act to upend his opponent – the old “accidental on purpose” play as it’s come to be known and as NBC’s Pierre McGuire alludes to in the video. Whether you agree with this take or not, Lightning fans needn’t worry about supplemental discipline. It wasn’t close enough, at this time of the year, for it to merit more than a cursory review.

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Suspend him or not: Brooks Orpik steamrolls Dan Boyle

Brooks Oprik and Dan Boyle. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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:

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NHL fines Canadiens’ Brandon Prust $5,000 for referee rant

(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images Sport)

The NHL announced Tuesday it had fined Canadiens left winger Brandon Prust $5,000 for “derogatory comments” about referee Brad Watson on Sunday after Montreal’s 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series.

“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

The NHL got the Kronwall suspension right. But what about Alex Ovechkin?

Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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:

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Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 after hit on Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov

Niklas Kronwall (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings will be without their best defenseman for Game 7 Wednesday after the NHL suspended veteran Niklas Kronwall one game for a head shot on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov Monday.

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

Suspend him or not: Niklas Kronwall should be ‘Kronwalled’

Ken Campbell
Niklas Kronwall (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

Despite anger over Tom Wilson hit, expect Islanders to stick to hockey tonight

Lubomir Visnovsky (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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