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NHL : The Brutality Has Turned to Nasty

Well, the NHL nastiness has started. Being only in game 3 of the quarterfinal round, this is a somewhat early sour turn.

Hmm, and it is slightly perplexing that most of the nastiness seems to be radiating from the Eastern conference.

Let’s just say Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s VP of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian is a very busy man, to put it lightly.

I knew that the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series would be brutal, but this early surge in brutality has exceeded my expectations. In game three alone there were three game misconducts, six fighting majors, and four 10-minute misconducts.  There was a total of 158 penalty minutes on 38 penalties. 72 of these penalty minutes happened in the first period alone.

Sidney Crosby, NHL superstar that he is, dropped his gloves with Philly’s Claude Giroux, another star who is also not an enforcer. The two best players on the ice, fighting it out? That is not something that you see everyday. Emotions took control of this game and things got nasty.

Peter Lavoilette, head coach of the Flyers, responded to his best player dropping the mitts and said of course he would rather have him keep his gloves on, but to fight Crosby, that’s what playoff hockey is about. Pens coach Dan Bylsma had a different reaction to his teams emotional loss, putting them in a 3 game to 0 deficit. Emotions took over the Pens; things happened out of anger and drive to get back in the mix, this series is slipping away from Pittsburgh’s grasp.  James Neal and Aaron Asham, both forwards for the Pens have hearings scheduled for Tuesday with Shanahan to discuss disciplinary actions for their hits on Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier from Neal and Asham’s hit on Brayden Schenn. There doesn’t seem to be serious injuries to these players, so according to the way Shanny has been dishing out suspensions, no injury no punishment. We will see Tuesday.

The Flyers have generated three wins, scoring 20 goals in these games. Their surging offense can’t be stopped by Pens goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

I could go on and on about this series alone, but there is another beast battle of the East happening in the Senators/Rangers series. Carl Hagelin is suspended for three games for his elbow to Ottawa captain and fellow Swede Daniel Alfredsson.  Alfredsson was done for the game after this hit, and it was later confirmed he suffered a concussion so his status is unknown for the rest of the playoff run. Matt Carkner, Sens defender, is facing only a one game suspension for his outbreak of punches to Rangers 6’7’’ center Brain Boyle while he lay defenseless on the ice. Carkner alone had 17 penalty minutes and a game misconduct.

The Senators won 4-3 in OT; they have evened the series score to one game apiece. Game three is tonight at Scotiabank Place.

In the West, Chicago Blackhawks Andrew Shaw collided with Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith while Smith was behind the goal playing the puck in the trapezoid. From different angles the hit looks more brutal than others, but the bottom line is you cannot hit a defenseless goaltender. But did Smith embellish? Shaw was ejected from the game, has not yet been dealt a punishment by the league. Shanahan is busy, busy, busy, and this could be the next decision on his list.

The emotion and brutality is great, except is seems slightly premature for only being in game three of the quarterfinals. There is still so much hockey left to play, if it keeps going with this illegal intensity every player will either be hurt or suspended! Who would play for the Cup then?

Let’s keep a close watch on the final games of this round, either way for the fans it is entertaining to say the least!

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Jackie Daly

Jackie Daly has been with In The Zone since 2012. Her contributions have been mostly in NHL and special events coverage. Jackie has been a writer, video host, and podcast host with ITZ. She currently co-hosts Tea Time with Mel and Jay. Outside ITZ, Jackie works with MLS's New York City Football Club and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
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