The NHL has rules to keep players safe during the game. A lot of these rules in the more recent years have been about hits to the head. When looking at the hit you need to view several different angles. Some of them show what looks like a hit to the head but others show and looks to be a hit to the chest where his head came forward. Either way, the hit looks scary and painful and wasn’t needed.
The hit came late. Stepan had already moved the puck and had taken several strides up ice before being leveled by Prust in a late hit that was blind siding. Stepan had no way of protecting himself, but is this suspendable? The hit should have been an interference as the puck had left the play but no call was made. It comes down to the breakdown of the rules and whether the important part is if the player was able to protect himself over whether the target was the head.
One can argue Prust aimed for Stepans head in the play and missed, luckily that is for the NHL to decide as Prusts hit will be reviewed today by the NHL and a possible punishment may be handed out.
It was announced today that starting goalie for the Canadians Carey Price will be missing the rest of the series with the New York Rangers with a knee injury that was sustained after being run into by Rangers Chris Kreider.
Price left the game after the second period after giving up 4 goals and was replaced by Petr Budaj for the remainder of hone game.
Canadians coach Therrien stated he removed Price from the game in order to protect him but with the injury taking place there may have been more to this decision.
With way, this is a big hit to the Canadians who rely on Price to be their back stopper and with the Rangers offense beginning to click at the right time, the Canadians will need someone strong in net and Budaj has only 1 career playoff start from last year and they are recalling a goalie from the AHL.
Whether the collision between Kreider and Price was on purpose, only Kreider can say. As usual the line between the yes and the no all depends on which team you support. Kreider is a big and fast player but when looking at the play I can’t see a reason for his fall. It does look like he may have gotten touched by not enough to make a player of his size fall like that. That’s my opinion anyways.
It is becoming a yearly happening that the Penguins will match the Sharks at failing to bring their A-game to the playoffs. This year is no exception as the Penguins fell in 7 games to the Rangers after taking a 3-1 lead in the series and having 3 chances to close out the Rangers.
Who gets the blame for this failure? Is it the star players who failed to score (minus Malkin)? Is it the grunt players who failed to step up and protect their stars and their captain? Is it their captains fault for failing to lead his team? Or as always does the blame fall to the coach and/or GM?
With the Pens it seems like it should be a mix of everything. This is a team that yearly has top offensive power on its lines but this year only could score using its top 2. Players gained at the deadline failed to help with this nagging issue. Crosby is the leader of this team as well as leading the NHL in points and being among the best in the world at scoring and has only managed 1 goal in the playoffs. When a team sees its captain failing and struggling, it too will most likely fail. Malkin can only provide so much. Should all of the blame fall on Crosby? No, the players didn’t protect him from Mark Staal or Brandon Dubinsky and allowed for tensions to rise. The coaching staff didn’t dress enforcers to defend their captain and things took a bad turn because of this.
Fleury played better in this series then in the first round against the Blue Jackets but he is still proving to be an average goalie who has his better nights and plays behind a high scoring team to pad his stats. A sports psychologist may have worked a bit for the goalie who is currently 29 years old and in his prime, but if it isn’t going to work now then it most likely will not work going forward. With the free agent goalies on the market this off-season it may be time to cut ties with Fleury and look elsewhere. Ryan Miller is looking for a short term deal, maybe offering a 2-3 year deal to him would be a great start to making the team stronger and look into their system for future starting goalies once the deal is over.
The Penguins do not need to rebuild. They have a fantastic young core that can keep them going for years but they do need to fill in the cracks as they appear because the cracks that started a few years ago are only getting bigger as new ones are also appearing.
There have been plenty of questionable calls or miss-calls during the playoffs. As the league is still getting it’s stuff together following Shanahan leaving for Toronto, the did obviously something lacking in the league when it comes to punishment.
Should Mark Staal have been fined or penalized for hitting Crosby in the back of the head? Absolutely! The league is trying to crack down on hits to the head especially on incidents where the player isn’t expecting a hit or at least isn’t facing the other player. This play by Staal breaks most if not all of the rules involving head shots and should have had at the very least a penalty called if not a misconduct and fine.
That being said, in the next game Crosby is back to his tricks. For whatever the reason, the league never decides to give punishment to Crosby, whether he is hitting other players in the nuts, cross-checking a downed player or giving his own shots to the head but splashing water is a $5000 fine as Hank found out and so did Shawn Thorton.
There have been plenty of bad penalties called this post season and plenty of bad penalties not called. Spearing of players to the groin is always going to be met with a scrum following. The injury that can take place from that type of incident can be very severe where a small splash of water is just going to be comical and annoying to the player.
How is there equality when the league picks and chooses who they will punish for similar issues. Eventually equality for all players will be found, it’s just how long will it take.
Take your side on whether or not the Rangers have played too many games in a short time (5 games in 9 days) and your determination will be based on your team preference. If you are a I Penguins fan then of course you won’t have a problem with it, but if it happened to the Penguins you would be up in arms about it.
For any team out there playing games on back to back nights is a lot and the sports commentators make a big deal about 3 games in 4 days or even 5 days. So with this in mind, yeah 5 games in 9 days does seem like quite a lot especially considering how much effort goes into playing a game at the professional level along with traveling.
Is to an excuse for the Rangers bad play? Possibly, they weren’t exactly scoring a ton before this series and Nash is still sitting on a goose egg but as Alain Vigneault has stated, “if Hank isn’t tired then neither should the rest of the team be” and so far he has been the only thing keeping the Rangers in the series with their offense failing, especially on the power play.
It is the same in every league of any sport. If the team does bad then the blame falls to the GM and coach. Should it always fall to the pair? A team Presient had to hire a GM who had to choose a coach with. Typically when you choose a coach who has experience you look into the experience they had and make a decision if it would work with your team.
The decline in offensive stats by the Canucks this year fell to blame on Tortorella who has been known as a defensive coach for years. When you see how he was in New York you see a team that barely scored and always kept saying that “we need another top 6 forward to score” when even Rick Nash couldn’t right that sinking ship. Tortorella even stated when he first joined the Canucks that he was going to make a move to defense. He said that the Sedins would be blocking shots and killing penalties. Trading away Schneider last year and Louongo during the season and sticking Eddie Lack out there to drown didn’t help, but the coach doesn’t make the trades, that goes to the GM.
When the Canucks and the Rangers pretty much traded coaches they both saw the teams go in the opposite direction they were last year. The Rangers started scoring and getting power play goals and Canucks were not scoring and falling in the standings.
The Canucks need to start rebuilding, trading Schneider last year wasn’t the best move for the team (was for the Devils) when all they got in return was a mid-first round pick for him. He would have been the man to build around, but it may be time to start to change the old guard in Vancouver, unless the Sedins have a bounce back season and the offense returns.
They have a new President in Trevor Linden and hes on the search for a new GM and with the rumor that Tortorella will be fired today possibly a search for a new coach who will hopefully have a better plan of a attack for a team that is better then its stats suggest.