Monday, December 1, 2008


If you watched the Islanders games on Friday and Saturday you were treated to depression and redemption. What you also saw were some blatant non-calls by NHL Officials that certainly should have warranted some penalty time against Islanders opponents. I'd like to point out two separate incidents, one from each contest, that should have been penalized.

In the first period against Boston on Saturday, Tim Jackman turned to face the corner boards in his own end and the 6'3" 225lbs freight train known as Milan Lucic hit Jackman on the numbers, forcing him face first into the glass. Jackman took some time to recover and once he got up it was clear he was bleeding from just above his right eye. What baffles me the most is how Lucic waited around expecting there to be a penalty call and then smiled as he lined up for the ensuing face-off knowing he had gotten away with one.

Not for nothing, but in youth hockey what Lucic did would have been met with a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Now let's get this straight, NHL players are big boys and can take care of themselves, but this is the kind of hit the NHL should be trying to prevent with stiffer penalties. More and more in the "new" NHL players are putting themselves in precarious positions and are getting hit while vulnerable. Lucic deserved at least a minor if not a 5 minute major without the game misconduct for the hit. The fact that he acknowledged the dangerous nature of the action and the officials didn't, shows a clear deficiency in the consistency of officiating so far this season.

The second of the two incidents happened late in the 3rd period against the Senators on Saturday night. As he was going back to play the puck in his own end, Freddy Meyer, who was having the game of his NHL career up that point was trailed closely by Jesse Winchester who launched Meyer into the end boards from about 6 feet away. Yet again, no referee's arm went in the air. I'm confused with the NHLOA's stance on trying to crack down on dangerous plays and then not following through with the mantra. To me, this just seems to perpetuate a cycle of illegal and possibly career ending hits (I direct your attention to Randy Jones' hit on Patrice Bergeron last year that got Jones suspended. Luckily, Bergeron was able to come back this season.).

If Colin Campbell wants to have his cake and eat it too, it might mean some harsher criticism needs to befall the NHL's disciplinarian or players like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin might end up getting carried off on stretcher some day (knock on wood it doesn't happen). How might the NHL respond then? Will it take the face of the NHL going down in this kind of situation to open the eyes of those in the NHL's executive office? Hopefully, we'll never have to find out...

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1 comment:

Dominik said...

I totally agree, of course. Every time a hit like either of these goes uncalled, players get yet another mixed message.

I noticed on the Meyer hit, on TV Jaffe was saying after the replays that he understood why they didn't get a penalty, but I didn't quite understand his point (they rushed back to the play-by-play). Regardless, Lucic's hit on Jackman was a no-brainer. Mike Milbury even went off about it ("this is exactly the hit the league is trying to eliminate") during the intermission on the Bruins broadcast.