The NHL playoffs have not lacked in entertainment thus far. Some of these teams have some serious bad blood between them. In my opinion, Los Angeles and Philadelphia have already clinched their series and I’m not sure of anyone saw a sweep coming. The Penguins have played like absolute crap, and you will not win if you’re going to give up 8 goals in games 2 and 3. The Flyers have gotten underneath their skin and have successfully distracted them from the game itself and gotten them more focused on mixing it up after the whistle. A lot of the playoffs are about mind games and the Penguins have put themselves between a rock and a hard place right now.
I would write more about the other playoff series’ going on, but the Red Wings game got me so upset that I cannot properly focus on any of the other games. Right now you can add in Nashville to the list of teams that have clinched. I would be less discouraged if Pekka Rinne wasn’t between the pipes and if the Red Wings were actually playing like NHL players. The second goal in game 4 was the biggest brain fart on defense I have seen the Wings make ever. Literally ever. On top of that, Jimmy Howard is not doing them any favors. He is incapable of stealing a game right now. I’m not sure if he is still injured and he is trying to play through it, but he looks nothing like he did prior to the injury. At that point he was playing like a top 5 goalie in the league (statistically), and right now he has an 87% save percentage. For those of you that aren’t well versed in hockey statistics, that is completely brutal for a starting goalie in the NHL playoffs. I think that Ken Holland will blow this team up in the off-season when Nashville eliminates them. The team has completely fallen off the wagon since the All Star Game break and ever since Marian Hossa left, and they cannot seem to get it done. Their depth has disappeared the second half of the year and Brad Stuart has been playing like he has been drunk the whole playoff series. He is currently -5, and Jimmy has only allowed 11 goals. To make matters worse, Nashville has two powerplay goals (a situation that doesn’t impact plus/minus), which means he has been on the ice for AT LEAST 5 of the 9 Nashville even strength goals. It could be more depending on whether or not he has been on the ice for any of the Wings even strength goals, but I don’t really feel like looking. He currently has 1 assist and the Wings only have 4 even strength goals, so it is possible that he has been on the ice for more than 55% of Nashville’s goals. This is horrendous for a guy that is playing 19 minutes a night. He is literally last in the NHL for plus/minus during the playoffs. This post has pretty much turned into a Brad Stuart hate fest, but I am just disgusted with his play. Seeing as his family still lives in California, and the fact that he is playing like crap, I would be shocked if he is in a Wings jersey next year. Before I wanted him to stay, but I’d rather keep Quincey, and take the $3 Million and spend it elsewhere. Maybe spend it on a goalie that will compete with Jimmy for the starting job and push him. I feel like Jimmy’s gotten too comfortable in net, and doesn’t feel any pressure or play with any urgency. He’s just nonchalant about everything that is going on. I would LOVE for the Wings to make a move for Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick or Cory Schneider. Get some fresh blood in there and try to revitalize this team. I would say for the off-season, let Hudler, Stuart and Holmstrom walk, and then try to trade Filppula, Ericsson or Kindl. Maybe all three. Their depth has disappeared enough that I do not really care what they did in the regular season. The regular season means nothing if you lose in the first round, especially for a storied franchise like the Red Wings. My ideal trade would be to take Filppula, Ericsson, Tatar and a 1st rounder and make a push for Rick Nash and then try to sign Ryan Suter as a free agent. This is obviously a pipe dream at this point, but with how little this team has shown me in the playoffs, I’d say it’s about time for a major shakeup.
Now since that rant is over, how bout we dive into one about Brendan Shanahan having no clue how to discipline NHL players? Seriously though, if you’re already bored, stop reading, it’s just going to get worse.
This is just one of the many Shanahan suspension flow charts that is floating around the internet and I have to say this one is pretty accurate. Literally no rhyme or reason for the suspension, it’s like he is picking a damn number out of a hat. Seriously, $2500 for Shea Weber, but three games for Carl Hagelin and Andrew Shaw? Or how about one game for James Neal, Nick Backstrom, and Matt Carkner? Let’s see the video evidence.
Jump ahead to the 5:29 mark to watch Carkner mug Brian Boyle. Part of the reason Shanahan said he only gave Carkner one game is that Carkner says he asked Boyle to fight at the face off, but Boyle said no. So I guess at that point it becomes socially acceptable for Carkner to jump Boyle and only get a one game suspension. The biggest issue for me here is that Shanahan is putting entirely too much stock into whether or not a player gets hurt or not from the suspension. A dirty play is a dirty play, whether or not a guy is injured.
Arron Asham’s four game suspension was certainly deserved, and I think that Neal and Backstrom getting a one game suspension is probably fair. You get a match penalty and you’re going to be in some deep trouble. But the discrepancy between Carkner, Hagelin, Shaw and Weber is a complete joke. I really don’t think what Hagelin or Shaw did was worse than what Carkner or Weber did. The two players that clearly were trying to injure their opponent by doing something illegal got off the easiest. That seems a bit wrong.
And Raffi Torres late hit tonight on Marian Hossa, what is going to get, two games? He should get at least 4 but even then his hit, because of how late it was, is far worse than what Hagelin did. So how is it fair that he only gets a one game longer suspension?
Torres went after a player without the puck, a star player, and left his feet to do it, trying to put shoulder on head. Obviously it worked because Hossa went to the hospital. He has since been released, but he obviously has a concussion at the very least. Last year only seven suspensions were given out the entire playoffs, and as of right now, seven suspensions have been given out by Shanahan in the first week of the playoffs; eight if you count Torres. At least you can’t say that the NHL playoffs are boring.
Here’s another flow chart for your enjoyment if you made it this far, it’s from 2009, but it definitely still applies.