Well the first round of the NHL playoffs is off and running! But what has been the dominant theme? Violence, a dash of anarchy, and maybe just a bit of bar-room mentality on ice.
I have to believe that if Brendan Shanahan had suspended Predators captain Shea Weber for even one game for his assault on the Wings Henrik Zetterberg, then maybe the players might have copped on early.
Weber’s WWE style smashing of Zetterberg’s head into the glass was ridiculous. Weber was fined $2,500 and received zero games. What has resulted from that – in my opinion – is a state of anarchy. If an all-out assault from Weber garners only a fine, then I guess if you’re a player, you believe an elbow or massive charge may also be a fine, rather than a suspension.
Of course, we have now had an astonishing amount of suspensions through the first week of the postseason (8 in total), but could this have been prevented? If Weber gets suspended in game one, does the rest of the league see the tone that the NHL would have set. With his fine only as punishment, did some other guys just throw caution and respect into the wind? No doubt Shannie has a busy go of it here, and may even have his wings clipped a bit when it comes to throwing the book at big names, but has this made the NHL look silly? Where is the commissioner? Why no presence or guidance from Gary Bettman? Where is the head of the Players’ Union? Donald Fehr has been a ghost. Could either Bettman or Fehr bring any leadership or respect to this situation?
We can’t really know that for sure – but again – in my opinion, optically the Weber/Zetterberg play was the catalyst for what has become a crazy week – for all the wrong reasons.
How can anyone justify the actions of the Penguins’ Arron Asham in Philly? Why would anyone be happy that Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson is out of action with a concussion against New York? The NHL playoffs are supposed to be the top level of hockey the world over. One thing that is for certain in these opening games – the violence and dis-respect has been the resounding story – and that is a shame no matter which way you analyse it.
The story should be the fantastic run that both the Flyers and Kings are putting together. Who predicted that either team would be up 3-0 in their respective series? No one is the honest answer – not even the players on those clubs! And the fact that Philly is owning the Penguins, and that LA is crushing the Canucks, should be the top headlines. Sadly the wild actions of some players have overshadowed some good hockey, and some possibly monumental upsets. Here’s hoping the game, and actual skilled play, claws back our attention for the rest of the chase for Lord Stanley. I’m pretty sure that Brendan Shanahan would like that too.
You can follow Murph on Twitter throughout the NHL playoffs @MurphOnIce