A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Buffalo avoids sweep; Chris Pronger is made an example of (kind of).

On Wednesday night, the Senators had a chance to complete a sweep of hockey's best team, and they had that chance in front of their home crowd. Unlike the previous three games, Buffalo decided to show up, and they won the game 3-2.

At 8:06 of the second period, Chris Drury gave the Sabres a 3-0 lead. They had no way of knowing it at the time, but it turned out to be the game-winner.

I didn't see even one second of the game, and I didn't get to chat with any of my Buffalo friends, but I'm sure they're all happy. Just before game four, I saw one of my Buffalo peeps, and he had pretty much sent the white towel up the mast.

As fate would have it, the Sabres benefitted from a five-on-three situation, scoring their first power play goal of the series.

Will this give the Sabres life? Sure. They head back to Eerie Coutie with a chance to instill hope in their fans. Those fans, by the way, have scooped up every ticket to every game this season and of course during the playoffs. Something like 60 straight sellouts.

Do they have a chance to win the series? Probably not.

In the West, which I have had a very hard time caring about, Detroit dominated game three with a 5-0 shutout. Game four is tonight in Anaheim.
By now, we've all read about or seen the thing with Chris Pronger.
He and Rob Neidermeyer crushed Tomas Holmstrom into the boards, knocking him silly and opening a gash on his forehead. Neidermeyer was given the boot for boarding, and after reviewing the tape, Pronger was suspended one game for "a blow to the head".

As regular readers know, I support the institution of stiff penalties for blows to the head. I'm glad that the League decided to do something about it. I find it a bit odd, though, that they capriciously handed down this one game suspension. There is no provision in the rulebook, and no precedent in NHL play. Huzzah for taking a stand, but I have to say that it seems like they're changing the rules in the middle of the game.
Several times during the season, players threw very hard head-high checks, causing injury. Those players were often unpenalized, and when they were given supplementary discipline, it wasn't consistent.
Like I say, good for the League for deciding to do something about it. During the summer, I very much hope that they'll write some verbage in the rule book pertaining to blows to the head. At the very least, they should have some defined supplementary discipline. A yard stick, if you will. They should know that such behavior carries a two, three, five game mandatory suspension.
That brings me to my other gripe. If the League wants to be serious about punishing players for this type of hit, they need to be more firm in their punishment. A one game suspension during the playoffs is a big deal, but the League cannot allow that to be the precedent. It needs to be more severe.
As a guy who doesn't care about the Ducks, and a guy who actually has dislike for the Redwings, I can look at the tape with a slight bias against the Wings. However, that hit looks almost predatory in nature.

As you may remember, Canada's Shea Weber (Nashville) was suspended for three games during the IIHF World Championships for delivering a head-high check to Germany's Yannic Seidenberg. There is nothing set in stone (relating to supplementary discipline) there either, but they do have a stance against head-high hits.

Anyway, that Ducks-Wings series continues tonight in Anaheim. Detroit is up 2-1, and the Ducks will be without their best defenseman.

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