For the past week I’ve seriously thought about this idea. It’s not just the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty that’s making me contemplate the idea of not watching the NHL. It’s the lack of respect today’s players have for each other.
During last night’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs, I witnessed two players avoid serious injury because of an opponent’s lack of playing skills. In the first instance, Flyers forward/super pest Daniel Carcillo beat Leafs defenseman/iceberg Mike Komisarek to the puck in one corner of the Leafs zone. With Carcillo’s numbers staring him in the face Komisarek cross-checked Carcillo in his lower back, causing him to hit the boards face-first without a chance to protect himself and his legs splayed at very awkward angles. It’s amazing that Carcillo was able to play later in the period.
The second incident also happened in the first period. As Leafs forward Colby Armstrong crossed the blue line and into the Flyers zone, he wound up to shoot the puck into the corner. About a half-second after Armstrong shot the puck, a Flyers forward gave Armstrong a healthy shove in his shoulder and the side of his head, sending the Leafs forward flying horizontally into the boards head-first. This time there was no penalty for interference or roughing, only Armstrong getting up and slowly skating to the bench with a suspected shoulder injury.
I love hard hits, but only when they’re clean. As the past two seasons have gone by, I’ve witnessed more reckless hits than I ever have at any other time in my life and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t enjoy watching the game as much as I did. When will the senseless headhunting stop? Do we need another Bill Masterton tragedy to remind us how dangerous hockey is without dirty play from the likes of Randy Jones, Matt Cooke and Alex Burrows?
I’ve walked away from a sport before. I’ve never really come back to baseball after they cancelled the World Series nearly two decades ago. I’ve been to one baseball game since then, and the only reason why I went is because my then-employer paid for the ticket. Could I do the same with the NHL? I’ve had it with how Commissioner Gary Bettman has mismanaged the league over the past decade and the way I’m looking at my situation my free agency period begins on July 1st.
The NHL has their work cut out for them if they want me to continue paying for the NHL Center Ice package. There are other things I can do with my time. The CFL is an entertaining football league. I could spend more time watching motor sports. College football and basketball are now very popular here in San Diego.
I could also watch minor league hockey like I did in the mid-80s. Back then we called it the Los Angeles Kings.