I have watched the majority of the NHL Playoffs so far this year and there are some things that I have seen that are becoming a trend. Some are good, some not so good, and some are just really ugly. So let's list what I am seeing.
1. The Penguins are getting most the calls or non-calls whatever helps them. The Sidney Crosby pulldown in OT wasn't a good call. And before any Penguins fans say it was a penalty and what should be called in OT is the same as what it should be in the 1st Period, I agree with you. But then you need to take that same thought process and look at what Kris Letang and other Penguins are doing to the Islanders. Because right now, the Isles are fighting through what seems to be a lack of respect from the officials and winning the game on the ice. It should be Isles 2-1 right now instead of the Penguins up 2-1. Thank the Zebras, Pens fans. Otherwise you would be sweating bullets right now.
2. Other superstars are getting the benefit of the doubt. Jonathan Toews and other superstars are not getting called for blatant penalties. In Game 3 vs. Minnesota, Toews hit a Wild player in the face, tripped three Wild players with his stick and did not get a call against him. I am not saying that the referees are trying to have one team or another win the game and the series, but the favoritism towards the Superstars need to stop. It does not matter what the jersey or the name on the jersey is, the officials need to call it equal for each player on the ice.
3. After Game 3 of their series vs. the Ottawa Senators, I have to agree with Bruins fans. The Montreal Canadiens have proven to be a team of cheap shot artists. The exhibition of thuggery that the Canadiens showed in the 3rd period would have done the Chiefs and the Hanson Brothers proud. The NHL should watch that and have Brendan Shanahan take a look at that as head of player safety. (More on Shanahan in a minute). There would be at least 3 Canadiens that would be suspended for at least 1 game for their conduct. And if the NHL doesn't do anything about it, we will see more and worse thuggery until the league office gets their head out of their fourth point of contact.
4. Now on to Shanahan. I want to know what in the hell he does to determine punishment. He contradicts himself on Rule 48. He admits that the head was not targeted by Gryba of the Ottawa Senators. So therefore, even if Gryba does hit the head, it is not in violation of that rule. Link here for Shanahan's video explaination. But we have Andrew Ference blatantly giving an elbow to Mikhail Grabovski and receiving a one game ban. And we have Justin Abdelkader throwing a blatent elbow after doing a textbook charging to Toni Lydman getting 2 games. The Phaneuf hit on Paille wasn't a blatant shot to the head no matter what Jack Edwards wants to say about it, so sorry Bruins fans. Back to Shanahan. Make a standard and stick to it. It should be intentionally targeting the head, that is an automatic 1 game ban. Put it in the rule book and make sure that everybody knows it. If you want to have an injury add on to the punishment, put it in the rule book. Let's not have this arbitrary judgment call each and every time. You want to eliminate head shots, start enforcing penalties that will catch the player's attention.
5. Sorry about the length on Point 4. On to Point 5. It is time to blow up the Vancouver Canucks. Luongo needs to go. Alain Vigneault should be shown the door and some new blood needs to be in the Top 6 of the club. And in regards to the Canucks, I don't care if you like them or not, if you are a commentator on TV, even if it is on Fox Sports North, you do not call the Sedin Twins the Sedin Sisters. That is not just disrespectful to them, but it is disrespectful for us fans who like hockey. They might not play a physical game, but they are two of the most skilled players in the NHL and they deserve respect for that.
6. An extra point. Please, somebody at NBC get some new commentators for the Studio show and on games. There are two people that I cannot stand. Mike Milbury and Brian Engblom. They both have no charisma and suck up to the superstars of the league. Get some straight shooters in there and that might allow Jeremy Roenick and others to loosen up and say what they believe with passion and conviction.
7. Second extra point. No matter how the playoffs turn out for the Minnesota Wild, they need to upgrade their Top 6 forwards. The defense can hang with the big boys, but Parise needs help up front. Mike Yeo is showing that he is a competent coach and Josh Harding could be the future for this franchise in net with his play. Let's put it this way, if you are expecting Pierre-Marc Bouchard to be a force for you on offense, you need to reevaluate that plan.
8. Just the 3rd Period Penalty listing from the Habs-Sens free for all on Sunday.
The site above shows a nice elbow from Rene Bourque to the head during a stoppage of play during Game 3. Um, Mr. Shanahan, where in the **** is the Department of Player Safety during this nice little shot? And come tell us fans why that doesn't deserve at the very least a 1-game suspension. And tell us why all the cheap shots done during Game 3 do not warrant one suspension.