Monday, March 08, 2010

Today’s NHL question: is the hockey rigged too?

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Full disclosure: Still learning about the NHL, not entirely sure why certain things happen when they do, but, definitely developing an appreciation for it.

Today’s question, do the home side always get as much assistance from the referees as in last nights Bruins at Penguins game? Completely stunned to see three plays unfold in particular. In one the Penguins basically hammers the Bruins goalkeeper, something I had not seen to date. In another they smashed away at the Bruins keepers pads until the puck came loose, again, something I hadn’t seen in any other game. Finally, and most egregiously, the cheap, nasty and dirty hit on the Bruins best player that left him with a concussion went entirely un-punished.

The inevitable outcome of a cheap shot

Up to last night I had yet to see a game where any team’s goalkeeper was even touched by an opposition player. Last night, late in the game, a Penguins player slammed right into Tim Thomas, the Bruins goalie. No call, no whistle, nothing. The Bruins players were clearly enraged yet had to play on to (narrowly) avoid conceding a goal. Am I confused about something here, or is it pretty much illegal to hit the goalkeeper?

Earlier on, there was a scramble in front of the Bruin’s goal, Tim Thomas got to the puck and dropped his left shin pad fully covering the puck. Amazingly a Penguins player was allowed slash five to six times at the pad until the puck came loose and he subsequently scored. The Penguins colour commentator, to his credit said ‘Either of two things can happens there, a Penguins goal or Tim Thomas gets a serious leg injury’. Unbelievably the referees allowed the goal stand, despite the Bruins vociferous protests.

The Penguins website quotes the Penguins player as admitting he and another player basically shoved Thomas into the net;
"I just tried to jam it in there," said Dupuis, who has rotated among lines since leaving Malkin's. "He had his pad on it and I just pushed his pad a little bit behind the goal line and took a couple of whacks on it. I saw Rupper (Mike Rupp) on the other side pushing the other leg, so I knew the goalie was going to go into the net."

Finally, and most seriously, here is the Penguins website description of the late controversial hit;
The Bruins played the final 5:37 without center Marc Savard, who received a concussion while being leveled by a blindside hit by Matt Cooke. Savard released a shot from above the circles only to be struck in the head from behind by Cooke's raised left arm and shoulder. Cooke was not penalized.

Here is the Boston Globe’s view of same;
Savard, standing just inside the offensive blue line, had taken a pass from Milan Lucic. Savard then winged a shot on goal. Just as he released the puck, Cooke launched himself into the center. Cooke caught the right side of Savard’s head with his left elbow. The force of the hit jerked Savard’s head to the left, sending him in the air and tumbling to the ice.

Most interesting, Sid the Kid Crosby’s comments on the incident;
"At some point, there's got to be a clear indication from the league (what's legal and what's not) because we've seen this so many times now,"

So, up to now, in an attempt to really get into Hockey, I have been asking the usual rookie questions, what is icing, what’s the blue line, why do the sub the scorer off every time, etc etc

Today it’s, what’s the point in playing if the rules aren’t applied?



Anonymous said...

As a long time watcher, I would say hockey has been rigged for around ten years. The referees will obviously punish the underdog teams, disqualify valid goals, call tons of penalties, allow dirty hits if the favored team is doing them... Hockey is all about ratings and money now, and less integrity with how the players treat each other every year.

For instance, Hossa did an identical dirty hit to Ovechkin's. Ovechkin suspended, Hossa not. You already noted Sam Cooke's assault. Certain teams can do no wrong, and the non-favored teams (usually any Canadian teams, San Jose, or low seeded teams) always lose.

So let's see who bought the Cup this year, probably Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the NHL is rigged, not the matches. The NHL is rigged as so far as I believe some teams rules are created to disadvantage some teams and help others. Take for example, the Montreal Canadiens, they were a dynasty and they won the cup many times in the past. That was in the days where the team was comprised of french speaking Quebecois. They they changed that rules, drafting, etc. They killed the dynasty. Can you imagine if all the top Quebecois player would now play for Montreal? It would be a dynasty again. Next, look at all the crazy decisions that the owners in Montreal have done in the past years... Nobody understands them... The only explanation is that the owners were ordered by Betteman to step down and sabotage the team. This is to expand the market as to let other teams win. If you add the fact that refs can favor some teams (e.g. bullies) then it is totally possible to rig the entire NHL, more or less.

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