Outta’ Right Field: Playoff hockey not about violence

By Jesse Gaunce
April 17, 2012

The Stanley Cup playoffs should be about hockey, not violence.

Sure, fighting and those little scrums that happen after a whistle is blown can get violent but so far, it’s gone a little farther than that and we’ve seen it in almost every series. After game three of the Bruins-Capitals series, Caps star forward Nicklas Backstrom received a match penalty for cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley in the back of the head. Backstrom has been suspended for game four.

In addition to that, Madison Square Garden saw an ugly incident during game two of the Rangers-Senators series in which Rangers forward Carl Hagelin elbowed Daniel Alfredsson of the Senators in the head and gave him a concussion. That led to another incident in the same game as Senators defenseman Matt Carkner sucker punched Rangers defenseman Brian Boyle in the back of the head as he was down on the ice.

There have been other incidents in other series’ in which dirty hits have been distributed and suspensions have been given out but those two have been the most talked about so far.

That said, the series that has literally every hockey fan talking is…drum roll, please…Flyers-Penguins.

In just three games, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much dirty play from just one team and you know which one I’m talking about. There’s been hair pulling, sucker punching, late hits and so much more.

If the NHL is leaning on the Penguins as its golden franchise, they need to think about switching it up. Pittsburgh exemplifies everything that is wrong with hockey. If you’re not a Penguins fan, you more than likely hated them already. After this series, how could anyone outside of Pittsburgh not hate them? I dislike both teams but I hope the Flyers finish the job.

When will it end? When did the playoffs become about which player can knock out who? Are the New Orleans Saints somehow involved in this?

Cheap shots and diving are things the NHL wants to get rid of, yet it’s happening all over the place. This is not the time and place for it. It looks bad on the league and the players and the fans should not have to talk about players laying out dirty hits over the outcome of a game. This will stop when Sidney Crosby, Alex Burrows and others are not playing into May and June.

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Jesse Gaunce

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