Â• The manner in which the Red Wings disposed of the Ducks in Game 3 will lead some to believe the Western Conference final already has been settled. I'm not so sure.
Now, with Chris Kunitz Â– and, potentially, Rob Niedermayer and/or Chris Pronger Â– out of the lineup, Anaheim's already-questionable depth will undergo even more of a test in Game 4 Thursday. But the playoffs are all about adjustment and it's fair to expect Randy Carlyle to put together a solid plan to at least stem, if not turn, the Red Tide that all but drowned his team Tuesday night.
Â• Speaking of Niedermayer and Pronger: both deserve at least a one-game suspension for their tag-team assault on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom. But I won't be surprised if neither player receives supplementary discipline, mainly because Daniel Alfredsson got away with a similar cheapshot on Henrik Tallinder in Game 2 of the Sabres-Sens series.
So, I won't be surprised if no suspensions are handed out, but I will be disappointed yet again with the league's mind-boggling reticence to protect its on-ice employees. When I see how the NBA punishes similarly vicious hits Â– Robert Horry blindsiding Steve Nash this week springs immediately to mind Â– it becomes perfectly clear this particular league always errs on the side of caution with its supplemental discipline, while the NHL prefers a Wild West environment where just about anything goes.
It's an ongoing travesty that only will end when wheelchairs or coroner reports enter the picture. And there are enough people who have warned Gary Bettman & Co. about it that they'll have no excuses when such a tragedy does happen.
I'm not a Duck hater, but I was ashamed to see the way they tried to "intimidate" last night. It seemed the went high with their hits every time they could, resulting in more helmet removals (besides the Holmstrom hit) than I've seen in a single game. I kept waiting for the refs to call someting, but it never happened. I love fighting, but those are two willing combatants. Make those high hits a 5 minute major (I'm hesitant to add a game misconduct). Happens twice and you're suspended and fined the max allowed. Watch how guys find the restraint to not punch guys in the head while they're "following through" their checks fearing being benched for hurting their team. They should be benched for hurting the game.
- Joe Willix
I thought it would have been interesting to see both Neidermayer and Pronger get the % and a game they deserved at the time -but i'd be shocked if the NHL handed out post-game suspensions. It's the hits to the head that sully the game, not the odd dust- up. Is the league going to wait until death or disablement before they try to stop what the players seem unable or unwilling to do themselves?
- Steve walsh