There's been public outcry that not only is this year's officiating and suspension rulings in the opening round of the NHL playoffs inconsistent, but also unfair. From the perspective of players, fans and the media alike it's a little nerve racking to see how the NHL will handle whatever is thrown at them next, and how the public will respond to it.
Whether it was a good call, a bad call, or a missed call, the phone's been ringing off the hook and this time it's Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the line. After reviewing and allowing a late goal last night versus Ottawa that had hash tags #goalieinterference and #kickingmotion written all over it, in his heated post game interview King H said not only was the call "an absolute joke," he also said "somebody wants them back in the game, obviously, because there's no other explanation." Ouch. In the ongoing series between the Capitals and Bruins, check this insert from the Boston Globe: “A dubiously timed slashing call on Benoit Pouliot with 2:50 remaining...set up the game-winner by Troy Brouwer with 1:27 left....Pouliot was called for a questionable slashing penalty on Nicklas Backstrom, a penalty that didn’t warrant a whistle in these anarchist Stanley Cup playoffs.” Bias much? I guess that's why these two series' are going to Game 7's.
NHL Disciplinarian and hockey legend Brendan Shanahan has doled out 8 suspensions and some fines, but remains quite mum about his ruling strategy as it goes from one hot topic to another. His decisions have been scrutinized since opening night of the post season when Predator Shea Weber got off with a $2500 slap on the wrist for his clear intent to injure to Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg, while Ranger Carl Hagelin got 3 games for taking out Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson. The alleged reason Weber did not receive a more harsh ruling? Zetterburg was not hurt nor wheeled off in a stretcher, the way Blackhawk Marian Hossa succumb to Raffi Torres' mega smash. While Raffi (a repeat offender) received 25 games, Penguin Arron Asham only got 4 for cross checking Brayden Schenn in the mouth and punching him while he was down like an after school bully.
Punishments should be based on intent, not just result of injury. The possibility that Weber would have been penalized more harshly if Zetterberg hadn't been able to play makes me sick. In my eyes the Weber smash was just as bad as Asham's, and look who's still in the playoffs. Just because you escaped injury doesn't make it okay for others to get away with trying to destroy you. Duncan Keith's "unpremeditated" hit that took out Daniel Sedin for an extended amount of time late in the regular season resulted in a 5 game ban, but would have been more if it was deemed premeditated. Doesn't that sound contradictory Sheriff Shanny?