May 20, 2022

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Thus far, the Stanley Cup playoffs have seen a continuing parade of penalty kicks like by no means earlier than. And but, calling the sport a e-book hasn’t precisely been a deterrent to the kind of thugs on show nowadays.

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Sure, the primary spherical ought to be tough, if not reckless. “Frontier violence” is how Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe described it. Tampa Bay head coach John Cooper most popular the time period “organized chaos.” You anticipate extra punches, extra fights after the whistle, and extra chaos. However there’s a powerful sport and ultimate checks, and there may be an intention to inflict harm.

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And it is clear that what Darnell Nurse of Edmonton and Jacob Truba of New York have completed this week falls into the latter class.

The headbutt {that a} nurse delivered to an unsuspecting Philip Dano on Tuesday was ugly. A day later, the elbow with which Truba hit Sidney Crosby appeared even worse – even when the NHL safety division didn’t assume so.

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Both approach, the outcomes had been equally devastating.

Though Dano was not injured throughout the sport, Nurse was suspended for one sport for “placing his helmet proper in Dano’s face,” that means the Oilers had been left with out the very best protection in Thursday evening’s mandatory-to-win Recreation 6 in opposition to the Los Angeles Kings.

The Penguins, who misplaced to the Rangers in Recreation 5 after Crosby pulled out of Wednesday’s 5-3 loss within the second interval, did not get the identical equity. Trumpet was not suspended and even fined for hitting Crosby. However Pittsburgh followers at the moment are holding their breath as as to whether their captain will probably be eradicated earlier than the top of the playoffs by what appeared like yet one more concussion.

In that case, it might be an enormous blow to the Penguins, who lead the best-of-seven sequence 3-2, and a good greater loss to the NHL, which wants its stars to shine brightest at the moment. yr.

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This isn’t the form of bodily kind that somebody wants within the playoffs. It is not what sells the sport. In any case, you may’t promote sports activities in case your greatest gamers aren’t enjoying.

Whether or not it was Joe Pavelski getting into the clutch, Jason Spezza delivering inspirational speeches, or Alex Ovechkin scoring at a stage he would have been impressed with as a teenager, it was a very good playoff begin for the league’s grey-bearded gamers. With 9 factors in 5 video games, Crosby is a part of that candy story. That was till he grew to become a part of an outdated facet of the sport that also must be modified.

The Penguins captain was fidgeting with the puck within the offensive zone when he collided with Pipe. At first look, this may appear random, as if each gamers had been chained to the puck and didn’t see the opposite method till the final second. Look once more and it appears to be like like Trouba went for successful. You’ll be able to even see him ship an elbow or glove to Crosby’s face.

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When requested about this after the sport, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan made no secret of his displeasure.

Did you see the hit? Sullivan requested. “You have to be of the identical opinion as me.”

Sure, it appeared soiled. Furthermore, it appeared pointless. An indication of disrespect to one of many best gamers to ever play the sport.

It is vital. Or ought to it matter.

It wasn’t Trumpet who killed a random fourth liner. Even that will be dangerous. However the truth that it was Crosby, who not solely has a historical past of concussions however is on the shortlist together with Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Gordie Orr at Mount Rushmore, crossed the road.

“He is the very best participant on this planet,” Penguins ahead Jake Genzel stated.

It goes with out saying that the league wants to raised defend its greatest gamers. You do not need any extra cautionary tales about Paul Kariya or Erik Lindros, who ended their careers as a consequence of harmful blows to the top. You do not need Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid to be focused. This doesn’t occur in different sports activities. Nobody will elbow LeBron James or headbutt Tom Brady. In the event that they do, there may be justice.

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The NHL has a shrug and a wheel of justice the place nobody is bound the place it is going to land. What’s a suspension? What’s a tremendous? What’s truthful play? The gamers do not know. In addition to those that are liable for the distribution of punishments.

The league cracked down on delicate offenses resembling holds, cuts and journeys. However that is not all in relation to taking out a harmful participant with a harmful punch.

Crosby has confronted comparable abuse all through his profession. Moments earlier than Truba landed, Crosby was hit with a excessive stick within the face by Miki Zibanejad throughout a faceoff. There was no name once more. It was simply an unwritten invitation for others to do the identical, till the very best participant within the sport could not stand it and was pressured to depart the sport.

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“You discover his presence is gone when he is gone,” Rangers guard Adam Fox’s Caroline Cameron of Sportsnet stated.

It is not good for the NHL.

mtraikos@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Michael_Trykos

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