The Toughness Debate Strikes Back
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04-17-2012, 10:33 AM
Join Date: May 2007
One thing I can't help but notice is that "taking the body" has been almost entirely replaced by "taking the head." Every hit that can be is aimed high, elbows are now UFC-style forearm smashes to the head. The blatant cheap shots and attempts to injure are more numerous and blatant than they have been in decades.
To me, I see the image of Colin Campbell's kid punching Spacek in the face with his elbow pad again and again after Spacek was down and out. he escaped without so much as a fine, IIRC. Since then, the bigger team always has the option to simply beat the crap out of the other team. Marchand can punch Sedin in the face after the whistle again and again with no fear of reprisal from the league or from a team that doesn't have Chara and Lucic.
The cheapest shots of the last two years- Chara on Pax, Lucic on Miller, Weber on Zetterberg as three examples- the images that are just absolutely clearly not hockey plays, all escape without suspension. Meanwhile the longest suspension in NHL playoff history went to a guy who was maybe one second late in making an otherwise classic Scott Stevens style open ice hit on a guy with his head down. IMO there have been a dozen cheaper shots in the first half of the first round this year, none of which have resulted in anything like the punishment. I hope the NHL is happy with their ratings, because to me they've turned the league into a bush league freak show with no real rules at all anymore. Anything might not be called in this playoffs, from running a goalie to targeting the head to knee on knee, anything.
Love the playoff intensity and for sure am seeing some great hockey, but frankly the refereeing and the head office discipline aren't even a bad joke. They're ****ed up.
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