-I have to wonder if the Rangers are happy with the turn the series has taken. Tortorella made a conscious decision to play on (and over) the edge, perhaps with the expectation that Ottawa wouldn’t respond. After the circus last night he’s got to realise that even if the Rangers win the series his team is going to be in no condition to take on a serious contender in the second round. I’d guess if Tortorella could do it all over again he would have played a more passive, trapping style relying on counter-punching and his goaltending, ignoring all the nonsense that’s happened up to this point. All that being said, the on-ice officials could cool the jets of the series in a hurray if they chose to end scrums after the whistle and aggressively make calls on borderline hits–that may be the message the NHL sends in game three (or it may not).
–Peter Raaymakers points out that a lot of the nonsense last night was Boyle‘s fault:
had Boyle simply answered the bell for his actions and dropped his gloves early the whole situation would have ended out better for both teams. Neither Carkner nor Dubinsky would have been kicked out of the game, and the hatchet would have been (mostly) buried. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I find it hard to fault Carkner much here. First off, this wasn’t a decision he made: Paul MacLean made this decision when he dressed his fighters. Secondly, it shouldn’t have been an issue nearly as big as it was, because Boyle should simply have matched up with Carkner. Yes, Boyle is an inexperienced fighter and Carkner is a league heavyweight, but Boyle has a height and weight advantage and could have simply tied up Carkner‘s arms until the linesmen jumped in. Done. Thirdly, he threw two glancing blows and then five body shots; this wasn’t a massacre, it was a game of pattycake. Boyle was, obviously, no worse for wear (he fought and scored later in the game), and likely took more punishing hits at other points in the game. Most importantly, consider this: Teams will do anything they can to win playoff games. That’s why Brian Boyle roughed up Erik Karlsson in the first place–he figured he’d get away with it. Unless referees clamp down and restrict things, teams will push the limits of what they’re able to do in order to gain an advantage, however slight.
I’d go even further and say that if the officials had properly penalised Boyle or if the NHL had done something after the game, none of the enforcement would have been necessary.
-A bit of trivia: Chris Neil is the first player since 1989 to score an overtime goal and have a fighting major in a playoff game.
–Joy Lindsay Tweets the black aces called up from Binghamton: Robin Lehner, Mark Borowiecki, Eric Gryba, Patrick Wiercioch, Mike Hoffman, Andre Petersson, Stephane Da Costa, David Dziurzynski, and Mika Zibanejad. No real surprises (except, perhaps, Dziurzynski). Healthy players not included: Cannone, Blood, Grant, Schneider, Puempel, Schira, Cowick, Parrish, Lessard, Conboy, and McKenna.
–Joy also Tweets that Binghamton’s veterans (Conboy, Locke, McKenna, and Parrish) expressed an interest in returning to the team if the Sens wanted to retain them. It’s an interesting sentiment since neither could expect call-ups to Ottawa if they remained. I have no idea what management will do, but other than Mark Parrish I could see the other three retained.
-I like the TSN panel, but they missed the boat on why the playoffs have been vicious and fight-filled. The panel made the supposition that it’s simply a trend based on the Bruins winning last year–rough and tumble is the way to go. To my mind what’s clear is that the NHL promised to police the game this year and failed utterly–there are no serious consequences so that requires teams to fight to protect themselves. Why wouldn’t a third or fourth-liner take out the opposition’s best player when they are only going to miss one or two games? If the NHL doesn’t step in the next couple of days things are going to get even more ridiculous. What continues to frustrate me is so many talking heads in the media saying it’s simply “playoff hockey”. No it isn’t. Stars were untouchable even in the old rough and tumble days, but that’s simply no longer the case.
–Milan Michalek‘s agent Allan Walsh is trying to get Ottawa Sun reporter Don Brennan fired after Brennan wrote this article, with Walsh saying:
A parasite like Don Brennan in the Ottawa media can’t resist the urge to tear down the Senators and their top players. Brennan’s mission following the team on the road is to tear the players down. Can’t Sun Media come up with somebody better than this? Every Senators fan should rise up and be heard. Let Sun Media and the Ottawa Sun know how you feel.
Brennan is not going to win a popularity contest with the fans and tried to laugh it off. My take? The article in question isn’t the worst thing Brennan has written, but the quality of Sens coverage could only improve if he were removed.
This article is written by Peter Levi, be sure to follow @eyeonthesens