Once again the Department of Player Safety does not get it right. They suspend Nazim Kadri for the remainder of the series after game two. It looks like they are going to luck out because the series is going to go a minimum six games. However, if the series went five games, Kadri, a five time offender would have only been suspended for three games for an undisciplined cross check to the head. I am not buying what the NHL is selling, that playoff games mean more. It is that kind of out-dated leadership that is fuelling the behaviour for the rats of the NHL.
On the subject of safety I saw two things this week that the NHL and the NHLPA should be addressing. The chin strap! Helmut’s are coming off way to easily. Case in point Tory Krug. He takes big contact from Jake Muzzin. His helmet comes off and his head hits the boards. Krug wears his chin strap very loosely and I am sure this lead to the helmet coming off. Even more bothersome was he was playing two nights later. How he was not concussed after that?
Secondly, is the mouth piece. Players are starting to use them as chew toys while they are playing. This game is so fast and contact is coming from all angles it is only a matter of time before a player chokes. Tick tock tick tock!
Finally, everyone seems to be pointing the finger at Tampa Bay for their early exit this Spring. Credit to Columbus. The Management group were obviously paying attention last year when the Capitals beat Tampa in the Conference final. The Caps were big, strong, physical, and skilled. Barry Trots had them competing at a very high level both physically and mentally. This Columbus team has similar characteristics. I for one did not think that Columbus would win the series, but thought they could push it to seven games if things aligned for them. The Columbus Management team knew from past history that the officiating in the playoffs changes and they took a gamble to build a team to meet that change. Tampa Bay did not! These are elite and highly competitive athletes who are capable of an extra gear. The only question was what team had the capacity to handle it. The challenge now for the Blue Jackets is how quickly they can refocus. The Tampa series is gone; the only thing that matters is where they are now and the recommitment to the process. That is their challenge. It will be fun to watch.
Until next time!
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