I haven’t checked to see how or if the Phoenix press has come unglued. I haven’t checked Twitter to mainline Coyote fan madness. I will. Later tonight.
When Martin Hanzel boarded Dustin Brown in tonight’s game, with Brown lying face down and motionless on the ice, my 8 year old son had a question:
“Why are they cheering?”
I had to think about it for a moment. “Well, Quisp Jr., it’s because the fans in Phoenix are angry because someone told them the hockey team that plays in Glendale has a bandwagon and they should get on it, and so they all went out and spent a few hundred dollars on tickets and it turns out that was a waste.”
Then he said, “I thought you said the Coyotes were disciplined.”
“Um. Er. Yeah, did I say that?”
So, anyway. Back to hate. Part of my problem with Shane Doan has nothing to do with Shane Doan. It has to do with the NBC punditry’s predetermined narrative, which has cast Doan as the “old warrior” hero of this year’s playoffs, in the Ray Bourque/Lanny MacDonald tradition, the high-character veteran who has unthinkably been denied the ultimate prize which he so obviously richly deserves.
So it’s not Shane Doan’s fault he’s been miscast, or that the narrative is falling apart. And I wouldn’t say he’s (exactly) a dirty player. But he does appear to be — as Rudy Kelly put put it earlier — a dick. Is that entirely a bad thing? Not at all. Gordie Howe was probably a dick, too. But his take-down of Mike Richards was a dick move. And we know he’s not adverse to sticking his elbow out to catch a noggin if the mood strikes him.
I don’t think Doan’s hit on Lewis was motivated by dickheadedness. But it was boarding. Even if Lewis doesn’t turn his back on Doan, Lewis is still in a vulnerable position relative to the boards, and that’s the standard for boarding. The rule does indicate that a player in Lewis’s position has an obligation not to put himself in a vulnerable position, and Lewis did turn his back. But boarding doesn’t have to be a hit from behind. It’s a hit where the player is vulnerable because he’s a couple of feet away from the boards and the checker uses the boards as a weapon. And that’s what Doan did.
Could have called charging, too, since he he essentially skated 20 feet on train tracks to make that hit.
[UPDATE: I take it back. Just watched it again. Not a charge. Never mind.]
The refs had a choice to make on that play. It’s either a penalty or it isn’t. Lewis’s head is smashed into the boards. He’s bleeding. The absolute least the refs could call in that case is a double-minor for
charging [roughing?] and that would be the refs bending over backwards not to call a major on an important player. But once they decide it meets the standard for a major (the standard is “based on the degree of violence of the check”) and a head injury is involved, it’s a mandatory game misconduct.
Just to be clear: if an opponent has the puck a couple of feet from the boards — even if he’s facing you, even if he sees you coming — you’re not allowed to charge at him and drive him into the boards. You’re not allowed to NOT charge at him an still drive him into the boards.
I don’t think he should be suspended for it. It was reckless, not intentional.
Hanzal deserves a couple of games. He’ll probably get one. Smith, for his hatcheting of Dustin Brown, should get a game, but I actually hope he doesn’t. Jason Labarbera is not good, but I don’t like the storyline of him jumping in to play game 3. Think Cory Schneider in round one, but with a little LA history thrown in. Labarbera might just pull a rabbit out of his hat under those circumstances.
But it was Smith’s chop of Brown that made me hate. That could have caused real damage. And Brown wasn’t even being Brown. He was just standing there. Smith is just pissed because Quick is out-Smithing him.
What else is there to say about the game? Bullets:
- Jeff Carter, natural hat-trick. NBC says that’s the first one in the playoffs by a Kings player since…Wayne Gretzky.
- Also stolen from NBC: Dwight King, first rookie to score four in the playoffs since Warren Rychel in 1993.
- Jonathan Quick, shut-out. He’s pretty good.
- Kings 10-1 in the playoffs, and — as you have no doubt heard — 9 road wins in a row, which, in all of NHL history has been bettered by…