Re: Getting Ridiculous Now
posted at 4/18/2012 9:50 AM EDT
In Response to Re: Getting Ridiculous Now
[QUOTE]I posted this on another thread that then died, but I'm curious if others see this point, so... I have a theory. Of all of the series, the Bruins-Caps is one of the most calm. Only Jersey v. Florida and Phoenix v. Chicago have had fewer penalty minutes and fewer incidents (Shaw on Smith notwithstanding). I'm stunned that the St. Louis v. SJ series is just as bad for PIMs as the Philly v. Pitt series. There have been 11 game misconducts and 2 match penalties in 25 total games. Am I wrong or is there a huge irony in the way this seems to be a consequence of the way the press tried to sell the Bruins's Cup victory as bullying their way to victory? The NHL is a copycat league. When the Ducks won with an army of goons, the story was that teams would need to get bigger to counter the goonery. When Detroit won, no one needed the goons anymore. All we heard last year was that the Bruins bullied their way to a Cup. The Eliot Friedman comment on HNIC was telling - after Bergeron and Savard were both smeared with minimal response from the league, Boston stopped looking for the league to protect players and decided they'd take care of their own. Last year was the result of that all for one mentality. But that is an entirely different thing than running around and crosschecking people in the face. Now other teams are trying to show that they can bully their way to a Cup, because the think that's what the Bruins did. What they missed - largely because they were distracted by the whining of the Canucks, the Sabres, and whoever the GM was who said the league had a Bruins problem - is that the Bruins are remarkably disciplined until you initiate dirty play. They aren't angels, and we know who the Bruins's aggressors are, but they aren't a team that plays outside the physical framework of the game. They play a lot of games where they take one or two penalties at most. Most of this year's playoffs has been about going outside the framework of playing hockey to establish that you can be violent. It's easy to be violent if you're willing to be cheap, dirty, cowardly. It's a different story to play disciplined, intelligent hockey violently. That's what the Bruins do better than any other team in the league, but it's discipline first then violence. So - to the question of playoff intensity - I think the Bruins are actually dictating the lower level of intensity in their series, and it's the Capitals who aren't able to be both physical and disciplined. It's a point of control, and now Backstrom will miss a crucial game because he couldn't control himself. The Bruins may not look like they're dominating the Capitals, but their overall control on the throttle is encouraging.
Posted by Bookboy007[/QUOTE]
I think your assement of the b's is right on book. Like many businesses, operating an NHL team is poster child for monkey see, monkey do.
I think this years playoffs though, are more a result of the leagues failing than mimicking the Bruins.
The line between acceptable/unacceptable on ice behavior has never been more muddied, and when the emotional meter gets pinned with the excitemet of playoffs, the natives get increasingly restless. Strict enforcement is about the only way to keep that under control, and with the uncertainty surrounding what is and what isn't acceptable, these paid gladiators are only going to keep pushing the envelope.
I think most teams realize the B's are most susceptible when unprovoked. I don't think any teams figure the best way to beat the B's is to attempt to intimadate...I think what's happenning is purely the wishy-washyness of the league.
If the refs call a really tight game...right from the offset, you don't see as much of this crap. We saw this a while back when the league made the announcement that there was a new culture being implemented regarding holding/obstruction. The refs called it, and relatively quickly, that decades old annoyance was dealt with. The only reason that happened, was because the officials were instructed to call it without mercy. Everbody caught on quick, cuz they realized those calls were not going to go away. If the next Pitts-Philly game is marred by a slew of early penalties, an ejection or 2...we'll see big changes in the way the players play. If a spear on the pills is tolerated, things just acceleate to the next level. I'm not really blaming the refs. Although I've been incredibly critical of Shanahan, he's not the root of the problem either. It really comes down to the league hierarchy, and it's lack of gonads.
They want it all. They don't want gratuitous violence, but it sells...so they want it. They hate to see players go down with serious injury, but they also don't want to do anything in terms of rules, that may in fact make the game a bit less violent. They don't want to see players commit fouls, but they also don't want the flow of the game to be interrupted by a lot of penalty calls. They want perpetrators penalized for infractions, yet they openly admit, that officiating does, and should be dictated by the score, and time of year, more so than what is stated in the rules.
Football is a pretty violent game too, but a penalty in game 2 of the regular season, is a penalty in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Understandable, consistently applied rules, really dictate how players play. The greater the swing in the consistency of officiating, the greater swing in behavior.
So what does the NHL do. They undermine the game, by undermining their own on ice officials. The hockey world would be upside down, if the refs called everthing, right off the bat tonight in Philly. The fan base would be screaming too, yet, thats whats needed, and it's not that the officials, arent capable, it's that their direction is without substance. This whole idea of Shanahan is a joke. He can't possibly win, he's clearly a short term sacrificial lamb. The hilarity surrounding the sheer volume of cases going before him, clearly screams of a much bigger problem. A problem not that difficult to fix, but the league really wants it both ways.
Back to the B's. They can be as dirty as anybody, but they're led by someone who can see the bigger picture. It's long been engrained in this team, that responsibility, and discipline are key. It's been beat into them that penalties are usually the result of either laziness, or selfishness, or both.
I see a lot of teams acting like Marchand did last year. I think thats more a product of undisciplined play, than a belief they're playing like the reigning cup champs.
I'm not really impressed with a lot of what I'm seeing so far this playoff. To me, it's a disturbing trend. It's not the refs fault, it's not the coaches or players, and not that puppet Shanahan either. It's the league. With TV ratings going through the roof with the Pitts-Philly series in the U.S. I'm not confident the league is prepared to do anything more than they've done, which is nothing much more than window dressing.