Today we step into the Pizza Kitchen, not for pizza, but for its namesake and my second overall pick, PK Subban.

Honestly, I picked defenseman PK Subban second simply because I like him and no other reason. Not because I’m uncertain that he’s got the chops to silence his critics because I’m positive that he does; not because I think this is a make it or break it year for him because I don’t. He has proven himself enough to become a definite mainstay with the Canadiens over his first two seasons, so he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. It’d be nice to have something to enforce that last comment, something like a contract, something that has eluded PK since the frenzy. Talks are still supposedly going on so we should hope to see one very soon. But if we were to speculate, the deal will be of the longer variety (I’ve heard two, but that’s twitter, where credentials don’t seem to matter in the slightest)

Anyway, back to why I chose PK.

He hits hard, shoots hard, skates fast and if he wanted to, he could play keep away the entire game and succeed. I chose him because he makes being a hockey fan fun.

His antics on and off the ice are what inspired me to buy a jersey with his name on the back. Antics? What antics? For one, the smile that is always plastered on his face. A smile that seems to get under the skin of even the most tenured veterans.

Or his stint as a zookeeper with Cabbie

Or his over-the-top celebrations

And of course, his hits. Even some of his misses are entertaining.

Enough with show and tell, it’s time for a breakdown of what PK Subban brings to the Montreal Canadiens.

Drafted 43rd overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (21 picks behind Max Pacioretty). If this pick didn’t excite the Montreal fans immediately, these same fans certainly got excited when he debuted at the World Junior Championships about 6 months later. He helped the team in achieving gold not only that year but also the next year in 2009.

Making his NHL debut just before the great playoff run of 2010. In which time he put up 10 points while also scoring his first NHL goal.

In the seasons that would follow, there were 3 assets aside from his aforementioned hitting ability and general likeability, that stand out.

1. His absolute wizardry with the puck combined with his astonishing skating ability. Subban, if given the puck, will embarrass anyone who tries to strip him when he’s got a head of speed. This was more relevant the season before last. It was not a rare occurrence to see PK charging the puck out of the defensive zone, zig-zagging through players. However this past season, those rushes became few and far between due to the fact that these rushes did not always go as planned. PK often got himself into turnover troubles, sometimes turnovers that resulted in opposing goals. PK would realize his mistakes during the subsequent benchings.

2. Laying off the rush this season gave Subban the opportunity to show off one of his other attributes – passing. Passing out of the zone specifically. I can remember one event vividly against the Maple Leafs where Subban thread the needle across the neutral zone to former Hab, Mike Cammaleri where he would then proceed to fire one of the best slapshots I have seen in recent years. This is still a developing skill, but if last season was any indication of what’s to come, then the future is bright.

3. He gobbles minutes. He’s a minute gobbler. He led the Canadiens by far on TOI/game at just about 25 minutes a game. Trailed only by Josh Gorges at 22 minutes per game. The most positive aspect of having this in his arsenal is not the obvious, rather that it keeps Campoli off the ice.

Jokes aside, PK Subban is becoming more and more reliable without losing his offensive presence. I believe that’s what his fate will be in the NHL. An energetic buzzsaw that will hit, skate and score with the best, while simultaneously shutting the best down defensively. If he plays his cards right and gets some luck, there could be Stanley Cups, Olympics or if he gets really, really lucky, maybe a Norris or two.

 

When Cliff Fletcher and the Toronto Maple Leafs hired general manager Brian Burke on November 29, 2008 , the then 53-year old had a clear picture in his mind expressing how he wanted to re-shape the face of the hockey club. Burke wanted to establish four elements that are essential for any hockey team to achieve success . He wanted to build a team abundant with pugnacity , testosterone , truculence and belligerence . It would surely take a dictionary to figure out what in the world this man was saying , but it sounded very promising.

However,  in his four year tenure as the head of management , the results have not shown up in terms of creating any success for the NHL’s most historic franchise. Instead , the only thing Burke has accomplished , is further deepening the Maple Leafs’ playoff drought to a franchise worst seven consecutive seasons.

This is where we begin . Going into the 2011-12 season , the main goal in mind for the Maple Leafs organization was to qualify for the Stanley Cup tournament after failing to do so since the 2004-05 lockout. Since the lockout ,three different coaches have tried to bring the team back to greatness ; Patt Quinn , Paul Maurice and Ron Wilson , who was in his third stint with the club last campaign. Prior to the season , GM Brian Burke guartenteed a playoff berth. By February 7th , 2012  , the team looked like they were destined to accomplish this feat , feeling confident , while sporting a 28-19-6 record after game 53. Things were going just they way fans and management wanted them to ; the tandem of sniper Phil Kessel and newly- acquired winger Joffrey were among the top on the scoring leaders list , a young , smooth skating defenceman by the name of Jake Gardiner was emerging , and goalie Jonas Gustavvsson had finally seemed to find consistency after critics questioned the reason why he was a top goalie prospect a few years ago. Nevertheless , it was what happened after all this , that will be forever scripted as nothing more than a collapse of epic proportions.

What went wrong ? What went right? , Let’s break it down.

 What Went Wrong:

A lot went wrong this season , but ultimately 19 losses in 24 games was the lowest point. It also cost coach Ron Wilson his job and eliminated the Leafs from the postseason for the seventh consecutive season .

 1. James Reimer Is Sidelined – October 22nd , 2011

The Maple Leafs began the season hot out of the gate. After five games , the team had collected a 4-0-1 record and were setting at the top of the Eastern Conference. Starting goaltender, James Reimer played in all five of those games , earning one shut-out , before going into a Saturday night rivalry match against the rival Montreal Canadiens on October 22nd. Just a minute in a half into the first period during a scoreless match , Canadiens forward Brian Gionta rear ended Reimer,  targeting the head , after a humongous rebound bulleted off Reimers pad from a PK Subban point shot. Reimer’s helmet was knocked off his skull on the play and he immediately collapsed to the ice in agony. He continued until the end of the first period , but left the game with an undisclosed injury before the start of the second period.

It later was released that Reimer had suffered a concussion resulting from the hit , and would be out of the line-up indefinitely for an extended period of time. At the time , this meant bad news for the Maple Leafs ; they were now without the goalie that took them through a miraculous playoff push in the late stages of the 2010-11 season. What they were left with , was Jonas Gustavvsson and Toronto Marlies (AHL) net-minder , Ben Scrivens. Gustvvsson and Scrivens took the reigns from Reimer right away , and both surprisingly excelled early on. 26-year-old Ben Scirvens made his NHL debut on November 3rd against the league worst Columbus Blue Jackets and stopped 38 shots en-route to a 4-1 victory. Unfortunately , he was also the victim of a 7-0 stinker against the Boston Bruins two days later. He played eight games in total during Reimer’s absence , going 2-5-1 . Gustavsson  started in thirteen games and collected a promising 8-5-0 record to boot. By December ,Reimer was ready to play again , however,  the Leafs had continued on a consistent trend with Gustavsson in goal , earning a 16-11-3 record . It now seemed like the loss of Reimer was not as much of a loss as planned.

Now you’re thinking , if Gustavvsson keeps this up , making the playoffs will be a piece of cake . Problem was , he couldn’t keep it up and when Reimer returned to the crease his game was only a fraction of the level that he is capable of playing . He allowed 37 goals in his next 11 starts , including four in the second period in a 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on December 16th. After the Leafs realized Reimer was underachieving , they sent Gustavsson back in goal and he eventually underwent a February that saw him lose six consecutive games , only once allowing less then four goals. Reimer’s concussion was truly a demoralizing blow at the teams expense. He was playing great before his injury , and would have probably continued on that path had Gionta decided not be stick his behind in his face.



2. The Struggling Nickolai Kulemin It’s hard to tell just what went wrong with Nikolai Kulemin this season . Coming off a career-high season in 2010-11 , in which the speedy winger produced 30 goals and 27 assists , the Russian only notched four goals by the seasons halfway mark and seven to finish the year.  Kulemin is a strong physical presence , standing at 6 foot 1 , while weighing in a 225 lbs. In the seasons prior to 2011-12 , he was most known for using his body to his advantage ;  he forchecked hard , fought for the puck in the dirty areas and was great at compelling his speed off the rush. However , this season he transformed from a tight forechecker , to a player prone to wandering around aimlessly in the middle of the ice waiting for a chance to spring off on a break. He stopped digging in the ” dirty areas”  and rarely used his physical advantage to fight off defenders and carry the puck deep into the offensive zone.  If there is anything positive to say about Kulemin’s performance , it’s that he was at least a plus player , tallying a +6 rating . He also added 21 assists , only a 6 point drop from last years assists total. His wingers , Michail Grabovski and Clarke MacCarthur each ended with upon average seasons , so someone must have been feeding them the puck in order for them to produce. One of Kulemin’s biggest problems , is he needs to shoot more , it’s hard score goals when you’ve shot 67 less times then the year before.

 Kulemin is coming off of a two-year $2.35 million contract prior to getting re-singed to a new 2-year $5.6million deal last week. 

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3. Defense
It’s impossible to address the reasons stating for the Leafs’s downfall this season without mentioning the word “defense”. During an early season press conference , General Manager Brian Burke expressed loud and clear , that he feels his team’s defence was stronger than any other team in the league. Well , they were surly better than anyone else in terms of allowing nearly the most goals in the NHL. That’s right , the Leafs finished second worst in the NHL in terms of goals against , with an abysmal 266. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (281) allowed more. So it’s a little bit of an exaggeration on Burke’s behalf , and he definitely has no evidence to back up his claim now.
Why were they so terrible defensively at times? — lets look at a couple causes and how they affected overall team defence.
Cause:  John Michael Liles Injured. 

Maple Leafs defenceman John Michael Liles excelled in his first year as part of the club . The 31-year – old puck-moving blueliner played a key role on the Maple Leafs powerplay , registering 4 goals and 13 assists before his season was de-railed on December 22nd , when he was nailed by Buffalo Sabers Forward Paul Gaustad . As a result , Liles would spend nearly the next two months(16 games) recovering from the dreaded “concussion-like symptoms” and wasn’t nearly the player he was after his return , much similar to James Reimer. He only notched six points and 2 goals the rest of the season.

The Maple Leafs lost a great puck-moving , reliable defenceman . Despite his size , Liles was able to be involved physically and was very keen on attention to detail ; doing the little things ,such as getting into shooting lanes and taking away space for the attacking team to roam. He was also one of the teams quarterbacks on the powerplay and penalty kill , as special team percentages dropped drastically while he was out of the line-up.



Fact: At the seasons halfway point , the Maple Leafs were running the leagues worst penalty kill , only efficiently killing off 73.5 percent of penalties taken( 41 goals against) worst in the NHL. 
 
Cause: Luke Schenn and Cody Franson.

There’s still mixed reactions regarding Luke Schenn’s performance following last season. On the positive side ,the 22-year-old posted 2 goals , 20 assists and a -6 rating in 79 games . He also administered 270 hits , ranked seventh in the NHL. Nevertheless, it was his defensive liability that was just shy of terrible. There was something about Schenn that was different this season , his skating ability was poor , as he would often be caught flat-footed in his own end. In addition ,the native of Saskatoon was very prone to defensive zone turnovers , and on many instances these turnovers turned into goals for the opposition. Schenn was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward James Van Reimsdyk on June 23rd . He will now be given an opportunity to find success playing with his younger brother , rookie-forward , Brayden Schenn.

No doubt , Schenn’s most infamous moment last season came on February 28th , when he fanned on a clearing attempt in his own zone and set up Florida Panthers forward Marcel Goc for the game opening goal only 13 seconds into the first period. The Leafs went on to lose the game 5-3 and it was this game that capped the end for coach Ron Wilson , as he was fired a few days later as a result of a 1-9-1 slide in February.

Cody Franson was acquired from the Nashville Predators during the off-season to serve as a significant contributor as an offensive-style defenceman with a booming slap shot. At the start of the regular season , Franson got off on the wrong foot and found himself in the pressbox more times then on the ice. The blueliner finished with 5 goals and 16 assists in 57 games last season , but those numbers don’t reflect his poor defensive play.


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4. Other Disappointments:

 

Tim Connolly : Signed as a playmaker who could help produce offense on one of the top two lines , Conolly struggled to produce throughout the entire season , only registering 13 goals , 36 points and a terrible -14 rating. Conolly is also the most overpaid player , making $4.75 million last season and next year.

Mike Komisarek: The 30-year-old defencemen accomplished next to nothing this year , scoring 1 goal and 5 assists in 45 games. He also added a -13 rating and was a defensive liability when not sitting in the pressbox.

Phillipe Dupuis: In my opinion , this guy spent way to long in the NHL . As a definite fourth line forward , Dupuis showed that he has a sense of speed , however,  he couldn’t really do anything with it. In 30 games with the big league club , Dupuis failed to pick up a single point– end of story.

Mathew Lombardi:  Acquired along with Cody Franson , Lombardi is an extremely fast player equipped with a great wrist-shot, but like many players this year , he greatly underachieved. The native of Montreal seemed promising early on , scoring his first goal as a leaf in the opening game of the season against his home town Canadiens. However , as the season wore on , he went through stretches where he was nearly invisible , showing up rarely to produce offense. He finished with 8 goals , 10 assists and a team worst -19 rating.

Home record:  Seven weeks passed between wins (February 6-March 31) as the Leafs dropped 11 straight homes games – an NHL season-high , at the Air Canada Centre. Only three teams finished with fewer wins at home than the Leafs’ 18.

Ron Wilson: It’s a coaches job to install confidence in each and every one of his players. Leafs coach , Ron Wilson failed to do just that. During a press conference following a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on February 25th , Wilson deliberately blamed goaltender James Reimer as the reason for the loss.  The loss put the Leafs at a 1-7-1 record in nine games.

Here’ s what he said:

“The two goals early in the game were stoppable chances,” Wilson said. “They got saves at one end and we didn’t. And we dug a hole because of that . “When not even really scoring chances are in the net, boom, you’re down 2-0, you’re seeing an uphill battle the rest of the night. It’s tough when everyone gets down to keep them propped up. You try your best.”

Many Hockey experts frowned upon Wilson for his comments ; it even drove Montreal Canadiens goalie coach Eli Wilson to call out the bench boss , who was in his last few days as coach of the blue and white.

“What Ron Wilson did was completely unfair,” said Eli Wilson . “Not only as a goaltender, but as a person, as a teammate. The guy you have to lean on and be close to and depend on every night is your goalie. If you can’t do that, you’re in trouble. To single him out like that was unfair.”

On February 28th , after the Florida Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs , “Fire Wilson” chants echoed throughout the entire Air Canada Center . Surly fans have had enough.

Wilson was fired on March 2nd , and former 2007 Stanley Cup winning coach with the Anaheim Ducks , Randy Carlyle , was hired to take over as the Maple Leafs’ 43rd coach in franchise history.



What went right:

Aside from the Maple Leafs’ defensive woes , the teams offensive production was among the top in the NHL. The team scored 231 goals throughout the regular season giving them the 10th most in the National Hockey League. At the highest point of the season , the Leafs had reached sixth place in the Eastern Conference , sporting a 28-19-6 record. There was abundant offense between the top two lines , but limited depth beyond that. Also , the teams first two lines hardly ever stayed the same  , as players were shuffled from the first line all the way to the fourth line between periods.

1. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul:  

Coming into his second season with the Maple Leafs , 28-year-old winger Joffrey Lupul made a dramatic impression with the club by having a breakout season. The dynamic forward , who was healthy for the first time in years , tallied 42 assists and 67 points en route to his first career NHL All Star game appearance. He also fell three goals shy of tying his career high total with 25 ; he scored 28 during his rookie season in 2005-06 season with the Anaheim Ducks. If it wasn’t for a shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely , Lupul might have finished in the top 10 in league scoring , which he was listed in before he was sidelined.

It’s easy to determine one of the reasons Lupul had such a great season , he played on a line with sniper Phil Kessel . Lupul and Kessel can be compared as the Sedin twins of the Maple Leafs . The two forwards gelled together so smoothly and were one of the most dynamic duos throughout the regular season. At one point , Kessel and Lupul were sitting first and second on the NHL’s scoring leaders list . They both seemed to know where each other were on the ice at all times.  Phil Kessel capped off a career best season , scoring 37 goals and 45 assists for 82 points( sixth in NHL). Kessel also became the first Leaf since Mats Sundin in 2001 to hit the 80 point plateau. His blazing speed and deadly wrist shot are a force to be reckoned with. With all respect to Kessel’s offensive ability , his defensive ability is still a major defect in his game . In the last three seasons combined Kessel has collected a miserable -38 rating.



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2.  The Rise Of Jake Gardiner:Consistency , it’s the only way to describe defenceman Jake Gardiner’s performance last season. Gardiner was a huge standout player during training camp and it continued into the regular season. Playing in his rookie season , the 21-year-old contributed 7 goals and 23 assists and was by FAR the most consistent blueliner on the team. The youngster thrived playing alongside captain Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson, showcasing his amazing skating ability and two-way mentality. Some have even compared Gardiner to a young Thomas Kaberle . He can carry the puck in nearly any direction , forward , backwards , even sideways , and his 6 foot 2 frame enables him to do it with ease. He averaged nearly 20 minutes  per game , nearing the most on the team. Of the seven goals he netted this season , some of them had the quality to be considered highlight-reel.



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3. Other Surprises (expectations) Tyler Bozak: 

He will never be a first line player , but Tyler Bozak has continued to be a good role player , providing scoring from the second and third lines. In his third NHL season , he posted 18 goals , and 29 assists for 47 points,  all career highs .

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Carl Gunnarsson:   Not much to say about Carl Gunnarsson . For a seventh round (194th overall) draft pick , he has been a surprisingly consistent defencemen throughout his three years with the club. He’s not a player that will be noticeable every night , but he does the little things that will pay off in the end. He plays a shut down role and makes very efficient passes with few turnovers. He nearly tied his career best totals this season , with 4 goals and 15 assists in 76 games.

 
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Joey Crabb and Mike Brown: Every team needs players that are capable of changing the momentum of the game ; fourth liners Joey Crabb and Mike Brown are prime examples of this. They will never be high scorers , but the two were a class act in terms of heart.  They gave it their all each and every shift , and once in a while produced some offense. 29- year-old, Joey Crabb topped a career high in goals with 11 , including three game winners , tied for third on the team. Mike Brown was extremely hard on the forecheck at all times , and scrummaged two goals and two assists with a team leading 74 penalty minutes. The two of them combined to make a great “energy line” and often would change the pace of the game when the other three lines were struggling. Unfortunately, the Leafs lost Crabb when the Washington Capitals signed him to a one-year $950,000 deal during the second day of free agency.

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Michail Grabovski and Clarke MacCarthur:
Grabovksi and MacCarthur both finished with solid seasons . Not many negative comments to add , they did what was expected of them. The only problem with the two second line forwards is that they were either really hot , or really cold. Grabovski went through a 14 game goalless stretch( Feb 1st -March 3rd) , and still managed to produce 23 goals and 51 points . On the other hand, MacCarthur went all of March without scoring (13 games) and collected 20 goals and 23 assists. Both forwards have good offensive instincts , however , they just have to figure out how to channel it consistently and avoid prolonged slumps.
 
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Captain Dion Phaneuf:
The captain of the Maple Leafs regained his offensive stride this season while continuing to be a player that the opposition hates to play against. The blueliner totaled 12 goals and 44 points (12th among NHL defenceman) and logged large minutes almost every night. This season was Phaneuf’s highest offensive output since 2008-09 , when he notched 11 goals and 36 assists for the Calgary Flames. The 27-year-old was also extremely physical when called upon , utterly destroying players with bone-shattering hits. One of his most famous hits came on October 8th 2011 , when he levelled Ottawa Senators forward Steven Da costa with a clean shoulder-on-shoulder hit. The only thing Phaneuf can improve next season , is making sure he doesn’t get caught in the offensive zone , as he did on many instances last season and was slow getting back in position.

    Expectations: 

The Leafs are most definitely going to evolve into a better defensive team next season with  Randy Carlyle behind the bench . Carlyle is a defensive specialist and won the 1981 Norris Trophy(best defencemanas a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins . The Leafs saw an immediate improvement under Carlyle , only allowing 11 goals the first five games after he was hiredcompared to 26 goals against in Ron Wilson’s final six games with the team.  

The acquiring of forward James Van Reimsdyk will add some immediate depth up-front. The question is, is he the number one centre that the Leafs have been looking for since Mats Sundin left in early 2008? Most likely not , however, coach Randy Carlyle has not frayed away from the whole situation, as he stated that the team will try Van Reimsdyk at centre during the pre-season and probably early into October. Van Reimsdyk played centre with the University of New Hampshire before he turned pro , so it’s not something he is unfamiliar with. With no doubt , It will be an interesting start to next season for the Maple Leafs .
 

The Montreal Canadiens have the 3rd pick in the 1st round at this summer’s draft. There are a numerous amount of questions that people have that will not be answered until draft day. Will the Canadiens trade up to draft a player like Nail Yakupov? Maybe, I don’t think that is a definite no at this point. If they do not, then who do they take at 3rd overall? It could be Grigorenko, Galchenyuk, Forsberg or even a d-man regardless of the Habs being pretty stacked in that department. They have Subban, Emelin, Beaulieu, Ellis and Tinordi just to name a few. If they did go that route, one has to think that one of their other defensive prospects could be used in a trade. There are so many things to consider when it comes to the Habs going forward. They still do not have a head coach and the coaching staff that he will bring with him. We do not know the fate of Randy Cunneyworth. We are also not 100% sure that Timmins will be seen as apart of the Canadiens down the road even though it has been said that Dudley and Bergevin really appreciate the man and what he does. So many questions, not enough answers for those who are getting impatient. For me, the Montreal organization has been putting out deals, signings and hirings at a good pace to keep everyone busy and talking Habs like usual. With the signing of Nathan Beaulieu to his entry-level deal yesterday, here is the video of him getting drafted last summer:

Beaulieu had 52 points in 53 games during the regular season and 15 points in 17 games in this year’s playoffs. In addition, he had 4 assists in 4 games during Saint John’s Memorial Cup run. The future is bright for the Habs and we all hope to see Beaulieu and others excel wearing the Canadiens jersey.

GO HABS GO!

You might have noticed that the Montreal Canadiens have become a bigger, more physical team over the last season. Having Emelin finally come over from the KHL and adding a guy like Staubitz made the Habs more of a tough group of guys to play. We are aware that Emelin would like to have a multi-year deal to stay with the Canadiens and a numerous amount of fans would also like to see Staubitz back with the CH next season. Keep your eyes open as we continue to push on through the offseason.

Thanks to PistolCameraTV on Youtube for the video. However, you can follow him on twitter, @Moondance_Kid. His name is Amir, he is a good friend of mine and most importantly – he loves the Canadiens!

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AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV
AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV

French forward Sacha Treille has been suspended five games at the IHHF World Hockey Championship for a vicious head shot on Roman Starchenko of Kazakhstan.

Starchenko was knocked out cold and a stretcher was brought on the ice, although the Kazak was helped off by teammates.

Treille earned a game misconduct and was given a match penalty, which came with an automatic one-game suspension, and was handed four more games today by the IIHF.  This will knock both players out of the tournament.

Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals will miss game 4 of the series against the Boston Bruins. He was served a match penalty for cross-checking Rich Peverley in the visor. This was obviously not something that needed to be done and Shanahan has classified it as reckless. Due to no injury on the play and Backstrom not having any prior history, one game seems like a fair deal (unless you keep watching Shea Weber’s WWE promo video, then maybe it isn’t that fair). The Capitals will be without one of their big guns in a series that they are currently down 2-1.

 

Backstrom’s Suspension Video 

Penguins James Neal has been suspended for only 1 game after having two hearings for his actions towards Couturier and Giroux of the Flyers. On the first hit, Couturier loses the puck, does not see the hit coming and Neal leaves his feet to make contact. Couturier left the game, looking out of it but did return to the bench later on. Right after that, Neal decides to charge Giroux, also jumping into it – resulting in him coming into contact with Giroux’s head/back area. Giroux looked quite woozy after this particular hit. In my opinion, Neal should have been kicked out after his hit on Couturier. The referees did not have control of this game from the get go and made a poor decision here. Now, I disagree with giving Neal only one game for TWO incidents. It’s practically like he is only getting half a game for each right? Yeah. Not acceptable.

Neal’s Suspension Video 

On to Arron Asham, he was suspended for 4 games for his cross-check to the face of Brayden Schenn and continuing further when Schenn is on the ice by punching him in the back of the head. Asham goes after Schenn due to him charging a Penguins defenseman. This is a suspension length that I do think is justified, however, where was this when Carkner went after Boyle and continued to punch him when he was down? Consistency still does not exist for similar actions. Yes, a cross-check to the face is way out of line, but Carkner tracked Boyle down just like Asham did to Schenn and went further when the player was down.

Asham’s Suspension Video 

First of all, the puck is gone and Hossa does not even see Torres coming. Torres definitely jumps and makes contact with Marian’s head. There is injury on the play as Hossa has to be taken off on a stretcher. For some reason Torres is still in the game, which he obviously should not be. Kerry Fraser said it should have been a charging major and game misconduct. Per Bob McKenzie, Torres has a record as well. Torres was suspended 4 games (2 regular season, 2 playoffs) for a head hit on EDM’s Jordan Eberle April 5, 2011. Torres was also suspended for 2 games for charging MIN’s Nate Prosser Dec. 31 2011. Two days earlier, he was fined $2500 for elbowing COL’s Jan Hejda. What is and what isn’t a penalty nowadays in this current NHL?

Thanks CBSEyeonhockey for the video

Chicago Blackhawks Andrew Shaw has been suspended for 3 games for charging goaltender Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes. I think that Shanahan got this call completely wrong, especially considering his decision on Milan Lucic and Ryan Miller in the regular season. Shanahan claims that Shaw did not try to avoid hitting Smith, I then ask the question, where did you want Shaw to go? Andrew Shaw tries to fit between Mike Smith and the boards, resulting in some contact with his shoulder to Smith’s head. Smith goes down, as anyone would, but he sells it. Now, in Shanahan’s explanation video, he claims that goalies are not fair game outside of the crease. In comparison to the Lucic/Miller incident, there is no way that Lucic did not have time to move out of the way completely or at least minimize the contact. In this particular case, Shaw did not have much room to do anything but hit Smith. The goaltender stayed in the game with no apparent injury. It seems to me that the quiet room does not exist anymore. Today, Smith was a game time decision until the suspension video was released. Shortly after, it was stated that Mike Smith will in fact start for the Coyotes tonight. Coincidence? Injuries play too much of a factor in suspensions. As Aaron Ward stated yesterday, the guy either did it or he didn’t. Will the NHL ever find some consistency? Doesn’t seem likely. I guess Shaw should have just taken Smith’s head into the glass because that only knocks you $2500. Anyways, back to you bush league.

Suspension Video

 

New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin has been suspended for three games for elbowing Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson during Game 2 of the teams’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in New York on Saturday, April 14, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 10:32 of the second period. Hagelin was assessed a major penalty for elbowing. Alfredsson suffered an injury as a result of the hit.

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=172651

When you first watch the hit, whether in this video or you were watching the game, it looked pretty bad didn’t it? Then if you look at the replay, it’s not as disgusting as it seemed at first glance. Shaw actually seems to try to avoid it and it was definitely not an intentional head shot. His helmet hits Smith’s mask unfortunately and Shaw gets the boot out of the game. If Smith was truly hurt on the play, like it appeared that he was for awhile there, then he should have left the game and had to be in the quiet room. Does that even exist anymore? I don’t think so. Anyway, after Smith’s performance, as many would like to call it, he continued to play in the game. Now if Shaw gets suspended for this, it just makes you think back to the Lucic and Miller incident, where Lucic definitely had time to get out of the way and was not suspended for his actions. I think if Shaw does get a game or more (which he shouldn’t get anything more than one), then it further proves that the NHL is as inconsistent as they come on calls. It’s becoming more and more pathetic as time goes on and a lot of fans are already sick of it. Over to you Shanny.

Thanks to Fred Murtz for the video

Why does Brent Burns even go for this? Blatant elbow. Could have checked him hard instead. People want fighting out of the game, people want head shots out of the game. I’d rather see fighting then these ridiculous high hits. Of course everyone knows the risks of fighting and that injuries can come out of them, just ask Montreal’s Ryan White after his fight against Florida’s Gudbranson. BUT, when you’re sticking up for your team, trying to get them into the game or helping police the match up because the refs are letting things go, then I think most people would rather see guys drop the gloves than let their elbows fly high. The league has a serious problem on their hands. Players do not seem to have respect for each other right now and referees are either making calls that are completely phantom or no calls at all when there should be. There have been some games so far in the first round of the playoffs where the refs have let the games get out of hand early and can’t do anything about it later on. This is turning the NHL into more of a bush league than it already has been for the last season and I’d say last year as well. We’re learning more about concussions, we’re seeing how many players are not playing because of them and yet players are still giving each other head shots. Tougher suspensions, tougher fines and just a better overall system needs to be worked out. $2500 maximum fine is a joke. Wake up NHL!

Thanks to Fred Murtz for the video

Now I am very aware of what Boyle did to Karlsson in game 1, however, what Carkner did here was pretty gutless. When a guy goes down to the ice, you do not continue to beat on him. We all know that Carkner was in the game for basically only reason anyway but he went too far. We know that Karlsson is a big part of the Senators team and one of the main reasons that they are in the playoffs in the first place. Regardless of what Boyle did to him, which obviously was no where near how far Carkner went, it shouldn’t of went like that. Rough Boyle up, send a message – but not in the completely over the top way. Carkner was ejected and so was Dubinsky for being the 3rd man in. Due to these events, it could be a very interesting game 3. In addition to this, there was the high elbow from Phillips on Callahan and the Hagelin hit on Alfie. Hagelin has a hearing, no word on if Phillips will (most likely not even though it was quite similar, just one player got injured and the other did not).

Thanks to hockeyfightsdotcom for the video


After a beautiful, clean hit by Vitale on Briere – a brawl forms. It has been annoying this season when it comes to clean hits as players decide to go after the hitter. The game has hitting, they are all professionals and should be able to take clean hits. Should only react if it is dirty and/or uncalled for.

Thanks to Fred Murtz on youtube