Friday, May 01, 2009

Wings 1, Thugs 0

And so it begins ...

So here is a guy who was averaging almost 5 PIM a game for Vancouver (you'd think Crawford was still coaching there). Anaheim acquires him, and surprisingly he drops to "only" 2ish a game. I'm sure Carlyle had a talk with him ...

After picking up a mere three minors in six games against San Jose, he nearly triples that on a single cheap shot to Jiri Hudler's head. The only question was whether the stick was involved, or if it was simply a straight elbow.

To the referees' credit, Brown was summarily ejected: major plus misconduct, which IIRC means an automatic review. He'll probably get a one-game suspension. (It's his third misconduct of the season, but the other two were fighting-related, one for instigation.)

He should get a 20-game suspension. Guys like Brown and teams like Anaheim are the main reason why the NHL is what it is today. Instead of prattling about how it's the instigator rule that is mysteriously causing all this, the NHL needs to sit with the NHLPA (which needs to remember it represents the injured as well as the thugs) and put an end to this behavior.

You would have thought that the McSorley and Bertuzzi incidents would have been enough, but no. Apparently the NHL is waiting for a player to be carted off in a coffin. That sounds like hyperbole, and I really hope it is, but if they do not make the penalty for intentional blows to the head severe enough to stop the behavior, it's going to happen.

Teams like Anaheim, Philadelphia, and Calgary have been doing this for years, and Bettman hasn't seen fit to address it. (Obviously it wasn't going to change with Brian Burke in charge of "discipline". Toronto was 16th in PIM this season. I wouldn't be surprised if they were in the top 5 in 09-10.) We saw what happened the last time his hand was forced ... or maybe we didn't because we can't find Vs.

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