Sens Bounce Lightning In Rubber Match

That was a close one, well, as close as a 4-2 OT victory can get, I guess.

For the most part, the Sens won that game because they’re the better team.  Nobody in particular looked great, but nobody in particular looked bad either.

One area of concern was the neutral zone.  I felt the Sens allowed far too many easy outlets get through the neutral zone, and far too often the Bolts gained the offensive blueline with both speed, and unimpeded possession.  But, this is a departure from past games, so I’d chalk it up to the lay-off.

As for the Neil hit.  It was absolutely predatory, and as such, I believe should be made a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, IMO.

No doubt Neil could have taken some off of that hit, but, ultimately, it was Nitty who hung Hedman out to dry.  By stopping that puck behind the net, then returning to the blue paint, Hedman was forced to play the puck, and Neil was given a clear path to land the hit.

Neil did not target the head, but he knew Hedman was vulnerable, and he took advantage.

I can’t change my tune, just to suit my fan preferences.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Neil should be suspended, or that he’s a dirty player, just that, a hit like that should be considered unsportsmanlike, and merits a 2 min penalty.



5 Responses to “Sens Bounce Lightning In Rubber Match”

  1. Sens4Life Says:

    Absolutely incorrect. Clean hockey hit. There is no such thing as a predatory hit unless it’s from behind. If there was, every hit would be predatory. It was an amazing hit and if it were to happen to a sens player I’d be pissed because of my fan preference, not because of the stupid question of whether it was a clean, dirty, or predatory hit. yours is a questionable opinion.

  2. Both Hedman and Tochett said the hit was clean and “just one of those things that happen in the NHL.” The fact that Bob McKenzie also said the hit was just fine lends weight to the fact that sometimes things that look ugly aren’t really.
    I’m one of those that thinks the NHL needs strict head shot rules and the people against them are just dinosaurs who don’t realize how fast the game is now. I think it’s possible for league reviewers to make decent determinations whether the player’s head was targeted or not and err on the side of safety.
    It would also be helpful if all the people around the league commenting on these hits could just use the same terminology. To me, “Hitting to Hurt” means bruising and pain. “Hitting to Injure” means trying to make a player miss games and threatening his career (see Pronger v. McAmmond, 2007.)
    Let’s keep “Hitting to Hurt” and severely punish “Hitting to Injure” enough to make it almost disappear. I think the players and officials (on and off ice) can make the distinction clearly enough. Bodychecking is a skill just like skating, passing, stick-handling and shooting. Players like Chris Neil and Anton Volchenkov are excellent examples of players with this skill. Many others are not.

    P.S.: They also need to soften the elbow and shoulder pads a bit…they don’t need to be so dangerous to protect the wearers.

  3. No doubt this is a touchy subject, and I have no problem withthose who disagree with me on this, in fact, in many ways, I agree with them. I guess, when it comes right down to it, I just can’t accept that a player who knows an opponant is particularly vulnerable (as was Hedman) not only doesn’t take a bit off the check, but sees it as an opportunity, beyond seperating the player from the puck.
    Now, in terms of predatory hits, that one was borderline, but, it is these sorts of hits I would have to accept receiving penalty calls if I expected to get to the real bad hits as well. That would be the “price” to be paid.
    Nobody could ever convince me Neil didn’t know he had Hedman lined up, and nobody could ever convince me he didn’t hit him as hard as he could, within the current rules. Even Neil himself said he didn’t think Hedman knew he was coming…doesn’t that say something?
    Sens4Life, I see your point, and like I said, I’m even sympathetic to it.
    Sacul, I agree 100% with your take, “hitting to injure” it is from now on.

  4. Sens4Life Says:

    I guess that does say something, it makes me wonder what were to happen if the player he hit wasn’t “8 feet tall”, and instead like 5’10 or 6.. hmm.

  5. SenSay…I can totally see where you’re coming from. I suppose it’s that “respect” thing we keep hearing about. Do players really want to “do their jobs” but then prevent their opponents from being able to ever have one?
    I don’t like this “blame the victim” silliness where they say a player deserved to get injured (usually concussed) because he didn’t have his head up. If a player wants to take the risk of skating up ice with his head down, that’s his business. He’s usually trying to make an exciting play.
    I think the risk should be of a crushing body check that will separate him from the puck and leave bruises on his body and ego. I don’t think skating with your head down should ever mean a player gets injured and has to risk his career or miss playing time.
    My take on this is don’t blame the victim…if the checker hits the puck carrier in the head then he didn’t do his job right. If the check was properly thrown and the puck carrier still gets injured, then it’s just an unfortunate circumstance.

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