A traditional recap this will not be.
There’s only one point of discussion from this game and it came two minutes into the second period. When Brent Seabrook checked Corey Perry behind the net with a big hit, little did we all know we were about to bear witness to one of the cheapest, filthiest, dirtiest hits we’d ever witness.
When the puck came back around to Seabrook, he shoveled it along the boards and what happened next will not soon be forgotten in these parts.
James Wisniewski took a full run from the blue line, led with his elbows up high, and for good measure, left his feet with a bullseye on Seabrook’s cranium. Seabrook crumpled to the ground as though he just been chopped down by enemy machine gun fire. Duncan Keith looked at his dead partner laying on the ice and skated towards Wisniewski. Refusing to even answer questions, Wisniewski dropped his stick and gloves even though Keith still had both hands on his stick.
The real kicker came when the referees only gave Wisniewski two minutes for charging and a five minute major for fighting. Duncan Keith got two minutes for somehow being an instigator and also five minutes.
It was at this exact moment that the game could’ve gone one of two ways. With blood in the water and the referees clearly allowing the chippy play, the Hawks could’ve easily have started to take liberties with the Ducks and targeted some of their players. Much like the St. Louis Blues did to the Hawks back in January.
Or the Hawks could have largely ignored the humongous slight by the officials and tried to focus on winning what was a meaningless regular season game.
It seemed after Wisniewski came out of the box, the Ducks kept waiting for a response from the Hawks. And they waited and waited and waited. You would have to think (and I desperately hope this is the case) the order to not retaliate came from above, meaning Joel Quenneville. That’s the only way I’ll find any solace in what was a very disheartening response from the Hawks.
And if that’s the case, then the age-old enforcer argument gets thrown right out the window. What good would a Derek Boogaard do if his coach doesn’t want him to retaliate in any way, shape, or form?
While I’m sure a couple people here will still try and bring up the same arguments about the enforcer, I’m going to ponder this question: With the Hawks not responding to the no-call on Wisniewski, they bottled up their frustration from the refs, the opposition, and their situation. Then with less than six minutes to play in regulation, does Andrew Ladd still go ape-shit after Brent Sopel gets tatooed from behind by Bobby Ryan which, in turn, caused the subsequent fire-drill in front of the net and led to the game-winning goal?
The Hawks let their annoyed feelings linger and instead of getting all the bad blood out in the second period, they let it drag on until it bit them in the ass at the most critical juncture. By that time, it was already too late.
As for the NHL’s response to the hit, Bobby and I have a bet. I’m saying the spineless league office will give Wisniewski less than five games and my partner says over it. We shall see.
Since we’re on the topic of the most inept league office in all of sports, let’s dive right into the topic of the evening, headshots. This has been all the rage for the past few months and why shouldn’t it be? You have players losing years of their life at the expense of their fellow players. Here’s what gets missed in this crazy debate.
Say the league office comes up with these great rules. Any head shot is considered to be a 5 minute major for roughing, boarding, whatever and a game misconduct. That’s great and all, but who’s exactly going to enforce said rules? The same official who missed a blatant head shot six feet in front of him tonight? The only way James Wisniewski could have made it more obvious that he was aiming for Seabrook’s head would’ve been if he took a baseball swing at his melon.
It’s nice to think of all these fancy rules but if your officials are too inept or spineless to make the correct call on the ice, what difference does it all make in the end. Big deal; Wisniewski gets suspended. His actions went unaccounted for in the game that mattered and now the Hawks will be without their second best defenseman for an extended period because of it.
Thanks a lot.