Punishment came down from the league offices today for Niklas Hjalmarsson’s dangerous check on Jason Pominville. His sentence was two games. If you’re really shook up about it, think of it as one game for Hjalmarsson and another game for Marian Hossa’s similar check to Dan Hamhuis in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals which went unpunished because it was the playoffs.
To be honest, I’m so tired of diagramming these checks to the point of exhaustion. Everyone has their own opinion on what they saw and no one is ever wrong. The biggest reason for that is because Colin Campbell and his Wheel of Justice. Hopefully, the league office is finally taking a stand on the types of plays that result in players getting carried off in stretchers.
My favorite excuse for why Hjalmarsson didn’t deserve a suspension is ‘This was a clean check 30 years ago. It should be one today.’ As if we’re supposed to ignore the evolution of the game.
Sure, maybe 30 years ago the check Hjalmarsson put on Pominville was common place. But players also weren’t nearly as strong or moved with as much force as they do now. If players are going to be cut like body builders and skate like the wind, the cause and effect of a play like yesterday’s is going to be much different than it was 30 years ago.
It’s time the players are held accountable for the result of their actions, intent be damned. If this is the first step in doing so, then consider it a job well done. If not, well, then continue the mayhem.
If fans are really looking for something to debate, then they should be asking why Tim Connolly didn’t receive even a 2 minute penalty for jumping Hjalmarsson’s bones like an overzealous teenager. Connolly dropped his gloves and unloaded on Hjalmarsson as he turtled. Then everyone else piled on. Not even coincidental penalties for two other guys. Now there’s something to get hot and bothered about.
Besides, it’s games 4 and 5 of the regular season. I hardly see a reason these debates have to rival Lincoln vs. Douglass.
*On the Farm*
–The IceHogs took a beating in Peoria on Tuesday night 6-2. Jeremy Morin tied the game at 1 on the power play halfway through the first period with assists from Brian Connelly and Ivan Vishnevskiy. That was as close as the game would be. The Rivermen scored three goals to open the second period. By the time Shawn Lalonde scored at the end of the period, the outcome was never in doubt. Morin and Brandon Pirri assisted with that goal.
Hannu Toivonen didn’t last two periods with 10 saves on 14 shots. Alec Richards didn’t fare any better with 8 saves on 10 shots.