Sunday, April 1, 2012

When Cooler Heads Don't Prevail

Just as the Pittsburgh Penguins were gaining more respect from us here at Seasons in the Sun, today they took a major step backwards.  With 1:03 left in the 3rd period of a 6-3, the Penguins sent out their 4th line against the Flyers 1st line.  If you do not watch hockey that much, the 4th line on a team is the lowest line usually made up of high energy guys and enforcers.  One of the Pittsburgh Penguins, I believe it was Eric Tangradi hit Daniel Briere high.  We can debate whether or not it was a clean hit until the end of time, but it was high enough to start a line brawl.

First off, Dan Bylsma needs to take some responsibility for sending out his 4th line with only a minute left to go in the game.  There is no reason that there should be any questionable hits in the final minute of the game.  You know when you send your 4th line out there, what could happen.  Furthermore, if you hit one of the stars on the other team, you know you are going to get something started.  I think this was just cowardly by the Penguins.  They know the Flyers' track record, and you know that they will defend their star players.

As the fight was going on the ice, because all the players had pretty much paired off, you could see Dan Bylsma and Peter Laviolette, the Flyers coach, yelling at each other.  They were actually standing on the boards pointing fingers at each other.  Peter Laviolette was thrown out of the game, and the game was finished off by one of his assistant coaches.  I am sure that the NHL will not smile on the conduct by either coaching staff, because they are the ones that are supposed to have a cooler heads.

Here is a summary of the penalties:

  • 18:57 - Philly - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - B. Schenn 
  • 18:57 - Philly - fighting - 5 min - W. Simmonds 
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - fighting - 5 min - D. Engelland 
  • 18:57 - Philly - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - P. Kubina 
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - A. Asham 
  • 18:57 - Philly - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - M. Bourdon 
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - C. Adams 
  • 18:57 - Philly - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - D. Briere 
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - J. Vitale 
  • 18:57 - Philly - roughing - 2 min - B. Schenn 
  • 18:57 - Philly - misconduct - 10 min - Z. Rinaldo 
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - misconduct - 10 min - A. Asham
  • 18:57 - Philly - delay of game - 2 min - Bench served by J. Voracek
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - delay of game - 2 min - Bench served by P. Martin
  • 18:57 - Pittsburgh - unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min - M. Niskanen

There were 15 penalties that they handed out in the line brawl that followed the Briere hit at center ice.  The penalties added up to 52 minutes of penalty time.  Once they decide who started the fight, that player will get an automatic one game suspension for starting a fight in the last 5 minutes of a game.  I am sure that there will be other suspensions for this.  I am sure that both coaches will be fined for their involvement and their responsibility in this line brawl.

Somehow when this was all said and done, the Flyers were given an extra penalty.  So, the Penguins went on the power play.  That was a little hard to understand but whatever, the Flyers were going to protect their star player Daniel Briere regardless of the time in the game.  The Penguins will claim that they were just getting revenge for Schenn's hit on Crosby.  That's all in well but face it, Crosby is soft, and he has a track record of being a diver (someone that just flops alot).  Arron Asham tried to fight Schenn during the chaos on the ice, before they could be separated.

Arron Asham is one of the goons on the Pittsburgh roster, and he has a track record of dirty hits and starting fights.  This was the perfect time for him to try to get back at Schenn or anyone on the Flyers for that matter.  As I have said before this whole situation could have been avoided if the Penguins had not sent out their 4th line.  The game could have been finished without incident.  I am sure that the Penguins fans will have a different view of this, but watching this objectively, this is how I saw it.

There was a lot of trash talking going on back and forth between the two benches.  At one point, the camera showed Scott Hartnell, a Flyers player, mocking a fan that was dressed up like Hulk Hogan.  This is what makes hockey great, good passion out there, spicing up the rivalry.

The Flyers and the Penguins are 5th and 4th, respectively in the Eastern Conference.  With only a couple of games left this means that they might be playing each other in the first round of the NHL playoffs.  Due to being in 4th place, the Penguins, would have the home ice advantage.  This might not be a huge advantage for the Penguins over the Flyers considering they are 5-0 since the Penguins new building opened.  They might want to check the keystone to make sure there is not a Flyers' jersey in the Pittsburgh building.

So this is far from over, the two teams actually have one more meeting, next Saturday, before the season is over.  That should be another very intense game and I am sure there will be some chippy play in that one.  A Flyers player Kimmo Timenon could be seen saying, "See you next Saturday," to some of the Penguins players.  It should be a good one, I am hoping for many fights in that one.

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