Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/28/13 at 05:34 PM ET
from Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel of the New York Times,
The number of physical fouls that N.H.L. officials and the league did not punish during the regular season may provide a clue to how closely they will uphold the rules in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
One notable example was the leaping hit from behind by Rangers forward Rick Nash on Florida’s Tomas Kopecky in March that even the N.H.L. acknowledged should have drawn a penalty. The league declined to suspend Nash, saying he did not aim for Kopecky’s head, but its explanation overlooked Nash’s charging into Kopecky.
During last year’s playoffs, the tone was seemingly set on opening night, when Nashville’s Shea Weber punched, then horse-collared Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg as the game ended, twice ramming his head into the glass. Weber received a two-minute roughing penalty from the referees and a $2,500 fine from the league. He probably deserved a major penalty and a suspension, which would have sent a message that such behavior would not be tolerated.
Instead, other first-round series featured sucker punches, maulings, ambushes and head shots galore. The Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series, in particular, turned into one long brawl.
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