Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/08/11 at 12:50 PM ET
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
... the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins went out and threw 57 documented body checks in their season-opening game.
Among the 57 hits, none put a player in hospital. None resulted in a trip to the so-called quiet room for a concussion evaluation. There were no incidents subject to supplementary discipline. The only remotely questionable plays were elbowing penalties to Penguin centre Evgeni Malkin and Canuck winger Jannik Hansen.
Even notorious cheap-shot artist Mart Cooke behaved himself, hitting Canucks from the front and not in the back. Cooke also scored twice in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 shootout victory.
“I think everyone is a little more cautious, for sure,” noted Canuck defenceman Keith Ballard. “There were a lot of opportunities where you saw guys just maybe slow up a little bit. As everyone gets more comfortable with what’s legal and what’s not, maybe that changes. But, yeah, I do think the crackdown is in the backs of everyone’s mind.”
By the nature of their position, defencemen have been the most vulnerable, especially on plays where they are forced to turn their backs on incoming forecheckers to retrieve dumped-in pucks. Ballard said he didn’t necessarily feel any safer, nor did he let his guard down, against the Penguins.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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