by Tony on 02/15/11 at 05:38 PM ET
Let’s put aside the dozens of articles that have been written since the debacle on Long Island last Friday night. Everybody’s got an opinion on the matter, whether you’re talking about the Islanders’ tactics, the individual acts of their players or the residual effects, such as the NHL’s and/or Mario Lemieux’ respective responses.
That dead horse has certainly been beaten. Personally, I’m moving on.
But before I do, allow me this one article to mention some topics relating to that game that either have been overlooked (maybe conveniently so), or simply ignored. Whether they were purposely ignored is anyone’s guess, but let’s take a look at some other things that occurred Friday night that didn’t quite make the headlines.
- In my view, I think it’s important to take a hard look at what precipitated Friday’s melee, that being their previous game in Pittsburgh on Feb. 2nd. Specifically, what was the cause for the Islanders to react the way they did.
1. Max Talbot lays a 100% perfectly clean shoulder check on Blake Comeau. Unfortunately, the check resulted in a concussion for Comeau. Moreover, that hit should show you the inexact science dealing with brain injuries, because I don’t believe Comeau’s head ever was struck by Talbot nor the ice.
2. With 16 seconds remaining in the game, Matt Cooke takes an obvious stick up high from Rick DiPietro, which prompted Brent Johnson to defend him. The one punch from Johnson resulted in facial fractures for DiPietro, who’ll be out another month or so.
- This is my primary point of contention with the entire Islanders’ “gameplan” leading to last Friday’s rematch. What was their rationale for exacting revenge? A completely clean shoulder check? A knockout of your goaltender, by the other goaltender no less, which was entirely prompted by his own cheap shot?
- Prior to the rematch, Islanders’ GM (and former Penguins goalie) Garth Snow calls up center Michael Haley from the AHL. Whatever you do, please spare everyone the horsecrap that Haley was called up for his offensive skill, with all of his six goals in the AHL (although he did in fact score in Friday’s game). All it took was a few seconds after he dropped the gloves with, and quickly pummeled, Craig Adams to see his value to that particular game. That kid can fight. And for as well as Johnson did in his one-punch fight vs. DiPietro, I didn’t like his odds when I saw Haley skated towards him. I give Eric Godard props for recognizing that also. Yes, it got him an automatic 10-game suspension, but Johnson could have very well have landed on the IR like DiPietro did had Haley been allowed to go after Johnson. Snow’s callup of Haley was a
blatant, pre-meditated move
by Snow to assist in roughing up the Penguins after their game in Pittsburgh. For that, Snow should have been heavily fined himself, and the Islanders fined a whole helluva lot move than the drop-in-the-bucket 100 grand.
- I also wanted to mention that before being on the receiving end of a flying elbow from the Islanders’ Trevor Gillies, I thought Eric Tangradi had played his best game in a Penguin uniform. He was finally playing the clean, physical game that he’s going to need to continue in order to stick on the roster in the coming years.
- A lot has been made of the Penguins leading the league in penalty minutes and fighting majors. Allow me to throw this possibility into the equation. Until the rash of injuries felled most of the Penguins top players, the Pens were close to the top of the league in points, if not at the very top. So obviously, they were winning most of those games. Their opposition gets down a goal or two, and someone wants to drop the gloves, which most times the Penguins obliged. I’m being completely honest in saying that the vast majority of cases in which players dropped the gloves that the Penguins would have been the ones to initiate the action, it just wouldn’t have made sense. In addition, most of those total penalty minutes have been foolish minor penalties, which really gives credence to their top-ranked penalty kill. So much for the argument that the Penguins get all of the calls.
- By the way, speaking of retribution, if the Penguins are supposedly so dirty, why didn’t anyone clothesline John Tavares after his slash to the foot of Kris Letang at the end of the first period? Especially after the Islanders built their big lead?
- Thank goodness that Max Talbot saw Matt Martin coming at him from the corner of his eye. Hey, look at it this way, if he didn’t see him, maybe
would have gotten Martin more than that four-game suspension.
- And finally, Penguins fans should now focus on the most important issue, that being the Penguins have lost four of their last five games.
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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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