Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Some Things Overlooked When Discussing Pens/Islanders Fiasco

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

THAT

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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  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Comments

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well Tony… that is exactly why you have a blog and the rest of us penguin fans don’t.  Never could have said it any better than you just did.  When everyone in their lineup was healthy, they were looking like one of the teams to beat this year…. since the injuries, it has been a downward spiral in more ways that one.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/15/11 at 04:50 PM ET

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How about the elbow from 6’4 Godard on Jack Hillen?  How about Talbot taking a swipe with his stick at Koskinen, pior to Martin following him up the ice and challenging him to a fight, which Talbot was trying to ignore?  How about the Penguins running the Islanders into their own goalie, specifically Okposo, and shockingly the penalty was called on Okposo.

Speaking of sucker punchs.  Any complaints with the sucker punch Staal laid on Prust a few weeks ago?  Any suspension for Staal?  Nope!  The Islanders did what they had ot do.  That game brought the team together and sent a clear message to the Penguins that their dirty play will not be tolarated.  They also learned a lesson that you shouldn’t laugh at the other team after a fight (see Fleury after the DP, Johnson fight).

Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 04:50 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Wait, so you’re moving on but first you have to tell us readers that you want the last statement on this by putting together a carefully crafted list of conclusions you have drawn?

Ahhhh, I get it.  Pulling the old eat my wake on us so that we all are left to wallow in your comments knowing that anything we share with won’t make you bring your boat back around for yet another go on this (already dead) topic.

Clever, I’m with this Pittsburgh Slappy.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 02/15/11 at 04:55 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Damn, you figured me out Leo… wink

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 04:56 PM ET

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Speaking of sucker punchs.  Any complaints with the sucker punch Staal laid on Prust a few weeks ago?  Any suspension for Staal?  Nope!  The Islanders did what they had ot do.  That game brought the team together and sent a clear message to the Penguins that their dirty play will not be tolarated.  They also learned a lesson that you shouldn’t laugh at the other team after a fight (see Fleury after the DP, Johnson fight).

You are bringing up a situation that has no bearing at all on the Islander’s game, but since you brought it up, Staal was re-acting to an elbow that was thrown at his head by Prust while attempting to engage him for a run that Prust took at the back of Kennedy.
Also, the laughing was more to do with the fact that there was a goalie fight (the first since 2005).  No one had any idea (including you i am sure) that Rick D would be out for 1-2 months from 1 punch to the face.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/15/11 at 04:58 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

All good points.  I guess that most people haven’t really delved into the issue of the Islanders’ retribution plan being stupid or the Haley call-up as a premeditated action to cause some of this is because most people agree on these points and there’s not really need for much further discussion.  The Islanders were 100% in the wrong.

I do feel like the Penguins taunted the Isles in their last game, but retribution for that comes on the scoreboard, not on laying cheap shots.

Ultimately, I’d like to see somebody actually give me the numbers on who keeps starting fights in Penguins games, because all I’m hearing from Pens fans is that a majority of their league-leading fight numbers have been caused by other teams wanting to go with their guys because they’re losing.  It makes logical sense, but stats don’t always bear that out. 

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?

Not acting dirty in one instance where it would be expected does not make a clean team. 

Ultimately, yes - the Islanders should have been punished much more severely.  I kind of would have liked to have seen Garth Snow himself suspended for a week to cap off longer suspensions for the Martin and Gillies.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 04:59 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

The Islanders did what they had ot do.

They were up 6-0.  They had to run Eric Tangradi of all people into the boards with an elbow and taunt an injured player? They didn’t HAVE to do any of that.  That is the problem.

Martin following him up the ice and challenging him to a fight, which Talbot was trying to ignore?

Down by more than 3 with an injury depleted lineup.  Would not be smart of Talbot to be engaging in a fight where he could be hurt and handicap the team even more.  No worries though, Martin almost took care of that for him with that punch.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/15/11 at 04:59 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 02:56 PM ET

Ha.  You know I’m only being semi-serious, I appreciate and respect the position you’re in as a writer/blogger.

Few things get to me more than someone who is in a position to dictate discourse that ends the engagement of a topic by introducing a bunch of interesting observations that are (obviously) one sided and tellseverybody to close the books on it.

All that aside, you’re getting my vote in the P-burgh poll.  Good luck!

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 02/15/11 at 05:05 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 02:50 PM ET

Sigh.

The difference is that all the types of things you list are the types of things that happen in almost every hockey game. It’s a fast, physical game. On the other hand, everything the Isles did last weekend was premeditated. That’s clear as a sunny day if you look at the numerous quotes and actions from people all over the NYI organization.

Re: Talbot’s hit on Comeau—I do appreciate you posting the video you did, because to this point, I had only seen the replay from the far angle the NHL Network was using a week or two ago that made it look like a flying elbow into Comeau, so you set me straight on that.

Tony, I agree with pretty much every word of your post. Only (very small) point I want to make is on Talbot’s hit. While it is clean to the letter of the law, so to speak, I think that’s the type of hit that should be included as banned under rule 48. It may not directly target the head, and it may not have hit the head, but you said it well with this quote:

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.

It was still a blind-side hit, and thus it was really tough for Comeau to defend himself or brace himself. Had he been able to, he’s probably able to push back and prevent the whiplash of his neck.

But to be clear, I’m just sharing my opinion that this type of hit should also be banned. Fact is, it isn’t banned, so Talbot didn’t deserve any suspension for it. And frankly, even if Talbot’s hit had been an elbow to the head, the reaction of the Isles as an entire organization was embarrassing in so many ways… too many to list, and as you said, it has all been hashed over a lot anyways. So just let me say that before the trolls show up and reply to me based on my avatar instead of my actual comment.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/15/11 at 05:09 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Valid points Nathan….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 05:12 PM ET

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Good job.

I agree on Tangradi, he was on a mission to stay in Pittsburgh for good. He looked angry. He laid two enormous checks below the goal line on the forecheck - I suppose that’s why Gillies expressed himself the way he did.

As far as the fighting majors, the Penguins square up and fight fair fights. If you want to mention Crosby and Valabik, all the Penguins fights this season have been man-to-man, face-to-face.

Also, on Haley’s first shift Johnson covered the puck and an Islander player skated past the crease and Michalek held his arm out to direct him away from the goalie. Haley came at him in that fighting posture where a guy has decided to fight and he’s gliding toward his target with his arms at his sides, ready to drop the gloves. A scrum ensued, and seconds later Haley somehow came out with no gloves or helmet, that was his frist penalty.

His second shift Adams hit a defenseman as he passed the puck, and Haley postured up the same way again, and came from across the ice to fight Adams, the puck was deep in the Penguins zone by then.

Then he also beat up Talbot, and as the linesman made sure Talbot didn’t instigate anything else (apparently), he immediately looked for Johnson. Johnson was at the top of the circles, but Haley was going there no matter what.

Haley should have gotten something, and at the least there should have been a reason explained for the $100 000 fine. Like probably pre-meditation by everyone involved.

Posted by NathanBC on 02/15/11 at 05:17 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I do feel like the Penguins taunted the Isles in their last game, but retribution for that comes on the scoreboard, not on laying cheap shots.

Absolutely. And if some of the players like Haley, Martin, or Konopka felt like they wanted to “make a statement” with some physical play, Godard was in the lineup, Engelland was in the lineup…

I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong if the Isles went into the game with the plan of, “Hey, let’s play physical and hit these guys, and let’s get our guys like Haley and Konopka out there to challenge guys like Godard and Engelland, and show them we didn’t like the Talbot hit/laughing on the bench/whatever.” It’s totally fair to do that, and challenge guys to fight face-to-face. It’s totally wrong to sucker punch people and to come all the way across the ice to throw a flying, two-handed, gloved punch into their head.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/15/11 at 05:17 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/15/11 at 03:17 PM ET

Through all of this mess and the numerous posts about it, that was the most sensible thing anyone has said.  Well done.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/15/11 at 05:26 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

The Islanders did go over the line.  They went over and back and over it again with some of the stuff. 

That said, I think the Islanders were just fed up.  They were like Popeye they stood all they could stand and they couldn’t stands no more.  The Penguins just happened to be the right team at the right time.  This wasn’t just about what happened on the Feb. 2 game, but more of what the Islanders, as an organization, have been suffering through all year, if not the last couple of years.  I think the team and organization hit a boiling up and the Penguins just happened to be the sacrificial fowl.

The Islanders are a joke of a team.  They get no respect.  There players seem to get severly injured all of the time.  The players the claim off waivers (Nabakov) refuse to report.  No one shows up to their games.  They feel slighted by the league. 

Then, on Feb. 2 they face the mighty Penguins.  Comeau gets concussed on a clean hit.  DiPeitro gets his face shattered by Johnson in that fight, giving DiPietro his 185th injury of his career.  And then you have all the Penguins yucking it up and laughing on the bench afterwards.  Obviously, they didn’t know how bad DiPietro was hurt at the time (though the moment I saw it happened I thought to myself, “I’m surprised his face didn’t just shatter into a million pieces.”).  So, two more key players go down, one being their franchise guy, for the 185th time.

You have all of those factors and then a “re match” with the Penguins in 10 days at home.  You had all of the combustible elements.  Was calling a up a tough guy pre-meditation?  Sure, I’ll accept that.  But it isn’t like Garth Snow came up with this.  Assuming there is a roster spot open, teams call up AHL tough guys all of the time if they think they are going to play a physical opponent (such as, for example, the team with the most fighting majors in the NHL).  This is nothing new at all and does not mean that a coach/GM intends to have his players go batshit insane and spark multiple line brawls.  It’s definitely not fine worthy.

The Penguins, as a whole, aren’t dirty.  As for why didn’t anyone clothesline John Tavares after his slash to the foot of Kris Letang at the end of the first period?  Well, probably because the dirtiest player in the league, who also happens to play for Pittsburgh, was currently serving a suspension for being, well, dirty.

So, I am not sure if all of your “observations” really hold up all that well.  They make many assumptions, not all of which are true, especially from an Islander or more neutral perspective.


As a fan of neither team, at the end of the day, I found the game to be wildly entertaining.  It’s not something I would ever want to see be a “normal” occurence in the NHL, but I think a little madness like this injects some life into the league from time to time.  You can’t have this kind of thing going on all the time and it doesn’t. You don’t want the NHL to become a bloodsport. But if something like this flares up occassionally, well, that happens. I thought the fines and suspensions were pretty reasonable. Martin could have received a few more games and maybe Halley a game or two.

That March 26, 1997 game between the Wings/Aves isn’t generally considered the best NHL regular season game of all time just because it was a 6-5 OT thriller and between two of the best teams in the league at the time…

As for people worrying about “the game”.  What happened on Friday night doesn’t hurt the NHL.

There are no people out there who saw what happened on Friday night and said “Oh! How uncouth! How barbaric! I was going to purchase some tickets to the Coyotes/Panthers game next week, but if this is what the NHL is all about, I am done! I want skill! I want speed! This 1970’s goonery is too much! I shall not be purchasing these tickets. Good day, Mr. Bettman!”

There are no “new” or “old” hockey fans who love the sport only for the goals, the speed, the skill, the thrill of the Olympics, but are absolutely mortified and horrified by violence, such that one whiff of it and they are turned off from the game forever.  I have never met such a fan, just like I have never met an elf, gremlin or an eskimo.

Posted by Ajax19 on 02/15/11 at 05:39 PM ET

Tony's avatar

So, I am not sure if all of your “observations” really hold up all that well.  They make many assumptions, not all of which are true, especially from an Islander or more neutral perspective.

Please, by all means, expound on that…. I’m interested in hearing which ones you disagree with….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 05:43 PM ET

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Penguins Fans: Talbot hit on Comeau = clean
Rest of the viewers: Talbot hit on Comeau = late blindside hit

No he didn’t make contact to the head, that doesn’t eliminate the that as qualifying for a blindside hit and one that was late at that. Let’s not act like Cooke hasn’t taken runs at the Islanders goalies cause he has. Haley did what he should have and got what he deserved, no suspension. Gillies went overboard and was a dirty play that I dont condone, but I still wouldn’t say that he is a dirty player, not as a first time offender; and lets not confuse an enforcer with a dirty player because the two aren’t always synonymous. And as far as Letang goes, he deserved it. Tavares didn’t slash him that hard he just happened to connect in a perfect spot, which was a reaction from the second shove into the boards where he went head first (the first one was clean), which wasn’t that forceful but was followed by what was a clearly intentional falling onto the back of Tavares with the elbow strategically leading the way. The Islanders aren’t innocent here, but dont be naive neither are the penguins.

And FYI TONY a concussion is: A mild to severe brain injury often caused by a blow to the head OR a sudden, violent motion that causes the brain to bump up against the skull. Contact to the head isn’t a requirement.

Posted by Hockey2219 on 02/15/11 at 05:44 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

It’s totally wrong to sucker punch people and to come all the way across the ice to throw a flying, two-handed, gloved punch into their head.

Agreed.

I was unable to keep up with NHL happenings over the weekend, and didn’t know anything about this. Come Monday I find all the boards being blown-up over this whole Islander/Penguin thing. I remained quiet on the topic because I didn’t know enough to comment. So, when I got the chance, I viewed some of the videos/clips concerning the matter and came to the conclusion that this whole incident has been blown way out of proportion. There were two teams that were not going to back down to the other which resulted in the ensuing melee regardless of score. And actually, considering the score they were both guilty of not being the “bigger man” and skating away. The only real exception is the two Islander players that seem to have lost their minds, and they are really lucky that nothing permanently injurious resulted that they would spend their lives living in regret over.  Additionally, I don’t fault the Penguin player for coming off the bench to the defense of his goalie; I should hope every team in the NHL has players that selfless.

It seems to me the NHL reacted appropriately to the correct perpetrators. This is turning into a good rivalry; I look forward to round three.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 02/15/11 at 05:45 PM ET

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Hey Nathan,
A couple of things that have been overlooked.  After the Talbot hit on Comeau, Comeau did get up and challenge Talbot to a fight.  I think alot of what happened on the Island could have been avoided if Talbot had agreed to fight.  That’s where the code comes in.  Talbot should have done the right thing and fought Comeau.  I don’t know if you had a chance to watch the whole game, or just the highlights, but it was a chippy game from both teams.  As I mentioned, Godard threw an elbow at Hillen (it was reported that he may have had a concussion from the hit).  Prior to Martin grabbing Talbot (if you look he grabbed him) Talbot took a swipe at Koskinen with his stick and Martin followed him up the ice challenging him.  There’s no question in my mind that the Islanders wanted Talbot, but what should you do when a player cheap shots your player, then refuses to fight. 

I think the biggest issue that stuck with the Islanders (and as a fan pissed me off) was the Penguins laughing after the Brent Johnson elbow to DP’s face.  The Penguins were not only laughing, but the were also giving each other high fives and it had nothing to do with a goalie fight, it had to do with Johnson beating up DP.  That was the most classless act I’ve ever seen and if you had checked out the Penguins boards, you would have seen the disrespect towards the Islanders after that.  It was probably the lowest I’ve felt about the Islanders in all the years I followed them.  It was to be blunt, humiliating.  It’s one thing to win a fight against a player, it’s another thing to laugh about it.  I assume you’re a Red Wings fan?  I’m sure if that happened to the WIngs you would have been livid.

There are those that may still say I’m wrong about the Penguins laughing and the reason for it. . I disagee, and that in itself tells you that depending on which side you are, it can easliy be interpreted at a show of disrespect to the Islanders.

Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 05:45 PM ET

Tony's avatar

And FYI TONY a concussion is: A mild to severe brain injury often caused by a blow to the head OR a sudden, violent motion that causes the brain to bump up against the skull. Contact to the head isn’t a requirement.

Posted by Hockey2219 on 02/15/11 at 03:44 PM ET

Yup, thanks for sharing….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 05:47 PM ET

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Great Job. I can’t believe how stupid the Islanders were being up 6-0 and risking further injury when they are without 7 regulars in the lineup and already close to 400 man games lost to injury.  What the hell were they trying to prove, they could have easily settled this on a hockey play by driving to the net hard if they didn’t like what Johnson did? Okposo did it in the third, why didn’t he just do that sooner instead?

Can you please post the Tavares slash on Letang as well. The play that starts in the corner at the end of the first period where Letang drives Tavares into the boards, then tries to drop on his head, then Tavares gets up and gives him a vicious two hander. Then Letang attempts to get even, but misses. These types of plays have to be stopped before stuff escalates in the second when the game is out of hand.

I think you forgot to mention Haley was going to the box and should have been suspended too.  Johnson was busy challenging Koskinen, based on the radio feed on XM, from the blueline and had no intention of fighting Haley. The Penguins have certainly been willing to fight face-to-face as long as they are deciding who it is they are facing and that’s just smart hockey.  Why risk injury ? I’m sure it is why Johnson started this game and not Fleury.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/15/11 at 05:47 PM ET

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I think for anyone to have a real perspective on the game, they need to look again at the Penguins laughing at the Islanders after the previous game, and then I think you should look at the whole game where the mayhem broke out.  The Penguins played just as chippy and took alot of runs at Islanders.  Do it with the sound turned down so you’re not swayed by the announcers.  The Pittsburgh announcer practically had a stroke (you would think he would be used to it, watching Matt Cooke play all the time).

Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 05:50 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Please, by all means, expound on that…. I’m interested in hearing which ones you disagree with….

Just read my post again.  They are all there.

Posted by Ajax19 on 02/15/11 at 05:55 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

It was to be blunt, humiliating

Humiliating is taking solace in the fact that this was a “statement game” and brought the team together by jumping players from behind while the game was already out of reach.  6-0.  Again.  Finish your checks and get it over with.  Square up, if a guy won’t go he won’t go. 

If that is the kind of the game the Islanders need to jumpstart or feel good about themselves then you should feel humiliated to be a fan of that organization.  They were once a proud franchise, to go to something like this is just plain sad.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/15/11 at 05:57 PM ET

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The Penguins have been one of the dirtiest teams in the league and they’ve been getting away with their tactics for way too long now.  The Islanders online sites lite up after that game, and alot of the comments came from fans of other teams thanking the Islanders for what they did.  It was truly a proud moment to be an Islander fan, and from the responses I’ve read from Penguin fans, it was one of their lowest moments!!!
To paraphrase Tom Hanks, “there’s not whining in hockey!”.

Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 06:17 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

lThe ignorance is amazing.

The Islanders online sites lite up after that game, and alot of the comments came from fans of other teams thanking the Islanders for what they did

What you can be thankful for is that Haley got to Johnson first or he would have knocked out another revolving door goalie on the island. 

It’s not hard to see why Nabokov didn’t want to be associated with this organization.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/15/11 at 06:28 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

- 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?
-Tony

That’s probably a bad example since the Tavares slash was immediate retaliation for the terrible hit from behind Letang had just layed on him. That might be a summary of the whole situation though.  Premeditated acts of vengeful thuggery don’t happen that often and, if they do, the league throws the book at them.  Dangerous hits from behind, two handed slashes, knees and the players most responsible for them seem to slide by the view of the league far too often.  The Islander’s were 100% in the wrong, but it’s the other kind of dirty play that hockey fans feel the league needs to improve on.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 02/15/11 at 06:29 PM ET

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The Islanders GM is just a back-up goaltender. Doesn’t he know that he could have just as soon told his players to finished their checks and put guys into the boards?  The Islanders easily just have cross checked Talbot into the corner and that would just have been hard edged hockey, but no he gets fined 100k when it could have been nothing. That’s the way you demonstrate that you are a stand-up team and not by challenging a guy that won’t fight. Sucker punches have to end and the NHL did a great job when they set the precedent and ejected Eager and gave him four games. They did not waiver even once from their stance that you get four games for sucker punching a player and Martin was just the next example.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/15/11 at 06:39 PM ET

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Woah woah woah, I missed this the first time:

I think the biggest issue that stuck with the Islanders (and as a fan pissed me off) was the Penguins laughing after the Brent Johnson elbow to DP’s face.”
Posted by RogerNYLA on 02/15/11 at 03:45 PM ET

Posted by NathanBC on 02/15/11 at 06:48 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong if the Isles went into the game with the plan of, “Hey, let’s play physical and hit these guys, and let’s get our guys like Haley and Konopka out there to challenge guys like Godard and Engelland, and show them we didn’t like the Talbot hit/laughing on the bench/whatever.” It’s totally fair to do that, and challenge guys to fight face-to-face. It’s totally wrong to sucker punch people and to come all the way across the ice to throw a flying, two-handed, gloved punch into their head.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/15/11 at 03:17 PM ET

Exactly!

Penguins laughing after the Brent Johnson elbow to DP’s face.

WHAT?!  You might want to watch what happened to glass-jaw Ricky again.  Fist, meet face.  Elbow…are you f*cking kidding me?  Any kind of credibility you might’ve had is gone, now.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 02/15/11 at 07:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

the NHL did a great job when they set the precedent and ejected Eager and gave him four games. They did not waiver even once from their stance that you get four games for sucker punching a player and Martin was just the next example.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/15/11 at 04:39 PM ET

Not to pick a whole new fight, but Jordan Staal didn’t get four games when he sucker-punched Brandon Prust and that was a fairly similar incident.

Yes, I know Prust threw an elbow, that doesn’t change the fact that Staal threw a sucker punch.

Milan Lucic didn’t get four games when he gave a bare-handed sucker punch to the back of a guy’s head while the refs were holding him either.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 07:14 PM ET

chuckinrlp's avatar

Rogernyla,
You’ve got it all wrong! The most classless act is Gillies hitting Tangradi from behind with his elbow, and when he is laying on the ice defenseless, Gillies is attacking him throwing punches like there was no tomorrow. What made it even more classless, is Gillies asking Tangradi to fight when Gillies is standing on the runway to the locker room as Tangradi is led off with the help of a trainer. That really is a vision of class, that is. What makes it worse, is the people who don’t know hockey will see that video and make their own decisions on whether to become a fan or not.

Classless=Gillies and the entire NYI organization.

Posted by chuckinrlp on 02/15/11 at 07:14 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Not to pick a whole new fight, but Jordan Staal didn’t get four games when he sucker-punched Brandon Prust and that was a fairly similar incident.

Yes, I know Prust threw an elbow, that doesn’t change the fact that Staal threw a sucker punch.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 05:14 PM ET

That was an Academy Award-winning dive by Prust… Staal didn’t even throw a hook, it was barely a jab, and with his glove on !!

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/15/11 at 07:33 PM ET

Avatar

Not to pick a whole new fight, but Jordan Staal didn’t get four games when he sucker-punched Brandon Prust and that was a fairly similar incident.

I can’t believe that the NHL would let that happen, I’m going to agree with Tony. A gloved shot to the face isn’t a sucker punch, I’m sure Staal didn’t even hit him as hard as Martin hit Talbot because Talbot was going down even before Martin made contact. So I think it is apples to oranges.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/15/11 at 07:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So Ben Eager gets four games because either he’s stronger than Jordan Staal or Colby Armstrong’s face is weaker than Brandon Prust’s?

A sucker punch is a sucker punch is a sucker punch.

Sorry, that got too off-topic in the comparison; back to the point.

What Martin did was worst than both Eager and Staal (or Lucic, or any of the other sucker punches thrown this season) - he should have gotten more than four games.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 07:48 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

In a post whistle scrum, Stall’s punch would have been a roughing minor.  It’s not the same as backing a guy into a corner and punching him in the face repeatedly (Eager)

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 02/15/11 at 08:05 PM ET

Avatar

I applaud everyone here for the most part.  I expected more crap in the comments section, but it’s nice to see a civilized discussion going on. 

JJ, I agree with you.  I think, regardless of the Prust dive job, Staal probably should have gotten a game.  I said that from the beginning, but it has more to do with Colin Campbell and his inconsistencies, again. 

Tony, great post.  The only thing that I wished you would have highlighted and didn’t was the fact the the Islanders have yet to show one ounce of regret from the whole situation.  You have Konopka saying there should be sympathy for Gilles because he has kids and a wife and he’s going to be out $50k.  Garth Snow basically said he was proud for his team to stand up for themselves and then takes a swipe at the Pens by saying at least the Islanders could keep their players on the bench. 

RogerNYLA, you have brought up the Godard hit on Hillen in numerous threads.  Honestly, I was so enraged from the game I don’t even remember it.  Do you have a video you can share?

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/15/11 at 08:10 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The only thing that I wished you would have highlighted and didn’t was the fact the the Islanders have yet to show one ounce of regret from the whole situation.

That is an excellent point.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 08:35 PM ET

Avatar

What Martin did was far worse than Gillies and Gilliess got 9 games! Prust was a dive not at all like Talbot dropping quickly so he wouldn’t be attacked.  Gillies got nine games for elbowing somebody in the head, that’s way over the line, but at least its a hockey play.  What caused the NHL to decide that elbowing someone in the head merits nine games? I think it wasmore the taunting and laughing at Tangredi more than anything that got the longer suspension. What kind of idiot laughs at an opponent when you know they are hurt. The guy is classless.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/15/11 at 08:38 PM ET

Thag's avatar

I just watched it for the third time.  So much good stuff.  I hope it’s on iTunes soon.

Suck it Pittsburgh

Posted by Thag from DC on 02/15/11 at 08:41 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Thag on 02/15/11 at 06:41 PM ET

You’re an idiot.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/15/11 at 08:55 PM ET

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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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