May 23, 2009
What is hockey anyhow?!
As a long time Detroit Red Wings fan, the last several NHL seasons have been a highlight for me in spite of some family happenings that have been a lot for anyone to have to deal with. I praise God for His faithfulness in sustaining me as I continue this life's journey which will culminate in my presence in His glory for eternity!
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
The matter which has prompted my desire to vent my frustrations (i.e. "rant", if you will) concerns last night's Western Conference Finals game 3 between Detroit and Chicago. Down 2-0 in the 1st period, Niklas Kronwall, defenseman for the Wings, delivered a hit to the Blackhawks' Martin Havlat that resulted in a five minute interference call and a game misconduct to Kronwall. Havlat was knocked-out cold for a minute or more, left the ice and did not return. It is unfortunate that he got his bell wrung and he may or may not be able to play in the next game, (nor possibly the remainder of the playoffs) but as is said in this sport, "Keep your head up!". Hockey is a fast, hard hitting, strength and endurance, team game. The rules allow play to involve lots of contact and aggression to possess the puck and score as many goals as possible while preventing the opponent from scoring fewer if any. It is often referred to as a collision sport! (You can find all the details on most sport/hockey web sites so I won't be redundant nor try to claim any journalistic abilities to write this, therefore I'll try to be brief.)
My frustration is this: having watched A LOT of hockey and thinking I have a pretty good understanding of the rules, it is MIND BOGGLING to try and understand why the NHL officiating is so inconsistent!!!
Here's a screenshot of the moment of impact:
The captions may be a bit hard to read so I'll list them from the top-down:
"Shoulder -- NOT elbow" (a legal hit)
"Kronwall's elbow -- NOT hitting head" (elbow-to-head is considered 'dirty' and not legit)
"Distance between Havlat and puck: approx. 1.5 inches -- NOT interference" (it is correct to check the player who is with the puck)
"Both skates on ice at impact" (NOT leaving the ice to enhance the hit, which is also 'dirty')
This was a good, clean, hockey play! It is neither interference nor deserving of a misconduct penalty!
Many other plays during the playoffs this year (not to mention previous years AND regular seasons) have been more severe yet with lesser penalties called, if any at all!
1st Question: IF the play had been exactly the same EXCEPT that Havlet got up and skated away, would there have been a basis to call Kronwall for any penalties?
2nd Question: AND would there in fact have been any penalties called on that basis?
It will be known before game 4 Sunday if the league hands-out any further discipline (i.e a fine and/or suspension) but for now, the fact that the play was handled as it was just makes he ANGRY!!!
There. I feel better. Sorta. I'll be reading and hearing and seeing more on this in the hours and days to come. I can only hope this doesn't cause the wings, the best overall organization, top-down, to ever have been assembled in the history of the National Hockey League and ALL of professional hockey AND all of professional sports to date, to be ROBBED of a legitimate opportunity to claim their 12th Stanley Cup Championship!
LET'S GO RED WINGS!!!
We need 6 more wins to have number 12!
Here's a link to a popular hockey fans' blog with more: http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/hockey/comments/kronwall_hit_on_havlat/
Also, check-out A2Y. While I don't approve of all the language used, there is lots of fun Red Wings' fan support: http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/A2Y/
If the Kronwall hit is to be considered interference then there are 50 interference calls not being made in every game in the NHL.
I think back a couple of weeks ago when Jiri Hudler was ambushed on a play at center ice. He had passed the puck ahead and had been rid of it for at least a second. In his case the puck was already fifty feet away and on the stick of another player. He had no reason to fear being smacked and yet was clearly hit in the head. That play correctly resulted in a 5 minute interference call and a game misconduct, but the league looked at the play and determined it not worthy of a suspension.
I think the Kronwall penalty was a bad penalty but I can also see that officials make mistakes (though the league will never admit it) on the ice in a fast game. Let us see what the NHL does to Kronwall while we refer to what happened in the Hudler situation.
Will this be simply one bad call on the ice or will it be a statement by the league that Detroit is too good and needs to be handicapped?
There will be no other way to justify a suspension.
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