Hump-day Hater Report 5/27/09
Marty Havlat hates Niklas Kronwall
By now, weâ€™re all familiar with the hit Niklas Kronwall laid on Marty Havlat in game 3 of the Western Conference finals. But it doesnâ€™t seem like everyone agrees on the actions taken by the league and their in-game officials.
Kronwall was given a 5-minute major for interference (served by Jiri Hudler) and a game misconduct.
To remain objective, I strayed from Red Wings or Blackhawks-affiliated Web sites to see what people thought and, surprisingly, most sided with Kronwall. A lot of sources said that a 2-minute charging call wouldâ€™ve been sufficient and that interference and the misconduct werenâ€™t necessary.
Their main argument point was that Havlat was playing the puck and, though gliding, was in motion. As for the misconduct, they said it was Havlat who put his head down and didnâ€™t look where he was going. Others say that since Kronwall clearly left his feet, the game misconduct was appropriate.
Looking at those arguments, Iâ€™d have to agree with a 2-minute charge and a game misconduct.
Mike Babcock said of the hit that he would be â€œshockedâ€ if he league took any legal action. This is where I disagree. Kronwallâ€™s hit was definitely a charge and while it might not be suspension-worthy, it was certainly fine-worthy.
I have a tip for you, Niklas. If youâ€™re going to hit someone, hit them knee-to-kneeâ€¦no one calls it. In the Eastern Conference itâ€™s all the rage. Speaking of whichâ€¦
The League hates calling knee-to-knees
While I enjoy segueing into a new topic, the league is busy making up for their officiating, namely on knee-to-knee hits.
Letâ€™s hop in the time machine and go back a ways, shall we?â€¦
April 11, 1980: Gordie Howe plays his final gamâ€¦.wait, too farâ€¦
May 6, 2009 (ah, thatâ€™s better): Alex Ovechkin delivers an obvious knee-to-knee hit on Sergei Gonchar in game 3 of the Eastern Conference semis. The hit goes uncalled and legally ignored.
May 18, 2009: Matt Cooke hits knee-to-knee on Erik Cole. This hit, too, goes uncalled.
May 21, 2009: Craig Adams takes a knee-to-knee hit at center ice in game 2. You guessed it: it was ignored.
Do we see what happened here? Alex Ovechkin got away with one and the league knew it. Had Sidney Crosby not been playing in the same series, maybe Ovechkin wouldâ€™ve been suspended. But weâ€™ll leave that for speculation.
The hit on Adams wasnâ€™t called because the refs were making up for a knee-to-knee that wasnâ€™t called on Matt Cooke in game 1 because they were making up for a knee-to-knee that wasnâ€™t called on Alex Ovechkin in game 3 of the previous series.
(Iâ€™ll take a minute to let you re-read that)
Iâ€™m forced to use that as my only conclusion. How else could the NHL, which is very strict on these hits, let two more go uncalled after a potentially season-ending hit in the previous round?
Well, at least, if my hypothesis is correct, everyone is even now and all the knees should be backed up by a penalty.
Joel Quenneville hates referees
The Blackhawksâ€™ coach was a little critical of the officiating in game 4 of the Western Conference finals. A little too critical if you ask the league. Quenneville said of the refs that they â€œabsolutely destroyed everythingâ€ and they â€œruined the game.â€
For his comments, Quenneville gave aâ€¦letâ€™s say generous donation of $10,000 to the NHL foundation.
The Red Wings hate injuries
Detroit struggled without their stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk in game 4 of the Western Conferâ€¦oh waitâ€¦
The Blackhawks hate Red Wing injuries
Chicago struggled in game 4 of the Western Conference finals despite the lack of Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom and alternate captain Pavel Datsyuk.
Zetterberg and Hossa picked up the goal-scoring slack with two goals apiece. Brian Rafalski played Lidstromâ€™s role with 3 assists, and Filppula was also noticed with 1 goal and 2 assists.
Just how poorly did this game go for Chicago? Not one player for the Hawks had a plus rating. In fact, 11 players had a minus while the rest were lucky to break even. As for Detroit, they had no players in minus territory and the 7 players who finished above even were all +2. Needless to say, it was a long Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
Game 5 is in Detroitâ€™s Joe Louis Arena tonight. If the Blackhawks want to even dream of winning this game, they need to improve special teams. Of Detroitâ€™s 6 goals, 3 were on the power play and 1 was shorthanded.
I smell a rematch.
Iâ€™d hate to see Sports Illustrated be right
At the beginning of the season, SI predicted that the Penguins would lose to the Red Wings again in the Stanley Cup finals. Reading this in October, I though â€œPsh, what are the chances of those two even meeting again?â€
I shouldâ€™ve known better.
So it seems as though they picked the right match-up (barring a comeback from Chicago). But as for who emerges victorious, I think Iâ€™ll let the guys on the ice decide.
Darryl Sutter hates being modest
Sutter has just the man for the job vacancy in Calgary:
During a news conference yesterday, Sutter said of the position, â€œRight now, Iâ€™m the best (candidate).
“All the best coaches in the league are under contract. I think there are three guys (in that group) who are excellent. I won’t tell you who they are.
“And I’m fourth.”
Well Calgary, what more do you need? Darryl Sutter just gave you the right choice. Might as well cancel all those other interviews, then.
The Flames fired head coach Mike Keenan after their slow regular season finish and disappointing first round loss to Chicago.
Sidney Crosby hates superstition
When I first saw Crosby reach for the Prince of Wales Trophy, I screamed internally. When I saw Malkin and Gonchar touch it, I screamed externally. Then I realized that this team hasnâ€™t been riding superstition this whole time, itâ€™s been their own talent.
In fact, the touching of the trophy was superstitious in its own right. Sid shied from it last year and things didnâ€™t work out too well. Why not mix it up?
VERSUSâ€™ Bill Patrick, as well as our own Jesse Marshall (who actually pointed out this out first; kudos to you, Jesse), noted that Lemieux touched the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1991. If I recall correctly, they went on to win back-to-back Cups.
Cam Ward hates his glove
Two times this past series, Cam Ward and his glove have let down the Canes. In Pittsburgh, Wardâ€™s glove couldnâ€™t stop a hard shot from Ruslan Fedotenko. Last night, he couldnâ€™t stop the marshmallow redirected floater off of Max Talbotâ€™s stick.
However, I think this is a good story line for Cam Ward this series. He was the only star for the Hurricanes. Staal was silenced for only 1 goal, Cole wasnâ€™t explosive, nor were any of the names you heard in the last series with Boston. Cam Ward was tired from this Pittsburgh offense and it showed in that goal last night.
Well that does it for this edition of the Hump-day Hater Report. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I know I did.
Hereâ€™s to Lord Stanley