Wednesday, March 10, 2010
While I was away last weekend working the Bobcats games, the Rangers dropped 2 games in a row. One to Washington by a score of 2-0 and the other a 2-1 OT loss at home against the Buffalo Sabres. So, heading into “The Rock” for the cross-river battle with the Devils, I was thinking… “Okay, if the Rangers could create some scoring, they have a good chance at winning” (Wins would be good at this point of the year, wouldn’t they?). So what happens? The Rangers come up with a dud of a game defensively. It was quite simply: horrible.
No backchecking, giveaways, too many odd man rushes, and absolutely no support for Henrik Lundqvist. Oh, did I mention the score? 6-3 final in favor of the Devils. You know, that offensive juggernaut of an NHL team. I’m not going to go over every goal and really, why should I? It’s simple. When you play sloppy on the defensive side of your game, you deserve to get pummeled on the scoreboard. The games are dwindling down for the Rangers and wins are what they need. The next 4 games will tell the story of this years squad. It’s sink or swim time!
Now, I really want to discuss the “hot topic” of the NHL at this moment: head hunting and blindside hits. The GMs and NHL brass are in conference as we speak and they have come up with a half-assed rule that will be in the NHL’s upcoming 2010-11 season. Well, let me be the first to tell you… I’m sick of all the crybabies who scream out about every hit in the NHL. Yes, some hits are dirty and cheap. The problem is the monster that was created by all of the NHLs rule changes. Has anyone asked why so many hits like this have occurred? All one has to do is think back to the post-lockout thirst to open up the game. They eliminated obstruction (hooking, holding, interference). At the same time there was chatter for ending fighting, so the instigator rules were to be enforced more. So what did all these rule changes provide the NHL... High scoring hockey? Nope. Numerous 50 goal scorers? Nope. What it did is provide the NHL with a problem. A lack of respect amongst its players. That is why you have all the questions and crying about hits (that are for the most part legal). The NHL will not let the players police their own when these situations occur.
First, if a player reacts to what one feels is a dirty hit or play, it will cost that player a truck load of money in fines/suspensions. Secondly, this is where the lack of player respect comes in… If you know no retaliation is coming, what fear do you have as a player? None! Lastly, the players have a responsibility to understand that this is a physical game played at a high speed. It doesn’t give you the right to admire your pass or shot for too long- or you will get destroyed. It’s as simple as that! A message to the players: Keep your head up! You must know your opponent and who is capable of taking your head off. The last part is the most important to me. If you are not aware of who’s on the ice when you are on, then shame on you! Hockey is not just about skill. Hitting is and always will be part of the game… I hope.
Well, I’ll be in Troy, NY this weekend where the Quinnipiac Bobcats will take on the Union Watchmen in a ECAC quarter-final round (best of 3). My man Bill Schweizer and myself will do the radio broadcast at 7:00 PM on AM 1220 WQUN. If you get a chance, listen in! Friday and Saturday for sure.. And maybe Sunday for a potential Game 3. Over and out!
Bobcats Radio Link: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x981.xml