- E and Abby better be ready to drop 'em.
Hell, in just the last week or so, we've see two obviously illegal hits on the Best Defenseman in Hockey. David Legwand took a late, high hit on Captain Norris early in the Preds game. Matt Niskanen, away from the puck, shoved The Perfect Human in the numbers, sending him head first into the boards. (Luckily for the league, the shitclowns from Versus were calling the game, so all they had to say about it was how far Lids bounced off the "active boards" at JLA). If there's one player in the league that you don't hit like that - it's Lidstrom. Yet, we've seen two different opponents do just that very recently.
And that's not counting all the other bullshit that's occurred throughout these recent games. Maxime "Rapes Babies" Talbot, punching Draper in the face while he was in a vulnerable position and unable to defend himself not once but mother fucking twice, anyone? Kennedy's stick just so happening to swing up and butt-end Abdelkader in the face in a post-whistle scrum? Homer's back receiving more blows than Bill Clinton with a duffel bag full of benjamins in a Tijuana titty bar?
I'm not usually a complete mouthbreathing goon, chanting for fights at every single game. I'm all about showcasing the skills on ice and I totally get Babcock's aversion to sending his guys to the box for 5 minutes rather than taking a blow or two and going all Belle Tire over everyone's asses. But this just happens to be the exact reason why the phrase "there's a time and a place" was invented.
When it comes right down to it, there's a reason why Hockey is the only major team sport that allows its players to step aside and exchange blows to the face. It's a fast-paced, hard-checking game with action all over the ice and a relatively small staff of officials in charge of enforcing the rules of the game. Sometimes, a bit of enforcement needs to fall into the hands of the players themselves. When teams take liberties and the officials dole out the appropriate punishments, its appropriate to send a message. A five fingered message that you aren't going to just lie there and take it like an escort in Jiri Hudler's hotel room.
During the Leafs game on Saturday, I was thoroughly elated that Abby chose to drop the gloves and show Darryl Boyce it's not OK to take a run at one of our veteran defensemen with your knee out, away from the puck. It was a marginal play that didn't draw a penalty, so Abby did what scrappy guys should do: fuck shit up. The fight may have been a draw, but the message was there.
- We may take less fighting majors than any other team in the league, but that doesn't mean your half-assed cellar-dwelling "team" full of goons and AHL fourth-liners gets to take liberties just because you're trying to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, a feat that should be easier than making Phil Kessel cry.
- Because it's the first time I've seen that happen by a skater in the Winged Wheel in far too damn long.
Hell, in the case of Niskanen, what the hell was holding those shitbirds back? This was the same guy that got his ass kicked by Sidney Fucking Rosby. Jiri Hudler should have been able to jump him and beat him to a pulp with one hand still duct taped to a Chechen brothel's bedpost.
Rather, we got a whole lotta nothing. Rather than sending the message of "look, we'd much rather beat you with skills, but if we have to, we're totally ok with beating you with a nasty forearm shiver," we decided to send the message of "eh, what the fuck ever. We're in the playoffs. We'll care tomorrow." All that tends to do is encourage douchey play. And, as it certainly recently seems to be the case, if the refs aren't going to do their damn jobs and blow whistles when whistles should be blown - then you can't send that kind of encouragement.
So what the fuck does this have to do with tonight? Well, much more so than Toronto, more so than Nashville, and I'll even argue more so than the Pens, the Bandwagon are rivals. While we in Hockeytown haven't really given a shit about the mismanaged dipshits down 94 in about two decades, we've been beating up on them pretty hard through that time. To wit, they're really not big fans of us. That's likely to up the scrap factor in tonights game.
Further adding fuel to the fire? Chicago is in 8th right now. A meager two points out of 10th. The Flash in the Pans are teetering on the edge of falling into post-season oblivion. After playing in 3 consecutive Cup Finals, Marian Hossa is about to be forced to spend his time caddying for Tomas Kopecky. Rather than having commentators and newsfolk alike excuse and chuckle at the youthful jubilance of a should-be-felon chugging cheap beer and publicly making a fucking ass of himself, we'll simply have to let Patrick Kane's alcoholism be between him, his lawyer, the guy he pays to bribe victims to drop charges, and God. Marty Turco is on the edge of not playing another game of hockey this year, or missing the playoffs and not playing another game of hockey this year.And what will be the deciding factor?
- Well, one could argue the 6 points up for grabs in matches against their dominant, dynastic, rivals from Detroit would make a pretty big difference.
So, Abby... E... time to make like the Hansen brothers.
- Foil up, bitches.