Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can the Bruins do it Again?

The Boston Bruins have the opportunity to tie the Stanley Cup finals at two games a piece tonight in what will be a pivotal game 4. Teams that have trailed 3-1 in a playoff series have come back to win only 20 times in 229 chances (8.7%), according to nhl.com. Boston is already behind the eight-ball after losing the first two games. Down 0-2 in a playoff series, teams have come back 37 times in 291 chances (12.7%). One of those 37 times, however, was Boston earlier this year when they lost the first two games to Montreal. At home. Can the Bruins do it again? If they do, the Stanley Cup will make its way back to Boston for the first time since 1972.

Adding to the drama are the two controversial actions by the Vancouver Canucks. In game one, there was the infamous "bitegate" where new Dean of Discipline Brendan Shanahan decided not to suspend biter Alex Burrows of Vancouver due to "inconclusive evidence." Apparently, an eye exam is not mandatory for the Dean of Discipline position at the NHL. However, Shanahan must have had some divine intervention because he was able to see that the bang-bang play where Aaron Rome sent Nathan Horton to the hospital with a severe concussion was excessively late and unsportsmanlike enough to warrant a four-game suspension. What warranted this change of heart? Was it because someone went to the hospital? Was it because a star player was hurt? Was it because Aaron Rome isn't a star player?

Boston fans may have some vindication with Aaron Rome being out, but it still seems like the NHL has taken the easy road again instead of making difficult decisions. Instead of suspending players for actions that have never had any place in hockey (Burrows bite), the NHL suspended a player who did perform an illegal late hit, but was penalized the way other players have in the past without any further repercussions. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that the NHL is cracking down on blind side hits to the head, but follow the precedence that YOU set. If Nathan Horton did not go to the hospital, I'm convinced that Rome would not be suspended any additional games. Yes, this hit was illegal, but it was not malicious nor premeditated. I'm also sure that Aaron Rome's lame apology where he never says that what he did was wrong helped his cause. I just hope that this Stanley Cup final's legacy will be the phenomenal play and not the controversial incidents.

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