Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Open Letter to the NHL

Dear NHL,

I would like to preface my comments by pointing out I am a Chicago Blackhawks fan, and have been all my life.

Something needs to be done about your game. Something major, and definitive.

Players are taking way too many liberties with each other, and showing their fellow competitors, and in turn, the game, zero respect.

How is Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke still playing games after his blind-side, to the head hit on Boston Bruin Marc Savard? Cooke went headhunting, and got Savard. Savard still hasn't returned, and that hit was 11 days ago.

I saw the justice handed down to the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin, after his from-behind hit on Chicago's Brian Campbell, and felt that was just about right. Even though Campbell will be out for nearly 2 months, that seemed to be fitting a suspension. There was no intent to injure, it was just an unfortunate thing.

You also have the takedown of Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby (pssst, he's one of your better players in the NHL), by Tampa Bay Lightning lunch-pailer Steve Downie. Downie won't win any NHL scoring titles anytime soon, nor will he drive ticket sales. That Crosby guy does. No suspension, and a $1,000 fine for Downie after he nearly blew out the right knee of the marketing focal point for the game. If you are wondering, yes, Crosby is the guy that scored the game winning goal for Canada in the Vancouver Olympics.

Then I see what took place in Anaheim Wednesday night, as the Ducks' James Wisniewski skated 50 feet to run Chicago's Brent Seabrook into the boards. Seabrook didn't have the puck, nor had he even touched it. An elbow to Seabrook's jaw, and the call on the ice from referees Ian Walsh and Paul Devorski was a 2 minute charging penalty. The referees got some of the call correct (which I can't believe I am saying given Devorski's involvement). They couldn't have really done more there, since the Blackhawks came in to defend their teammate. Still, Wisniewski's hit on Seabrook was retaliation for a perceived high hit on Anaheim's Corey Perry. Seabrook's hit on Perry wasn't high, as Perry was actually bending over, and Seabrook never raised his arms to make contact.

Bottom line, you need to step in and take command of this, and let the players know that if you want to settle scores, do it the old fashioned way. Drop your gloves, and square off. Not only is delivering a cheap-shot cowardly, it's also going to get somebody killed.

Oh, and getting someone killed would be a bad thing for your game.

Mike Solarte

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