February 7, 2011

Head Shots and Headaches

Where do I even begin? First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I stand behind the NHL's (better late than never) crack-down on head shots. Randy Jones' hit on Bergeron resulted in one of the scariest injuries I've ever witnessed in a sporting event. It took Bergeron an entire season (and then some) to regain his skill. Then last year was the hit on Savard by Matt Cooke. Fast foward to this season, and Savard has his second concussion courtesy of former Bruin Matt Hunwick. Now Savvy is dunzo for the remainder of the season and postseason. Last week in a game against the Dallas Stars, B's foward Daniel Paille delivered an illegal hit on Ray Sawada. I was at the game and couldn't make my own decision on how dirty the hit was until I went home and watched the replays. It was a bad hit. Do I think it was intentional? No. But it could have been avoided. The NHL needs to be consistent; I understand that. However, being that it was Paille's first offense of that nature, I think a FOUR game suspension was a little dramatic. (Sean Avery receieved a 6-game suspension by the League for his distasteful-- yet hilarious, comments about an ex-girlfriend) Paille has since contacted Sawada and apologized, which was definitely the right move. I think Paille did what he needed to do; and I'm pretty sure the 4-game suspension was more than enough punishment and he feels bad enough. Right? Wrong. Enter, Andrew Ference.

Let me preface thisi by saying, Ference has been known to cause rifts in the dressing room in the past due to NHLPA-related issues and I ignored it, because quite frankly, those type of shenanigans bore me. But following the game against the Stars, Ference was very quick to talk to the media and he sort of threw Paille under the bus. He explains how he can't be a hypocrite and how sensitive the Bruins are to head shots. I understand that, and it makes sense. But Ference should have waited to comment to the media until he spoke to Paille first. I think team chemistry is extremely important- especially during this stretch of games at the midway point of the season.

As Don Cherry stated, “I don’t care if your teammate is an ax murderer. What you’ve got to say to the guy, you tell him in the dressing room. You tell him that was a dirty hit. You never go to the press".

And to be honest, I think this DID cause a problem in the locker room. In their last game, they came out flat, couldn't clear their own zone, they were sloppy in the neutral zone and most importantly couldn't even connect on passes. Ference should have kept his mouth shut on the matter- or at the very least spoken to Paille first, then explained to the press his feelings. There was no need to throw a teammate under the bus, full well knowing a suspension was going to come anyway.

I hope Wednesday's game against the Habs can help the B's find their chemistry again.

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