Anyone of a certain age is guilty of hearkening back to their younger days out loud, lamenting how sports today isn’t as good as it once was. For hockey fans, they have absolutely nothing to complain about with this year’s Stanley Cup action. We’ve seen animosity, drama, overtime games and even a lot of goals. Yes, goals. Up until this season, fans used to say that they don’t score like they used to in hockey, that every playoff game is a tale of two teams not wanting to lose, ending up in 1-o bore-fests. Well, have you seen the NHL playoff action this year? It’s been anything but. Goals are going in left and right. Some goaltenders are being chased from the net. Other netminders are giving up a bunch of goals and doing enough to hang on and win games.
In short, the expression Firewagon hockey certainly applies to this spring’s ice tilts.
2018 NHL Playoff Hockey
Hurricanes hiring evokes Thrashers memories
Huh? Say what? The Carolina Hurricanes recently reached out to the Montreal Canadiens organization, a team that has missed the playoffs two of the last three years, to poach Rick Dudley. The former player is now Senior VP of Hockey Operations for the Canes. I just don’t get this move. While Dudley is considered to be a strong hockey man, why go grab a guy who hasn’t won at an elite level in many years? It makes no sense. Why not give other minds a chance to become an executive? The answer is Don Waddell. The current Carolina President and Dudley worked together in Atlanta, building the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers into…well… not much. They made the playoffs once and were ousted quickly in their only postseason berth. The Thrashers eventually moved to Winnipeg, while Dudley went on to work for the Leafs and then the Canadiens. Recycling brand names in the talent evaluator game doesn’t work all that often. I doubt it’ll help a young Canes team to get over the hump.
Playoff suspensions continue
With the NHL suspending Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for three games, the league made a statement – we will not tolerate any dangerous hits, no matter the original intent. The only problem with this is that they’re far too worried about the injuries incurred to the player getting hit, and not about the actual hits and gestures themselves. Sometimes a borderline hit can result in catastrophic results in terms of an injury. But it doesn’t change the fact that a hit wasn’t 100% dirty. Accidents and injuries happen. All I hope is that the league doesn’t get too suspension trigger happy and over-punish hits that might not be as bad as the injured player shows them to be.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He’s also a contributor to ESPN 101.3 Plattsburgh/Burlington. Follow him @MatthewWords.