Hockey is in the hands of cavemen. It’s not just the NHL, last night in the LHJMQ, Connor Garland took two dirty hits, of the type he’s had to withstand all season. One of them was a neck-high crosscheck shove into the boards, the other a blatant late hit that came a couple of seconds after the puck had ticked off his stick blade, he’d never possessed it.
On the latter, his helmet came off his head, and that’s his fault, he should wear one that fits and is snug and do up his chinstrap, it shouldn’t shake off like that, in the name of comfort or whatever.
But later, the coach of les Tigres Bruce Richardson tried to blame Connor Garland, saying he’s cocky and was taunting their bench.
I’ve always hated that, how Wayne Gretzky was called a whiner, and Sidney Crosby is blamed for his chippiness, which makes him fair game. The sport is awful at identifying which players are the meal tickets, pay the freight, and tilting the game in their favour, instead of plodders and fourth-liners.
Connor Garland is a really small player, listed at 5’8″ and 160 lbs, and if a behemoth wants to paste him for whatever transgressions he has committed, that’s fine, but in both cases, these players took free shots, completely outside the rules, but will barely have to suffer any consequences. Matthieu Ayotte will have to sit out two games for his crosscheck into the boards, but the other player, who clearly targeted the star of the other team to try to injure him, get him out of the series, he skates without any penalty.
That’s how we get to the point where Duncan Keith can take an axe swing with his stick at an opponent’s face, and we grandstand and huff and puff, but the discussion is centered on whether the suspension should go beyond five games, into the playoffs. We should be talking 20-40 games as the minimum, and go from there.