The NHL gets it (mostly) right


by Alex Young

The Philadelphia Flyers are riding high having taken the first three games from the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first round playoff series. However, the biggest question following Sunday’s heated game between the teams wasn’t whether or not the Flyers would sweep the Pens, but what the fates would be for Penguins players James Neal and Aaron Asham.

Neal was ejected from the game after he charged Claude Giroux, getting a full head of steam before hitting Giroux in the back of the head. Asham, was also ejected for crossing checking Brayden Schenn and then punching him in the back of the head when he went to the ice. After hearings for both players were completed, Brendan Shanahan the senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations announced that they would serve one and four game suspensions respectively (Videos of Shanahan’s explanation for the suspensions can be found here for Neal and for Asham)

There was really no doubt that Asham would be suspended, he’s a borderline goon. The only question was for how long. Neal, on the other hand, was a different story. Neal is a star for the Penguins. He scored 40 goals this season and two in the game prior to his ejection. While it’s good to see that Neal has to sit at least one game, he deserved much more.

When you grow up in Philadelphia as a Flyers fan, you can’t escape stories of the Broad Street Bullies. They are the one team that this city might identify with the most. They were tough. They were good. But let’s face it… they were more than a little dirty. The truth is, however, the Flyers have not been that in a long time. Tough? For sure. Good? At times, even great. They still get a bad rap from their Bullies days, and maybe a little bit of unfair treatment, but it would be a stretch to call any recent Flyers team dirty. These Penguins are a completely different story.

To many, these Penguins have been the poster boys of post-lockout hockey. They turned some bad years into  good drafts and great players. For all their greatness, they have turned into one of the cheapest and sneakily dirty teams I can remember. On Sunday, frustrated by being down in the game and the series, their dirtiness turned pretty blatant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: