There are some hits that are blatantly illegal and dirty, but then there are some that walk a strange, vague line. Even the angriest Montreal Canadiens fan should be willing to give Zdeno Chara this much: it was an incredibly unfortunate moment that did indeed expose a design flaw in a handful of NHL arenas.
Benefit of the doubt aside, the league’s handling of the situation wasn’t exactly a boon for public relations. It’s a real shame that hockey only tends to make mainstream news when something bad happens rather than when Alex Ovechkin scores an amazing goal, but for the most part, that’s the sad truth.
So it’s in this climate that we’ve seen Max Pacioretty’s head hit that stanchion over and over again, like the latest puck-related version of the Zapruder film. While the PHT staff seemed unanimously in favor of some kind of suspension for Chara, it only seemed right to take the temperature of everyday hockey fans. With that in mind, we asked how the NHL should have handled the situation. Check out the poll results below.
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The best way to break down the results is into two categories: pro-suspension and anti-suspension. The biggest winner was a significant suspension (seven games or more) with about 33.5 percent. Overall, about 71.5 percent of readers thought Chara deserved some kind of suspension.
That being said, it’s not like the NHL’s decision was without its supporters. More than a thousand (1,116) of the 4,577 people who voted said that the league made the right call.
So the consensus is that Chara deserved a suspension, with most wanting a pretty hefty one. Still, with that many votes – the most of any poll in PHT’s year of existence – it’s clear that the hit is subject of serious debate.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer