The NHL playoffs are always a time when players take the intensity level up a notch. However, the biggest hits and the majority of the suspensions typically don’t take place in the first round. What can be made of all the hard hitting and unsportsmanlike play so far in the playoffs?
Toni Lydman Will Be Sore For Awhile
In Game 3 of the series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks, Ducks defenseman Toni Lymdan was the recipient of a vicious hit from Justin Adbelkader of the Red Wings. The result of that hit was a two game suspension for the winger and an uncertain future for Lydman. Although Abdelkader was trying to get his team to play with some energy in a pivotal game in the series, his antics backfired. The Ducks would score just 18 seconds into the ensuing power play and get a 4-0 victory in that game.
Why Did It Happen?
In this case, the Detroit Red Wings are struggling to stay competitive as they get older. They are a desperate team that doesn’t have a lot of depth anymore. Therefore, they need to play with intensity if they hope to compete. As the series moves forward, it will be interesting to see if it changes the complexion of the series.
Eric Gryba Levels Lars Eller With An Elbow
Although it could have been a lot worse for Eller, Eric Gryba of the Ottawa Senators was still suspended for two games for knocking Lars Eller of the Montreal Candiens out of Game 1 of their series. This is one of those plays that you see a lot of during the playoffs because everyone is playing uptight and clogging the middle of the ice. As the announcer admitted, Eller should have never received the pass that forced him to put his head down just before he got it.
Why Is It Such A Big Story?
Mostly, it is a big story because Gryba used his elbow to hit a player with his head down. Otherwise, it would have been a clean hit on a player trying to defend his ground. It looks like that hit hasn’t changed the series too much as Gryba is now finished with his suspension and eligible to play again.
The Fans Are Getting Into The Act
The rough play and extra intensity spills over to the fans as well. As most people know, the Boston Marathon was the setting for a terrorist attack that killed two people and injured dozens more. As a result, Boston Strong has become a slogan and rallying cry for the city of Boston. However, before Toronto’s first home playoff game since 2003, a Toronto fan held a sign that read Toronto Stronger on it. The reaction to the sign has been mixed.
Why Would A Fan Do That?
Although it is probably in bad taste, it is doubtful that the fan was trying to do anything more than rile up the Boston players. While people have the right to be offended, it is most likely a case of someone making a bad pun or thinking he was clever using a play on words. It certainly doesn’t represent Toronto or their fans in the least.
If this is what the first round of the playoffs have to offer, there is going to be a lot more drama as the games get more serious. Fans can expect a lot of great stories, drama and more big hits as the NHL marches closer to awarding one team with the Stanley Cup.