It’s a beautiful morning in Nashville after a night of treacherous storms. The clouds have lifted and the warm sun reminds me that every day is a new day. As I sit in my office, sun beaming through the windows, I finally have the strength to express my emotions from yesterday’s 5-4 Chicago victory over Nashville. If ever there was a game where emotional swings covered the spectrum, this game had it all. Unfortunately, the emotion that carried over at the end of the game left me paralyzed, crushed, depressed, and with enough anger to fuel a war.
Welcome to the NHL Playoffs where there is more emotion then all MLB, NFL, and NBA games combined. I am biased in my emotions, but would challenge any sports fan to suggest a basketball, football, or baseball game carries the back and forth excitement that exists in every hockey game. And this is just the first round of the playoffs. Six weeks from now, fans from two teams will be on the verge of instant combustion with every pass, hit, save, block, and goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
I can only hope in my lifetime I get the experience that level of euphoria as a Nashville Predators fan. But for now, I am left with the realization that my beloved Predators might lose for the fifth straight time in the first round. This series isn’t over, though, and Nashville still has a legitimate shot at advancing to the 2nd round. It just might take an effort so monumental that even the Hockey Gods might question how realistic it is. Can the Nashville Predators come back to Nashville for game 6 on Monday and bring the same emotion, grit, and urgency that they laid on the ice in game 5? Will Pred Nation, heartbroken for so many years, be able to regroup and bring the noise to the Bridgestone Arena on Monday? Will the Hockey Gods show mercy on the NHL’s ‘redheaded stepchild’ and grant them a playoff series victory that has always eluded them?
These are the questions that I will ponder over the new few days. This morning, though, in the confines of my ‘man cave’ office, my emotions of last night still linger.
1) The Power Play – I am not sure which is more shocking, that Nashville hasn’t converted on a single power play(0-21), or that the Washington Capitals have only scored 1 goal in 24 opportunities on the power play. Regardless, if Nashville loses this series, all fingers will point towards their inability to convert on the power play. Not only have they failed to score when they have a man advantage, they have failed to score when they have a two man advantage. Worse yet, is that they allowed Chicago to score a short handed goal. But not just any short handed goal. And not just any power play. A short handed goal when you have a 4-3 lead with .13 seconds left in the game on a five minute boarding major. The short handed goal by Patrick Kane with .13 seconds left tied the game and sent it to overtime where Marian Hossa (more on him below) eventually won the game a few minutes later after serving his five minute boarding major. Kane’s goal may go down as the most emotionally devastating goal in Nashville History.
2) Marian Hossa – What’s to like about this guy unless you judge a person by goals scored and ignore all character flaws. First he turns down a great contract by Atlanta insisting his prima donna self is worth more money. Atlanta then trades him to Pittsburgh where he helps lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals where they eventually lose to Detroit. Pittsburgh offers Hossa a great contract, but he again leaves a uber talented team and heads to Detroit for more money. In Detroit, he helps lead them to the Stanley Cup playoffs where they eventually lose to PITTSBURGH! Again, on an extremely talented team, he turns down a great contract, and again goes after more money and signs with the Chicago Blackhawks in a deal that many in the league question as circumventing the salary cap.
But when you package all of his greediness into one, nothing boils my blood more then “The Push” he enacted on Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. One of the greatest playoff hockey games I have ever witnessed was disgraced by Hossa, and more precicely by the lack of a game misconduct from the game officials.
At 18:57 in the third period, with Nashville leading 4-3, Marian Hossa pushed Dan Hamhuis while Hamhuis was skating to retrieve the puck on the back boards. “The Push” caused Hamhuis to lose his balance and go head first into the back boards where he was clearly in pain. Hamhuis eventually was helped to his feet and skated off the ice on his own, which is a testament to his toughness. But his night was done and he did not return to the game.
But this is when the game took a turn for the worse. Hossa was issued a 5 minute boarding major which would put Chicago down a man for the next 5 minutes. But he was not issued a 10 minute game misconduct resulting in a game ejection. The immediate question is why? Was this “Push” not a replica of the hit that Alexander Ovechkin put on Brian Campbell in the regular season? Did Ovechkin not get thrown out of that game and get a 2 game suspension as a result of the push? Yes, Campbell did have a broken clavicle, but that wasn’t diagnosed until after the game. Campbell was unable to return to that game as well. So the question is why wasn’t Marian Hossa thrown out of the game for a hit similar to Ovechkin’s?
Ovechking Hit on Campbell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je9nEbQASNc
Hossa Hit on Hamhuis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnPsUU_coII
Now you tell me which situation placed the opposing player in a more vulnerable situation?
The reality is Hossa should have been thrown out of the game along with the 5 minute game misconduct. But that alone isn’t what sends my blood pressure through the roof. Five minutes later, after serving his 5 minute boarding major, Hossa scored the game winnng goal in overtime. He should not have even been in the GAME, let alone on the ice. Lets not forget that Chicago also had the added advantage of not having one of Nashville top defensemen in the game. So Hamhuis is out, but Hossa is in?
The league runs its mouth talking about how they want consistency in the enforcement of the rules. They talk about how they are going to enforce situations where a player takes liberty on a defenseless player. But here comes superstar Marian Hossa in a playoff game, playing for a team that both the NHL and NBC would love to be in the Stanley Cup Finals, and there is no match penalty!
My emotional take is this. If the league does not suspend Hossa, andChicago manages to take a lead in Monday’s game 6, someone from Nashville should send Marian Hossa into the boards head first with the hardest dirtiest hit in the history of the NHL. I am not one to condone such actions, but if the officials and the league aren’t willing to enforce their rules fairly, there is no reason why Marian Hossa should play one more minute the remainder of the NHL Playoffs. If I was playing, I would gladly take a 5 game suspension at the start of next year to ensure this worthless excuse of a hockey player doesn’t get to enjoy another minute of hockey this season.
OK, now I am back from my emotional rollercoaster. Go Preds. Win Game 6 and sent this series back to Chicago for game 7.
About the Author
Written by Mark Jasper