The Ottawa Senators showed that they can fight back and that they can fight in a lopsided 6-2 loss in Philadelphia last night that degenerated into an all-out mash up. What was probably the most surprising on the night was the fact that Ottawa took fighting penalties for fights that didn’t happen, as Philly players simply walked away or refused to fight late in the third.
The Broad Street bullies had nothing to be proud of on the night, with Shelley taking the ultimate chicken prize, walking away from Carkner, but choosing to tussle later with Neil. It was probably because Shelley knew that Carkner would knock him into the middle of next week and we all know that it takes a special kind of man to opt instead to fight a much smaller man, while leaving his core defenseless. Not to mention his elbow hit to the head on Zack Smith into the glass- obviously an act of bravery on his part. While it’s hardly expected for hockey players to be chivalrous, basic human decency is generally an acceptable thing in the game. Clearly, not so for Shelley.
Close on his heels for chicken of the night was Claude Giroux, laying down a late and uncharacteristic hit in the third which was a cheap shot on Neil. Giroux provoked a melee that clearly had no purpose, as Philly was already in the lead and taking command of what was otherwise a solid game.
Rounding out the podium for chicken of the night is Danny Briere, walking away from Ryan Shannon, arguably one of the smallest players in the NHL. Guess he was afraid of breaking a nail. And an honourable mention on the night has to be given to coach Laviolette, who, when faced with a 4 goal lead in the last period of play, decided valourously to keep his top lines on the ice up until the last buzzer.
Surprisingly absent from this list is the notorious Chris Pronger, who has shown a gentler side in his old age (old age in the NHL being plus 30), but he was no angel either. It was just one of those rare games where the rest of the team came together to mud sling by committee and outdid their dirtiest player- a rare feat.
Before the third period shenanigans which had the Philly announcer going hoarse calling penalties, the first two periods of play were good hockey. A couple of quick goals in the first for Philly showed that Ottawa entered the game tentatively, obviously impressed by Philly’s record and their hardcore fanbase. But Ottawa recovered in the second with some solid play, with Bobby Butler showing a lot of energy and Milan Michalek playing hard. Nick Foligno has also showed a lot of resiliency for the Senators, crashing the net, charging, not giving up on plays and even fighting on the night. He truly had a good all around game.
Zack Smith was the game punching bag on the night, getting taken down by Pronger and Shelley with some questionable hits. It’s no wonder that he wanted a little revenge and took some extra punches in the third with a man down in the corner.
The thing which truly made this game revolting is the fact that Philadelphia did what it traditionally does, which is to play a dirty game up to the limit and try to get away with cheap shots when the refs may not be looking and then they broke from tradition in the worst possible way: by chickening out and not being held accountable for their aggressions. It’s one thing to play a tough game, but it’s completely another to expect to walk away afterwards. It’s plain cowardly. And when the Senators called them on it and asked them to man up, they did not respond.
Ottawa may have lost the game, but Philadelphia just lost my respect.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.