Monday, June 1, 2009

The Ice Sheet: Instigator Won't Sideline Malkin for Game 3

The Ice Sheet: Instigator Won't Sideline Malkin for Game 3

The Ice Sheet: Instigator Won't Sideline Malkin for Game 3

Text Size A A A
Late in Sunday night's 3-1 Detroit Red Wings victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Pittsburgh forward Maxime Talbot helped set off a melee that could have very well wound up costing him and his teammates dearly if NHL disciplinary czar Colin Campbell had followed the letter of the law when it comes to the infamous instigator penalty.

How did it happen? With only 19 seconds left and Pittsburgh pressing to score with an extra attacker,Evgeni Malkin let go with a slapshot from the right wing faceoff circle that was handled pretty easily by Detroit goaile Chris Osgood. 

Then, after the whistle had blown, Talbot jabbed at the puck, hitting Osgood in the chest. Whether Osgood was actually hurt or not, he fell to the ice, and his teammates came to his aid. In all the confusion, a clearly agitated Malkin sought out Detroit center Henrik Zetterberg, perhaps to exact some payback for the way he has been shadowing Sidney Crosby throughout the first two games of the series. The video is after the jump.
Red Wings 3, Penguins 1: Recap | Box Score 
Red Wings Lead Series 2-0


When the dust finally cleared, Talbot got two minutes for slashing, while Malkin and Zetterberg both got five for fighting. Usually, a skirmish like this one in the waning seconds of a game that had already been decided would have mattered little, except for the fact that the officials tacked on two minutes for instigating for Malkin. And, asthe rulebook says in section 47.22:
A player or goalkeeper who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at anytime in overtime, shall automatically be suspended for one game. The Director of Hockey Operations will review every such incident and may rescind the suspension based on a number of criteria. The criteria for the review shall include, but not limited to, the score, previous incidents, etc.
So what's next? In a rather swift piece of decision-making, the NHL issued the following statement:
Following that review, Campbell said: "None of the criteria in this rule applied in this situation. Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight. A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded."

NHL Hockey Operations also determined that Malkin should have been assessed a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down.
So, did the Penguins get a lucky break? Sure they did. Just like the Wings did when Zetterberg wasn't called for covering the puck in the crease in Games 1 and 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment