Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Great, The Unfortunate, And The Stupid

Tonight's hockey action saw a lot of good, some bad, and definitely some ugly. The three men in the image above don't really represent those three sentiments, but they do represent the three traits in the title of this article. Alexander Ovechkin, Dennis Wideman, and Willie Mitchell - three veteran players - will demonstrate the great plays, the unfortunate plays, and the downright stupid plays from last night.

We'll start with a great play, and it was pulled off by The Great Eight as he made two New Jersey defencemen look like pylons.
Jon Merrill one-on-one with Alexander Ovechkin is a mismatch in talent from the start. However, Travis Zajac should have recognized who had the puck and who he was looking to victimize as he was back-checking. Instead, Ovechkin now has a "Goal of the Year" video to submit, Jon Merrill has a video to suppress on his free agency resumé, and the rest of the planet can salivate over Ovechkin finding a little of his mojo once more.

From the great play, we move to a most unfortunate play. Dennis Wideman is a solid defenceman on a Falmes team that is reeling right now, and his play with Jonas Hiller on the bench during a delayed penalty didn't help the Flames break out of their funk last night against Vancouver.
Yannick Weber of the Canucks was credited with the goal, but Wideman's 200-foot bank shot was hard to watch. Wideman was clearly looking to send the puck back to Mason Raymond, but the two didn't connect whatsoever. Instead, the Flames went to the powerplay down 1-0 on Wideman's and Raymond's miscues. In the end, the Flames would fall in overtime to the Canucks by a 3-2 score. That goal would come back to haunt the Flames on this night.

Finally, Willie Mitchell has played 826 NHL games, including tonight's game, and he's always been a respectable defenceman. He was brought in by Florida this season to be a veteran leader for the young kids on the Panthers' blue line, but I'm not sure anyone should follow his utterly stupid lead from tonight.
Willie Mitchell might be looking at a suspension for his use of Kris Letang's helmet as a weapon. Letang's extra poke at Luongo was probably warranting a talking-to and maybe a facewash, but both Mitchell and Letang were given five minutes each for their tussle. However, it appeared the referees missed the helmet swing that Mitchell attempted, and we already know that the league doesn't take lightly to idiotic moves like Mitchell's attempt to use the helmet for anything but protecting a skull.
Expect a fine, but don't be surprised by a suspension for Florida's captain.

I also want to express some relief that Jannik Hansen of the Canucks seems to be fine after collapsing on the Vancouver bench. Hansen was hit by the aforementioned Dennis Wideman in tonight's game at 1:27 of the second period, and it appeared that Hansen was winded or in some pain as he skated back to the Vancouver bench. Moments later, the Canucks' bench was calling for team doctors.

The good news is that Hansen walked down the tunnel to the Canucks' dressing room under his own power, and he seemed to be moving without any noticeable struggle. Let's hope that everything turns out ok for the Vancouver forward. We don't need anything awful to report during this festive season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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