Wednesday, 15 April 2015

So Much Controversy

Let the controversy reign! We're only one game into the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and we've seen, depending on your perspective, one of the postseason's most vicious slashes or one of the best acting jobs on the planet. Personally, the slash that PK Subban delivered on Mark Stone looked bad in terms of Stone's reaction, but his return just a few minutes after Subban was dismissed from the game is a little curious considering how he sold the slash. Let's break this down because someone said something in the post-game scrum that will probably leave his wallet a little lighter.

There's no denying that PK Subban slashed Mark Stone, so I'm not going to try to argue that point. Both Subban and Montreal coach Michel Therrien admitted that he committed the infraction, so we'll let that portion of the equation rest.

Instead, we need to look at the fallout from the slash. Before we do that, here's the video of Subban hacking Mark Stone on the arm.
Mike Johnson talks us through that pretty well, but the final tally was a five-minute major and a game misconduct for PK Subban. The optics of that slash look bad, but Mark Stone sold it hard as if Subban hit him with a machete in an effort to amputate Stone's arm. I'm not buying it.

The Subban penalty was committed at 8:23 of the second period. Mark Stone played 15:06 in the game over 21 shifts. Unless he was double- and triple-shifting in the first 28:23 of the game, Mark Stone returned to the game meaning that his fleeing down the chute to the dressing room was possibly necessary at the time, but certainly not indicative of a major injury.

Why is that important? Well, referee Steve Kozari invoked Rule 61 and its subclauses to come up with the five-minute major based on the optics of that slash. The rule reads as follows:
With the speed in which Stone left the ice and went to the dressing room, Kozari had to assume that he was injured. He went down like he had been shot, and then immediately went to the dressing room. Kozari's hands are tied on that call because it really did look like Stone was hurt, so Rule 61.3 states that a major penalty has to be called. Because the major penalty was called, Rule 61.5 came into effect which is how Subban was given the early dismissal from this game.

The problem is that Stone returned to the bench minutes later and took a regular shift. If he's doing that, he's not injured. Or at least not seriously injured. And if he wasn't seriously injured, then Mark Stone embellished that injury which should mean he gets a warning from the league for his embellishment. It also means that the officials in this series now will watch Stone a little closer for any sort of embellishment because Stone made Kozari look bad with his call on Subban.

Officials don't like being shown up, readers.

Further to this, the post-game press conferences saw Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron get a little heated as he spoke about how he believes that Subban should be suspended. The problem is how he framed it.
That's not going to sit well with the NHL. Comments regarding any sort of vengeance or bounty towards another team or player will bring some serious heat from the NHL Offices, and Dave Cameron crossed a line in suggesting one of his players will dish out some served-cold revenge for the slash on Stone.

And these two teams have the possibility of playing six more games? Wow.

I'm not the NHL, but I am going to tell you what I think should happen in the aftermath of tonight's game. You may not agree, but this is exactly how I see this playing out so that both teams are happy with the outcome.
  1. PK Subban is fined for his slash. No further discipline.
  2. Mark Stone is warned for embellishment. No further discipline.
  3. Dave Cameron is fined for his comments. No further discipline.
The Canadiens and Senators will clash again on Friday, and I expect the messages sent by the NHL to be heard by both teams. Game One was intense with a 4-3 Canadiens win coming out of the carnage in the second period, and there is hope that these two Canadian rivals can carry the same intensity through the next six games.

Let's just keep the sticks down, the embellishing to a minimum, and the threats out of the media's hands. This could be a series for the ages.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Captain Canuck said...

that was pathetic to watch. Rolling around on the ice like he'd been shot.
And then he played on the power play!!!!!

Then the cheap shots by McCarthur and Turris at the end of the game that got them misconducts...

Ottawa showed their true colours that night.

The Hockey Gentleman said...

Shades of Darcy Tucker vs the Flyers from years ago. Though does anyone's opinion change now that it's been revealed he has a micro fracture? Not that he should have played dead.......

Anonymous said...

Subban was an embarrassment to the national team. His intent to injure was successful, unless the imaging studies are lying.