So Many Soap Boxes…

…but nobody’s getting anything clean.

In case you missed it, a polar bear mauled one of the Habs players and now park rangers are trying to track him down. Or something. That might have been insensitive, I know, but trust me…there is enough fire and brimstone on Twitter and in every sports blog to make up for it. The biggest problem, as per usual with the NHL, is inconsistency.

In Montreal, Zdeno Chara has reached a level of villainy that dwarfs even Shawn Michaels and Carrie Underwood. This isn’t a shock, considering that every Habs fan in the building got a front row seat to watch a man’s neck get broken. The fact that they won the game was a marginal victory when you consider that they almost saw Max Pacioretty die in front of their very eyes. Think I’m exaggerating? As Puck That Hurts points out, Max broke his C4, which shelters nerve bundles that control the diaphragm, which controls breathing.

In Boston they’re not nearly as upset. Probably because the Red Sox have started playing.

Bob McKenzie interviewed the injured player, which didn’t do so well at soothing emotions as Pacioretty stated that he felt Chara intended to do the deed (most people felt like Chara didn’t mean to-Oops this picture happened). A sentiment backed up by our own Steve Montador on WGR with Schopp and the Bulldog yesterday. The afternoon radio hosts took a break from recapping The Bachelor and pointed out that everybody’s mad because it was Chara, whereas if it was a nobody like, say, Hjalmarsson we wouldn’t care, right? (For reference, unlike Chara, Niklas Hjalmarsson got suspended for a hit from behind that was in fact unintentional) Then they talk about how they want a player like Chara, who pounds guys and usually doesn’t injure them…unless that guy is wearing a Sabres jersey at which point they hate when he takes “dumb” penalties. Whatever…it’s Schopp and the Bulldog.

The cops are involved, Air Canada has decided to weigh in after everybody obviously demanded an airline’s opinion on the matter, Puck Daddy is having a field day with the discussions being stirred up…hell, this might even get mentioned on JIM ROME! Oh wait…it’s an embarrassing hockey story. Those are the only ones that Rome and Cowherd talk about.

So what does all of this WHARRGARBL mean?

  1. The Sabres, yet again, are playing a team at the right time. Chances are Chara won’t be hitting people too hard tonight, and if he does he’ll probably have Muammar Gaddafi condemning his play.
  2. The NHL finally, we mean it this time, going to find a way to get rid of these head injuries while preserving the physical aspect of the game. Don’t laugh. This time they are absolutely serious.

I guess my kvetch is with the vitriol, the absolute “this-is-too-far” attitude that so many are hitting this particular issue with. Or, to clarify, where was this anger all season long? I guess we’re just kind of irked when Crosby,  Savard, Hamhuis, Perron, Boogaard, and Pominville got hurt but goddamn it Max Pacioretty is just going to far!!!

I’ll be the jerk and point out that Air Canada didn’t say anything when Darcy Tucker almost killed Sami Kapanen. I’m sure that was different. Chris Neil taking out Chris Drury was also just a fluke, right? No reason to get indignant and demand a change. Don’t worry, the NHL’s only been reviewing its policy on hits to the head and hits from behind for how long exactly?

No, I’m not being a hypocrite here. The best players have been getting hurt every year since they put in the instigator rule ohmygodIjustsoundedlikeDonCherry. Pulling sponsorship to send a message to the league might be a decent way to go if you want them to preserve their product. Doing it right after somebody you’ve never heard of who plays for St. Louis would’ve been classy. Sorry Air Canada, but doing it because a Cro Magnon man injured someone who plays in Montreal removes your credibility.

So what’s next? The NHL’s going to overhaul their headshot rule and this time they’re really, really going to knuckle down on it. They mean it. They should have this whole thing sorted out by the time Trevor Gilles gets back from his 10 game suspension for a hit that didn’t break anybody’s neck.

Topics: Air Canada, Bob Mckenzy, Boston Bruins, Broken Neck, Bruins, Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Bulldog, Carrie Underwood, Chara, Colin Cowherd, Concussion, Eastern Conference, Fansided, Habs, Hockey, Jason Pominville, Jim Rome, Max Pacioretty, Montador, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Northeast Division, Pacioretty, Playoffs, Puck Daddy, Puck That Hurts, Sabres, Schopp, Shawn Michaels, Soapbox, Wharrgarbl, Zdeno Chara

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