Blue And White Beat: Round One observations

Round One observations

Here’s a recap of the first round results, compared with my predictions from two weeks ago (in brackets)

Western Confernce:
San Jose over Colorado in 6 games (San Jose in 7)
Chicago over Nashville in 6 games (Chicago in 5)
Vancouver over Los Angeles in 6 games (Los Angeles in 7)
Detroit over Phoenix in 7 games (Detroit in 6)

Eastern Conference:
Montreal over Washington in 7 games (Washington in 5)
Philadelphia over New Jersey in 5 games (New Jersey in 6)
Boston over Buffalo in 6 games (Buffalo in 6)
Pittsburgh over Ottawa in 6 games (Pittsburgh in 6)

So in terms of picking winners, I went 4-for-8. Visions of sitting in a corner wearing a dunce cap come to mind, although if anyone out there predicted three Eastern division winners to go out in the first round, then I will tip my dunce cap – er, hat – to you.

Here are my second round predictions:
West
Detroit over San Jose in 7 games
Chicago over Vancouver in 7 games

East
Pittsburgh over Montreal in 6 games
Boston over Philadelphia in 6 games

***

Random thoughts:

Last night Jacques Martin won his first Game #7 matchup in five tries as Montreal completed their colossal upset of the Washington Capitals by defeating the President’s Trophy winners 2-1. Thirteen years ago today, on April 29, 1997, Martin was behind the bench of the Ottawa Senators for the first of his career Game #7 showdowns as his team faced Buffalo. The Sabres wound up winning in overtime when a shot eluded Senators goalie Ron Tugnutt after his blocker appeared to break on the shot. Who scored for Buffalo? (see answer at the end).

If Ottawa’s Matt Carkner doesn’t score in OT in Game #5 of Pens/Sens – which indirectly inspired the Habs – does Montreal come back in their series? Discuss among yourselves.

Will someone please explain the concept of the “automatic” suspension, because the NHL is making a farce of it. At the end of Game #5 of the Bruins-Sabres series, Zdeno Chara was ejected for instigating a fight, only have the supposed one game suspension rescinded by the league. In similar circumstances, Evgeni Malkin was not forced to serve an “automatic” suspension as a result of an altercation with Henrik Zetterberg of Detroit in last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

Let’s go over Rule 47.22 of the NHL Rule Book, regarding the instigator in the last five minutes of regulation, or any time in overtime:
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.

Now the next part of the rule states:
The Director of Hockey Operations will review every such incident and may rescind the suspension based on a number of criteria.

So you could argue that the league operated in accordance with the rule book. But then, what’s the point – in the first sentence – of saying that the player shall “automatically” be suspended, if the caveat is that the penalty may be rescinded anyway?

If you get a speeding ticket, do you get an “automatic” $1,000 fine, even though you may have to go to court to try and have the amount reduced, or rescinded altogether?

I think the word “automatically” is what is confusing everyone. Perhaps if the word was changed to “conditionally”, in the way the rule reads, and how it is applied, it would make more sense (regardless of whether you agree with the ruling in the individual examples cited above).

Trivia answer: Derek Plante


Rob Del Mundo is the author of Blue And White Beat, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca

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