Monday, April 16, 2012

Torts: "We are who we are!" - Rangers brace for game 3

The NHL suspended Ranger top line rookie forward Carl Hagelin for three games for the high elbow he threw to the head of Daniel Alfredsson that forced the Senator's captain from the game.

Hagelin's explanation is the Alfredsson lifted his stick as Hags approached, prompting the Ranger rookie to lift his hands to defend himself. Alfredsson and Hagelin are fellow Swedes, Carl likes and even admires the older fellow NHL player and texted him an apology.

Still the league has to look like it is trying to stop head injuries. The NHL Brandon Shanahan explains the penalty like this:

"After Alfredsson chips the puck up the boards, Hagelin continues on his path, and finishes his check with his arms up high, recklessly striking Alfredsson in the side of the head with his elbow," Shanahan said in a video outlining his decision on the league's website. "This hit is a clear violation of what the NHL rules as elbowing.

"It's important to note that while Alfredsson saw this hit coming and braced himself for it, in doing so he not significantly changes the position of his head. Also, although Alfredsson's stick briefly comes up prior to contact, we do not feel this was a reasonable excuse for the elbow that took place."

Brandon! And to think we used to root for you. The Rangers released their own statement in protest:

"The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs. We will have no further comment on this decision."

Okay - so what do we do with our top line for game 3, 4 and 5?

I don't pretend to understand John Tortorella's mind (although I think that it's always a safe bet to say he's angry about many things all the time). But I think he should do this:

Move Brandon Dubinsky to the top line as a reward for his heroics in protecting a defenseless Brian Boyle (who was face down getting pummeled on the ice).

And then insert Chris Krieder in Dubi's regular slot. Putting Chris into this series when he hasn't played a single shift in the NHL is like throwing a non-swimmer in the deep end of the pool - but putting him on the top line is like throwing that same non-swimmer over Niagara Falls.

That's my two cents. But we'll see what Tortorella and the Rangers do tonight. We've seen the Philly-Pittsburgh series deteriorate into a war (that Crosby is losing 3-0) - and it appears Rangers-Senator is headed down that same violent path.

John Tortorella's personal response is that the Rangers will not be making adjustments based on the leagues ruling - but rather, playing hockey they way they believe they have been all year. "We are who we are," the defiant Ranger coach explained.

At the moment they are a number-one seeded hockey team who just lost a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Of course - anyone who expects either team to go quietly from this series - has not been paying attention.

Game three in Ottawa tonight should be something.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

No comments:

Post a Comment