NHL rulings: coincidence or conspiracy?

455868.jpg

NHL rulings: coincidence or conspiracy?

By Jon Fucile
WickedGoodSports.com

For years, the NHL has had trouble gaining the same type of dedicated following the NFL and the boring MLB have. With recent rulings regarding headshots and hits from behind and playoff games that look rigged so more series go to a Game 7, it is no surprise why the NHL gets little respect.

First, you have Colin Campbell who apparently dishes out suspensions based on who he either likes best or whoever paid him the most that day. Then you have referees who apparently haven't read their hand guide or who have been told to ignore certain penalties, giving the NHL the appearance of being rigged.

Penalty statistics in this years playoffs show that calls have heavily favored whichever team is down 3-2 in their series and more often than not the team that got all those calls in their favor forced a Game 7. Teams with better ratings, such as Philadelphia over Buffalo, have had blatant penalties and suspension worthy hits ignored while other less marketable teams have had players serve a game or two.

Coincidence or NHL conspiracy?

Take for example the separate cases of Steve Downie and Mike Richards. Downie players for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team no one outside of Tampa Bay cares about. Downie left his skates and led with his forearm while laying down a vicious hit behind the net in a recent game against Pittsburgh. No one was injured but Downie was suspended for one game.

Now take Mike Richards. In Game 4 against Buffalo he threw a blatant elbow and then in Game 6 he boarded Tim Connolly, effectively removing him from the game and the resulting Game 7. Two different calls for a guy that is known to be just as dirty as Downie yet he was not suspended on either call.

Why? Well the expert detectives on the Wicked Good Sports staff hacked into Gary Bettmans email and found his copy of the NHL rulebook. Here is the section regarding elbowing:

Now, Richards did get a penalty, but Im sure Pierre McGuire left a nasty voicemail at the NHL offices for penalizing his husband... Mike Richards.

This is pretty much what happened. Intent shouldnt matter, but that was one of the reasons the NHL gave for not suspending Richards. An elbow to the face is the same regardless of whether or not there was intention and Mike Richards has a history of this kind of crap.

Yup. Pretty much. Richards hits were just as dangerous as Downies, if not more so, but no suspension. In fact, we also found this photo in Bettmans email that was taken directly after Richards pretended he was Macho Man Randy Savage:

Clearly they dont really care about player safety and anything they say is nothing more than lip service. The NHL also apparently doesnt care about fair competition.

The Montreal Canadiens are divers. This is a well known fact. The refs know this. There is even a rule against diving in the NHL rulebook. Yet, nothing is ever called against them. In fact, the Canadiens were only assessed one diving penalty during the regular season.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. The biggest divers in the league only got one penalty all season.

Why? Well, that was also covered in Bettmans copy of the rulebook:

Carey Price took one of the all time classic dives in Game 6 against the Bruins. Any time an opposing skater goes by him, Price goes down like he was shot even if no one touched him. There is no way anyone that is not blind could miss itexcept for NHL refs. Here some footage from last night:

And again here is Bettman and Campbells response:

This is basically what happens. A Montreal player feels a gentle breeze, goes down and then the refs call a penalty on whichever opposing player was closer. Way to respect the game guys.

This one speaks for itself. Montreal knows the refs wont call so they continue to do it. These are the precedents the NHL has set. Sure, go elbow a guy in the head because chances are you will not be disciplined. While youre at it, take a dive because we wont even say anything to you and well put your team on the powerplay. Good job NHL, youre really working hard to maintain the integrity of the game.

What the NHL is doing is proving they do not care about player safety, respect or fair competition. Apparently certain rules do not apply if your team constantly cries to the league or if there is a potential Game 7 in the playoffs, as the NHL has to milk that cash cow for all it is worth and in the process they are ruining a lot of really, really good hockey games.

Brady on whether he called Trump: 'I've called him in the past'

Brady on whether he called Trump: 'I've called him in the past'

When President Donald Trump announced last week that he'd received a phone call from Tom Brady, Brady's response when questioned by reporters at a mass press conference was "Let's talk about football."

This morning, during his weekly interview on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show, Brady shed a little more light onto the subject.

Though not a whole lot more.

"I have called him, yes, in the past," Brady said when given the chance the confirm or deny the call.  "Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call,. But, again, that’s been someone I’ve known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”

He also explained why he chooses to dance around this topict . . . and a lot of others.

“I’m a pretty positive person, so I don’t want to create any distractions for our team and so forth,” he said. “I just try and stay positive and actually this world could use a little more positivity. Everything’s not great in this world and everything is not great in life. But if you try and take a positive approach … I try to do that. I try to do that in practice. I try to do that with my team. I try to do that with my family. That’s how I go about life. I don’t like negativity. I don’t like a lot of confrontation. Those things don’t make me feel very good. I wouldn’t be a good talk show host."

Curran: Relentless Patriots proving that living well is the best revenge

Curran: Relentless Patriots proving that living well is the best revenge

FOXBORO -- There's a clock on the wall in the weight room at Tom Brady's house.

When the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game last January, Brady's father told me his son set the clock to count away the days, hours, minutes and seconds until Super Bowl 51. That clock has just 13 days left on it now. It won't require a sad resetting this week.

Brady won't be around to see it hit zeroes. He'll be in Texas playing in his record seventh Super Bowl. As planned.

PATRIOTS 33, STEELERS 9

HERE THEY COME, ROGER

The Patriots are the last team the NFL apparatus wanted to see in Houston and now the boogeyman's at their door, proving that living well is the best revenge.

Nowhere to run to, Roger. Nowhere to hide. The rules apply to everyone and there's a rule that we all learn sooner or later is very true. What goes around comes around. We all have it coming, kid.

We imagine Brady is clearing his throat for the delicious last laugh, but he's said it a hundred different ways in the past four months: Vengeance and vindication aren't driving him. That's wasted energy. Poison.

He's focused on what's immediately in front of him while reminding himself time's fleeting. The best way for him to help his team during his four-game exile in September was to work out relentlessly, which he did so that when he returned he was as good as he's ever been.

And in his absence, his team understood the best way to honor him while he was gone was to take care of business. Which they did beginning September 12 in Arizona when, instead of playing rudderless football without their on-field leader, they began a 3-1 run with a combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.

"Yeah, well we never dwell on that," Bill Belichick began when I asked him Sunday night about the obstacles the team's had in front of it beginning in September and through the rest of the season. "We take the hand that we're dealt and play the cards . . .

"You referenced the beginning of the year, but it's been true in every game, really," Belichick added. "It's a credit to those guys. It's a credit to the depth on our team and the way that those guys prepare. They work hard. They don't know if they're going to get an opportunity or not and then when it finally comes and they do get it, they're usually ready to take advantage of it and help the team win. That's why we're where we are. We have a special team, a special group of guys that really work hard. They deserve the success that they've had. I mean, it's hard to win 16 games in this league. You've got to give a lot of credit to the players and the job they've done all year week after week. It's tough, but they come in and grind it out. They sit in these seats for hours, and hours, and hours, and prepare, and prepare, and go out there and lay it on the line every week. Again, it's a good group of men."

Beginning in the offseason with the trade of Chandler Jones to the start of the season with the Brady suspension to the stunning trade of Jamie Collins, the loss of Rob Gronkowski and a defense that was scoffed at on a weekly basis, the Patriots have weathered all of it to get to this point.

"One More" is the marketing slogan this team's had affixed to it.

"Bend Don't Break" is much more apt. Because they never did.

It's a phrase that's been framed as a slight by when used to describe the New England defense this season but safety Duron Harmon had a different interpretation.

"I don't know. I kind of like it," he said. "It just shows the type of toughness and mental toughness we have. Even when the situation might seem terrible or might seem bad, we have enough mental toughness to come out and make a positive out of it."

Harmon and Patrick Chung hauled down Steelers tight end Jesse James inches short of a touchdown just before halftime. The Patriots defense held after that, forcing Pittsburgh to settle for a deflating field goal. Instead of a 17-13 lead at halftime, the Pats led 17-9.

"Right then and there, a lot of people are thinking that's seven points, but that's a four-point turnover basically," said Harmon. "Just hold them to three and that really helped us with the momentum going into [halftime]."

When one considers all the collateral damage of Deflategate and the fortunes of the antagonists and protagonists since, it's . . . well, it's telling.

The Colts canned tattletale GM Ryan Grigson on Saturday and are in disarray. The Ravens missed the playoffs again. Owners who fingerwagged and wanted to see the Patriots brought to heel like John Mara, Bob McNair, Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson have teams that were either bounced from the playoffs or didn't even make them.

And the Patriots are headed to Houston anyway. Despite all their best efforts.

"I think it's a great story, but I think right now our focus is got to go out to Houston in a couple of weeks and try to win it," said Devin McCourty when asked about the revenge angle. "I think that makes the story even better."