NHL rulings: coincidence or conspiracy?

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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.

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

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Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good.