Monday, March 08, 2010
So far, the C-word is the only word on Savard. He suffered a concussion yesterday, and will fly back to Boston this afternoon. There's no clairty on how severe the concussion is, and certainly no timetable concerning Savard's return.
Conveniently, the 30 NHL General Managers are having a scheduled meeting in Florida this week, and hits to the head will be the main issue of this conference.
I didn't think Cooke's hit was dirty. I thought it reckless, careless, no worry of consequences. Because right now, there are no consequences for Cooke. He wasn't penalized, the Bruins did nothing to make him pay (perhaps to their credit, as they had a 2-1 game to try to win), and the League has been inconsistent when it comes to punishing hits to the head.
The NHL's senior vice president stated the unfortunate truth: "It's like football: We have an issue with concussions, and the majority of concussions come from normal playing rules."
But certainly players shooting the puck deserve as much care and consideration as a punter, kicker, or QB in the NFL. And certainly when the shooter is so far away from the goal, and the hitting player comes from so far away the shooter (isn't that technically charging?), there's room for improvement, in the rule book, and with the on-ice officiating.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
I'm pretty pleased that the Patriots doled out some money to Vince Wilfork, said to be $40 million for 5 years. You could make an argument that #75 is the 3rd or 2nd most important individual on the Patriots' roster, and perhaps the most important. His inhuman combination of size, strength and speed is one of the few sure-things in an extremely questionable defense.
Moreover, if the Patriots are able to get anybody else on the defensive line, or in the LB level who can rush the passer, they'll either be freed up by the double-team Wilfork absorbs, or they'll free up Wilfork and allow him to devour quarterbacks.
Thanks to a big piece like Wilfork, the Pats are only a few small pieces away from having a decent defense.
A mixed emotion weekend. A win, a valiant loss, and what looks like a major injury to a significant player.
The B's are two games into a seven game road series. It has the potential to make or break their season. They still have an outside chance to win the Northeast Division. But they can fall as much as they can rise. A mere 3 points cushion them from 9th place.
Tim Thomas had an excellent weekend, thankfully so. Rask was sidelined with a "knee injury." Timmy stopped 37 shots Saturday afternoon, then stopped 31 in Pittsburgh. Although on Sunday, he appeared to tire, and was decidedly less crisp in the 3rd period.
The offensive woes persisted Sunday afternoon. The B's managed a token junky goal as Blake Wheeler yanked the punk from under M.A. Fleury and slid it in the net. But they never got that pivotal 2nd goal.
David Krejci and Miroslav Satan demonstrated some skillful passing, but it was a bit too dandy for my liking. Pretty passes are indeed pretty, but when a give-and-go-and-give-and-go results in zero shots, I'm not impressed. Before he was dispatched, Savard was also guilty of trying to be too clever.
About Savard's injury, or rather the hit that caused it. I wouldn't call it dirty. I would call it reckless. Unnecessary. A player having just shot the puck, in his follow-through, is as vulnerable as a punter on an NFL field. Even though Matt Cooke tucked his elbows in, it was a late hit, a hit to the head, and a hit on a vulnerable player. I felt it warranted a 2 minute minor.
Instead, play continued 5-on-5. Which was odd. The refs had shown some minerals earlier when they called 4 straight penalties on the Penguins. But then they swallowed their whistles, allowed Ruslan Fedotenko to run amuck, and allowed Cooke's reckless hit to go unpunished. Too bad.
But in the end, the Bruins lost to the Penguins because they simply have a better team out there. There's a reason that Evgeni Malkin's squad is #2 in the East, and it's not referees.
The Bruins have a should-win game in Toronto Tuesday night. Then at Philly, at Montreal, and at New Jersey. Three playoff calibre teams, a very tough but potentially lucrative stretch of games.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic