Yes, we missed opportunities. Yes, the Flyers are deeper down the center. Yes we are struggling to make plays in the slot. Yes, the Sabres are going to have to buck almost a century's trend of epic heartbreaking Buffalo losses to win the series on Tuesday in Shittydelphia. Yes, Barry Melrose continues to have a job covering the NHL (defying the odds since ESPN The Deuce!).
1.) He has a C on his chest, which stands for Captain which means Marketable, which means No Balls Bettman wouldn't DREAM of suspending the Captain of a Big Market Squad in a Game 7 for something so petty as driving a player's unprotected face and frontal lobe into the boards at full speed.
2.) He's one of Hockey Canada's Golden Boys. TSN, The Globe, HNIC, The CBC...you won't see word one from one of those outlets calling for a suspension or calling it a dirty hit, even though it clearly was one of the more egregious hits of the playoffs. AND OF A TYPE THE NHL HAS BEEN HEMMING AND HAWWING ABOUT FIXING FOR THE PAST 18 FUCKING MONTHS.
3.) Things don't work that way for Buffalo. If by some miracle of miracles we pull a win out of our collective cursed buttholes in Philly on Tuesday, it won't be because the Hockey Gods gifted us with a suspension of the Flyers' best player. It will come with grit, effort, attention to detail, and every Sabre playing 10-15 pts. higher than his EA Sports NHL 11 Rating. Basically we have to not only defy the odds but the majoriy of the gods & titans too. Minus Hephaesteus though. I hear he's a HUGE Grier fan.
On a serious note.....if you let a Captain (read: role model, face of the franchise in the community, marketable asset, leader) get away with a devastating hit like that, what kind of message are you sending out to younger players and parents? It's okay to drive your opponent headfirst into the boards? Because a 2:00 minute minor is basically saying "it's okay to do that if you absolutely have to, but try and staw away from it". A 5:00 minute major takes that type of hit out of a young player's repertoire for life.
Another added benefit of being consistent with your headshot policy? It keeps guys like Pat LaFontaine, Paul Kariya, Adam Deadmarsh, Eric Lindros, and Tim Connolly on the ice and thus fulfilling the tremendous amounts of potential and talent they were blessed with. (Yeah, if it weren't for Connolly's fear of getting blindsided for his entire career, he ACTUALLY would have been a top 20 center)
SIDENOTED ADDENDUM VIS A VIS POST SCRIPT: Can one of the more coherent readers of this pile of words explain to me why Boarding is even considered a minor penalty these days? There is no moment when Boarding should not be considered a 5 Alive. It's the most dangerous of all minors, and I'm including the high stick. Think back when Ovechkin trashed our darling Danny head first into boards a few years back. An inch here, an inch there.....maybe the Sabres are moving to the next round and Briere is talking about his glory days.....I'M JUST SAYING. Seriously. Boarding. Bad.