So, what if a couple of Sabres had pounced on Milan Lucic (obivously none of them is tough enough to go with Lucic one-on-one) and beat the shit out of him?
I hated the Sabres (non)reaction last night. I hated it because it's simply not hockey. Hockey is protecting your goalie. Yes, even when he invites calamity by coming that far out of his crease. Even if it puts you on the penalty kill. I have no problem with Lucic's hit on Miller, but I still think the Sabres owed it to themselves, their goalie and their fans to stand up for Miller.
Instead we saw what hockey is in danger of becoming: timid, scared and politically correct. Bullshit.
I don't want to turn into Grapes here, God knows he doesn't need my help.
But hockey's inherent hypocrisy with how it handles the rough and tough aspect of the game just makes me mad.
We all know the NHL doesn't REALLY want to legislate fighting out of the game. If it did, it would have by now. But it can't because all those paying customers who don't know a hook from a hold DO know what a fight is and shell out their hard-earned pennies in the hopes of seeing one.
We all know the NHL doesn't really want to legislate away the reality that players have to play right on the edge in the game of hockey in favor of safer, homogenized hockey. If it did, it would have by now.
So now the talking heads and soft nouveau fans have more cud to chew on. Some will say the Sabres intentionally didn't do anything. Right. The only team that, as my friend GreenStar puts it, uses its power play as its enforcer is Detroit. The Sabres simply aren't talented enough to play that kind of game.
Others will say the Sabres were scared. I don't think that's it either. I think the Sabres just practice the fashionable brand of today's hockey. The "don't want to risk the wrath of the league" type hockey.
As much as I dislike the Flyers, you can't say they accomodate that particular trend. They continue to do things their own special way - and, whether I like it or not, I respect them for it.
The Bruins, too, are an organization that has certainly embraced the uglier side of hockey in its past.
I say good for Lucic. Ultimately, this will be good for the Sabres, too, because it will whip their fans into even more of a frenzy when they're playing the Bs.
But, if you're a Sabres fan who applauds your team's soft response last night, then let's make a deal: you continue to go about living in your academic, high and mighty, "sophisticated" hockey world. But then you don't get to root for the Sabres/Bruins rivalry. You don't get to talk peace, love and understanding out of one side of your mouth and then get all frothed up for the next Bruins game - that is that much more exciting and appealing to your baser instincts because Lucic nailed the wandering Miller - out of the other. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too.
Mmm-kay? Deal? Good.