Frans Nielsen had nearly as many penalty minutes (14) this week as his previous career high for a season (16). It is part of a disturbing trend for the New York Islanders that leaves many around the league scratching their heads, wondering why the NHL has not taken more steps to get this rogue franchise and its rogue Dane under control.
On the season, Nielsen has significantly more PIMs (38 in 63 games played -- tied for 232nd most in the league!) than all of his previous seasons combined (24 in 166 games played). The worm began to turn for the "usually mild mannered" Nielsen in a late October game against the Philadelphia Flyers where he was sticked in the head and hit from behind by the tandem of Danny Briere and Daniel Carcillo, respectively (but not respectfully).
Sensing a change in attitude and play were necessary, Nielsen didn't seek the counsel of traditional NHL pugilists and pests; rather, he delved into "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. In fact, Trevor Gillies was the only teammate remotely willing to discuss the change in Nielsen, stating, "Something happened to him in that ga--...is that him?" Gillies asked, looking over his shoulder often. "Since he started read--...HELLO?!?! I umm, I have to go shave."
This situation demands a closer look from our LHH Zeitgeist lens.
Since the Feb. 11 game against the Penguins which saw a combined 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts between the two teams, the New York Islanders have earned nicknames such as the 'Miracle Mile Misconducts' and the 'Hempstead Hooligans' for their antics. Frans Nielsen is now assistant captain of the dirtiest of the dirty.
Below, LHH Zeitgeist sits with Frans Nielsen for a pictoral review of the transgressions and the evolution of a dangerous man...
"When 175lb. Danes Attack"
I asked Nielsen about the departure from his usual m.o. of hard working defensive hockey: "Lady Byng?" I asked. "P&$#% on Lady Byng... and p$*^& on Frank J. Selke," he said. "Enough of that Grabner for Calder crap too...wait till I teach him how to spear people behind the play."
It's been said once blackness enters a man's heart, it can not leave. This visual evidence and Nielsen commentary appear to support the notion that the Islanders are a team on the verge of a supreme evil.
Here, the Islander assistant captain is seen delivering a devastating elbow to the nether region of the Ducks George Parros. His reason: "He had the audacity to have a mustache like Gillies? We don't like being disrespected." Parros and his wife are currently investigating adoptive options.
"It's all about intimidation here," Nielsen said. "Once I bit that stick blade in half, he knew what the Hecht was up and that we weren't Jochen". Reached for comment, Hecht confirmed that he went back to wooden sticks immediately after this game. "Composites allow you to be intimidated by some players."
Here, Nielsen is seen delivering an illegal kidney punch to a prone Niklas Backstom of the Minnesota Wild. Nielsen was flippant when asked why this was necessary. "We win game right?" he said through a steely glare. Backstrom was unavailable for comment due to scheduled dialysis treatment.
On this play against the Boston Bruins, Nielsen said of Zdeno Chara, "I warned that 300 lb sack of cheat not to go into the corner. It was a #HockeyPlay." Winking, Nielsen went on "I just was giving MAX effort.....I sent him flowers, hopefully that PATCHES everything up." The Bruins are set to release funeral information in the coming days.
Here, Nielsen described the "Danish Submarine of Submission," a trick he learned playing soccer in his native Denmark. This play was also missed by the on-ice officials. Anton Volchenkov is being fitted for a prosthetic lower body on Monday in accordance with his NHL injury report
New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire attempts a 3rd period exorcism to open up room for superstar wing Ilya Kovalchuck. "He is beast," Leamiare said of Nielsen, "On playoff run our team is and nothing to play for Long Island has." Not realizing his exorcism directional game is not as controlled as his "Jersey Snore" game planning, (h/t-ilopan) the hall of fame coach inadvertently removed the last ounce of human soul in referee Stephane Auger as seen below.
Upon seeing this photo, Nielsen began to weep and throw up. This man may be the only means of controlling the unleashed fury that is Frans Nielsen. It's all in the numbers...#51 vs #15 the apocalypse is upon us. Save us, Stephen Auger.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano noted that there is definitely a change in the locker room demeanor since mid February. Asked about last night's game in which Nielsen attests that Devils forward David Clarkson was "chirping" the Islander's coach, Capuano declined to get into specifics except to say that Nielsen's reactions and subsequent misconduct could be placed on his shoulders: "Perhaps I could have handled things differently when I addressed them during the intermission...I have to choose my words more carefully with Frans."