Alexei Ponikarovsky, the Wheel of Justice spins for thee. The NHL suspended him for the final two games of the season after his hit from behind on Josh Bailey, which ended up not only gashing Bailey's face but breaking facial bones.
Which means no AHL playoffs for Bailey, expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Greg Mauldin, who had already been called up to replace Richard Park, has been "loaned" back to Bridgeport for at least tonight's playoff-relevant AHL game.
I'm numb to Colin Campbell's world by this point, so I wasn't even expecting a suspension. But Ponikarovsky is anonymous enough that I guess he gets one. When Devil Mike Mottau got only two games for elbowing Frans Nielsen in the same season that Islanders Brendan Witt and Thomas Pock got five games for their respective elbows, I threw up my hands and just assumed Campbell's office will just spin the wheel -- a wheel that somehow feels weighted differently when it involves the Isles and select other clubs.
Putting up with the NHL's disciplinary regime is like living under a totalitarian regime (with slightly less serious consequences, of course): You either get numb to it and accept your fate, or you flee altogether. I'm not ready to flee.
But in this case, after suspending Andy Sutton two games earlier this season for a hit from behind on Penguin Pascal Dupuis, the NHL has given Poni an equal suspension. So ... bravo NHL, I guess? You sort of look consistent-ish?
Sure, A Player is Lying Injured on the Ice. Time to Talk about Crosby!
Footage of both hits is after the jump. The contrasting reactions from the Penguins announcers compared to when it was one of theirs getting bloodied is duly noted.
Bad Moments in Broadcasting
Just a poor job by the Penguins broadcast team and production all around during this incident. Awful, really.
For the Sutton hit, they focused on how Sutton should have held up -- which he should have, no argument there, even if it was an in-tight split-second decision. Naturally, the camera focused on the injury and reactions to the injury the entire time Dupuis was being attended to.
Yet on the Ponikarovsky hit, the same announcers talk about Bailey "turning" (really? Poni started several feet away with the numbers in view the whole time) and then quickly move on to wondering -- and chuckling about -- whether Sidney Crosby will win the scoring title. It's like they were kids distracted by balloons. Or adults making out during "Schindler's List."
And the cameras? We hardly see much time of Bailey on the ice -- they actually spend more camera time showing Sidney Crosby
talking whining to the refs than they do showing the injured player lying prone on the ice. Nice work.
To be clear, both hits are wrong and should be avoided. But I'll take Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald's compassionate humanist pleas for cleaner checks more seriously once they pretend to give a damn about other teams' players, too.