At this time of the year, a lot of games have what people will call a real “playoff atmosphere,” and Tuesday night’s tilt between the Flyers and Senators was no exception.
With all the talk of a lack of respect in the game these days and players in vulnerable positions getting hit, there’s one incident I’d like to focus on here.
Less than 20 seconds into the third period Ottawa defenseman Anton Volchenkov drilled Simon Gagne sorta from behind along the boards.
The breakout pass comes from the Philadelphia zone to a waiting Gagne at centre ice; he bounces the puck off the boards in what is a pretty routine play, turning towards the boards as he does so. That’s when Volchenkov lays into him, sending the oft-injured forward crashing face first into the rink side advertisements.
The real injustice here is that when Gagne went after Volchenkov at the end of the play, which Ottawa scored on, he wound up with 19 minutes in penalties (five for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and two instigator penalties). Check out the video:
To me, that’s one of those hits where the defending player should ease up when he sees the other guy turn. The best part of this clip is something one of the Sportsnet broadcasters says during the replays:
“You know he’s coming and you turn your back - why would you trust somebody not to hit you?”
Why would you trust somebody not to hit you if you’re in a vulnerable position? How about: why would a guy see you in a vulnerable position and still hit you?
The worst part is, Ottawa ended up with a seven-minute power play.
What do you think? Was it a dirty hit? Should Gagne have received 19 penalty minutes? Is there no respect in the game anymore?