Deep Sixed

by

Unlike Blair Betts the other night, we saw this one coming.

Donald Brashear has been suspended by the NHL for a total of six games for his actions prior to and during Game 6 of the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals first round playoff series. Which means he’ll miss Game 7 tomorrow night and five further contests should his team advance. According to the league there was a one game suspension for a confrontation with Colton Orr during warm-ups and five games for a cheap, brutal blindside elbow to the head of Betts during the game which resulted in a broken orbital bone that has put him out indefinately.

It’s a stiff penalty but one wonders if it’s stiff enough for a stiff like that. Brashear, obviously unable to contribute to his team in any other way on the ice, felt the need to bring his goonish brand of thuggery to the contest in the only way he knew how, too stupid to see how it might hurt his team. There is a place for tough hockey in the NHL Playoffs. In fact, some would deem it essential to winning, but the actions of Brashear, as stated previously, are not tough hockey and they have no place in an honest, hard-hitting playoff game.

Should the suspension have been longer? I don’t know. It irks me to think that Huggy Bear might return to skate again for the Caps should they move on and make a run at the Cup. Certainly the thought of him ever touching it is repugnant enough. The real consideration, however, is how to deal with the damage done to Betts, who will likely not return, regardless of how far his team can progress through the post season. Damage done deliberately by someone intending to injure and disable him. Damage the extent of which remains to be seen.

It’s not something that should be taken lightly.

In any case, it puts me in the awkward position of actually rooting for the Rangers tomorrow night (don’t tell anyone). Not just because I want to see actions like that punished but for my own selfish desire to see another bitter rival arrive ot the hometown rink to do battle in the next round.

I feel dirty.

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