Yesterday when relaying some quotes about Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, I noted that Ottawa forward Chris Neil surprisingly has never been suspended by the NHL.
Neil is one of those players that is constantly playing on the edge, so it stood to reason somewhere along the line he would’ve run into the long arm of the law. Not only hasn’t he been suspended, he even once got away with a ‘turnbuckle’ hit similar to the one Chara threw at Montreal’s Max Pacioretty Tuesday night:
I’m sure the folks in Montreal were just as up in arms about Neil’s hit on Scottie Upshall as they are now about the Chara hit and lack of a suspension. I can’t seem to remember the owner of the Canadiens issuing an open letter renouncing Neil’s actions.
At the risk of going all Jerry Seinfeld on this situation, isn’t it ridiculous that this is all about laundry. It’s not about Chara’s intent or Pacioretty’s well-being or any other players’ safety. It’s about the sweaters these guys are wearing. Canadiens fans only care because it’s one of their own, just like Bruins fans were only enraged last spring when it was Marc Savard knocked into another dimension.
It’s time to stop arguing over laundry and just accept that in hockey there’s risk involved and an unfortunate accident resulted in a serious injury. The Canadiens will have their shot at Chara later this month. If they choose to go at him in a similar fashion, they’ll be taking a similar risk and could bring on some supplemental discipline from the league.
It’s always better when these things are hashed out on the rink instead of the boardrooms, offices and airwaves.