So once again we are at the cross roads as a fan base. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a checkered past when it comes to hypocrisy on hits, both clean and dirty. We have had our fair share of being the hitter and the hit. As a franchise and a fan base I think we would be prepared to defend the player attempting to play the puck.
It appears I was wrong.
Brian Dumoulin has no past of predatory hits, in fact as Dejan Kovacevic rightfully points out, he only has 30 PIMS his entire 111 game NHL career. But that does not mean he wasn't in the wrong on his hit of Foligno. If Dumoulin tracks Foligno to the boards with is body and not use his stick to make up the gap, that doesn't happen. Dumoulin is also right, that play happens all over the ice in every game. But when you are in no mans land, it is the responsibility of the player without the puck to retrieve the puck correctly.
This was not Foligno's fault, his legs almost lock right before contact, balance in skates is precious thing, so is timing.
Nazim Kadri makes that hit on Crosby, with that result, what do you think happens? This fan base goes nuts.
Phil Kessel gets driven into the boards like that by Radko Gudas, what do you think happens? This fan base goes nuts.
The Department of Player Safety have made it perfectly clear that prior offenses do not get you a hearing, but they do extend the length of a suspension. This and the fact that Foligno comes back in the game will mean Dumoulin wont get a suspension.
It should have been a 5 minute major, why? Because the NHL for too long has not protected the players who are actually attempting to make a play with the puck. For too long star players in this league have to wear a badge of honor of fighting through it more than any other major league sport; Adam Gretz (@AGretz) covers this off extremely well here.
Foligno is no star, far from it, but on a bad Buffalo team he is taking 22 shifts a game for just under 17 mins, they are top 6 minutes, even if he is not getting top 6 results.
The fact the officials didn’t feel it warranted even a 2 min minor because they too felt Foligno dove shows an inherent bias against the victim, and a reason the NHL will continue to languish as the distant cousin to NFL, NBA and MLB.
Ha! Apparently runs in the Foligno family! https://t.co/srl95xl4Mz— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) November 20, 2016
The implication that it runs in the family does no one any favors, even if said in jest. You have a subscription based Pittsburgh audience, there are choices as a publisher:
- pander the parochial nature of a fan base;
- or try to help educate.
Say what you will about the amount of force (or lack there of) from Dumoulin, but he still cross checked Foligno straight in the back with his stick, he had choices to make when playing the player or the puck, he just made the wrong one in this situation.
That is not Foligno's fault, the victim, I watched the game with a friend who is not as crazy as I am about this sport, but his first look at the hit was it was dirty, when watching the replay I tried the 'he dove' case to see his reaction.
The response; "don’t be stupid, Dumo shouldn't have pushed him in the back." It might be his lower back but the numbers were still squarely in Dumoulin's face, he either has to go between the legs of Foligno with his stick to play the puck or get beside him and cross check his hip.
That is a skill error, nothing more, nothing less, Dumo wasn’t attempting to plant Foligno into the boards to hurt him, but to slow him up so a teammate could retrieve the puck. To suggest this is Foligno's fault by quoting Dumoulin and the staff of the player in question is lazy. What are they going to say? They should be defending their player, I would expect nothing less.
So for a fan base that has lost so many games to current stars like Letang, and Crosby, on questionable hits, how about we show a little more respect to the opposition when a player from The 'Burgh screws up.
For the record, IF it was to go to Player Safety, I'd give Dumoulin 6 games.
Thanks for reading.