What a horrific result on the Matt Martin - Keith Ballard hit. This is a prime example of not suspending on the result.
Had Ballard just ‘taken’ the hit he would have been fine, however self -preservation understandably came into action and obviously tried to get out of the way.
It is also the risk of hits on the bench side of the ice, Ballard knew getting hit there would have bloody hurt and also tipped him into the bench. If that hit occurs on the penalty box side of the rink and Ballard just rides out the contact against the glass.
It is one of the risks of playing this sport, it is enclosed within hard unforgiving boundary’s and it is unique in that manner. It is something that is often forgotten by us fans who like to label NHL players ‘soft’. To get to this level requires a good level of bravery. Players may try to avoid getting hit, but their ability to skate at the speed they do, knowing they are going to end up getting plastered or sliding into those boards, well, I tip my hat.
What is disappointing is the commentary by Mike Greelay of the Fox Sports coverage for the Wild, straight away made accusations against the hit only because it was Matt Martin. We all know of the ‘homer’ color guy, I watch a lot of Penguins games and it has got to the point that I have to watch the away coverage due to the massive bias in the coverage.
What the league does not need is the regional coverage making it hard enough for the officials and the Department of Player Safety. That last statement even sounds hypocritical with some of the articles I have written of late. However I have at least had the opportunity to watch replay’s before stating it is a dirty hit.
I may seem harsh with the volume of games I want to see players suspended for, but in this situation there was nothing wrong with what Matt Martin did, it was an unfortunate consequence of the human reaction to self preservation. It is a great example of the Department of Player Safety not suspending on the result and kudos to that!
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