This blogger has been a fan of Doug Weight for a long time. Tonight, the fandom is over.
In the third period while rookie Brandon Sutter was extending himself and trying to make a play on the puck when approaching the Islanders zone, Weight lowered his shoulder and took out the vulnerable, 19-year-old. Sutter laid on the ice motionless for quite some time before being helped to the dressingroom.
According to the rules it was a legal hit. But was it a "clean" hit? Was it really necessary? Weight made no attempt at all to play the puck, he lowered his shoulder and went right after his young, inexperienced target.
Many fans will have no problem with that play calling it, "a part of hockey". Sutter will certainly learn his lesson. He'll learn that he should never try that hard to make a play again, so that he won't put himself in a similar situation. Better to hold back and play it safe, then to try to make a hustle play and be vulnerable.
Matt Cullen learned his lesson, and he hasn't been the same daring, dynamic player since his last concussion.
And the NHL is trying to figure out how to increase scoring?
While the NFL has figured out that it doesn't do their league any good to have their stars carted off the field with concussions, the NHL doesn't care. Helmet to helmet hits are illegal in football. Taking another player's head off is a "good play" in the NHL.
Eric Staal spoke from the heart and said it best after the game. "Weight made no attempt to play the puck, he went right after Sutter". That's not an upset hockey blogger talking, that's an ex-teammate.
What might be even more frustrating for fans is that there was no retribution after the play. Poor little Ryan Bayda was called for roughing.
Apparently, Wade Brookbank (1:47) and Dan LaCouture (4:02) had already played their allotted minutes for the game and were not allowed to leave the bench, which leads to a completely different topic which we will discuss later.
The hockey game was a wild and crazy affair. The Hurricanes allowed a franchise record 60 shots on goal, but Cam Ward was on top of his game and stopped 57 of them.
Carolina got off to a fast start and took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Chad LaRose and Rod Brind'Amour.
Freddie Meyer got the Islanders started with a goal in the second period, but Eric Staal stole the puck and made a nice shot to put the Canes back up by two, 3-1.
Then the Islanders started to take liberties as Nate Thompson took runs at Tim Gleason and then Ray Whitney. After Whitney ducked out of the way of the attempted high hit on him, Gleason skated over to challenge Thompson and quickly took him down to the ice as both players were given respective five minute fighting majors.
In the meantime, the Islanders were starting to take over the hockey game. The Hurricanes couldn't keep out of the penalty box, which certainly didn't help matters.
The New Yorkers made the score 3-2 early in the third period when Sean Bergenheim scored a short-handed tally. The shooter skated right into Cam Ward and took out the goalie on the play, but no penalty was called.
The home team kept almost constant pressure on the Canes but Chad LaRose was able to score another goal on a beautiful play by Brandon Sutter. The rookie had been skating very well up until Weight took him out of the game, which is exactly what Thompson tried to do to Ray Whitney just a bit earlier in the contest.
The Islanders made it close again as Mark Streit finally took advantage of the man advantage and rifled in a shot on a powerplay. It seemed like the home team had the man advantage most of the game.
Cam Ward was able to hold off numerous shots and attempts the rest of the game until things got weird near the end. The Islanders pulled their goalie and skated the puck up to their own blue line, then shot the puck into the Hurricanes zone. The Canes touched up, thinking that it was an obvious icing call, but none was provided.
There was a flurry of activity all around the goal, and the puck ended up loose in the crease. Tim Gleason dove on it, illegally covering the puck and the Islanders were awarded a penalty shot with 0.7 seconds left. As luck would have it, Doug Weight was selected by his coach to take the shot. Karma came back to bite Weight though, and Cam Ward made the save to ice the game for the Canes.
At the time of this article, Sutter was in the hospital and was going to stay there over-night for observation. Joni Pitkanen also left the game early with a possible knee injury. No other information was provided.
The Canes should be given credit for their effort in this game, but they seem to be physically beaten up already this season. Teams know that they can't skate with Carolina and match up with their skill, so they get rough with them and go after the team physically. If they can manhandle the Canes, then they will have a much better chance to beat them, and if players get hurt in the process then so-be-it.
One thing for certain, Caniacs are getting tired of watching their players get carried off the ice. Much more about this topic later.