Hodgemail: Is playoff mayhem enhancing your enjoyment? Staff

4/19/2012 11:46:49 PM

A few days before the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger asked a Western Conference general manager for his thoughts on how the postseason would be played out.

The GM's answer was simple and prophetic - it was going to be nasty.

And for the first week of the NHL's second season, nasty has been just one word to describe the play thus far.

Where headlines are concerned, postseason accomplishments have been overtaken by dirty play, questionable hits, scary injuries and eight (that's right) suspensions. That's one for every day of the playoffs so far with more on the way.

And it's certainly something that has polarized everyone who follows the game. On one side, it's argued that this isn't indicitive of Canada's national pasttime and that the game has taken a turn for the worse. At the other end of the argument, it's a part of the game - brought on by emotion, drama and intensity and only makes the postseason that much better to watch.

So here's Dave's question to you: "Is the on-ice mayhem that brings multiple suspensions enhancing your enjoyment of the Stanley Cup playoffs, or detracting from it?"

Here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Paul had these comments: "Chicago screams about Raffi Torres. I didn't hear Chicago say anything about Duncan Keith. What the NHL is doing doesn't work - time to try something else."

This from Joe: "If the next Philly-Pittsburgh game were on Saturday instead of Friday, I'd re-schedule my wedding."

Daryl offers this thought: "Only when they faced elimination did the Penguins concentrate on playing hockey. Funny how well that works."

Fil writes: "It makes you wonder why we didn't see more of Colton Orr and Jay Rosehill down the stretch. The Leafs could still be playing."

Greg sent this observation: "With so many stoppages, I have time to go to the fridge without missing any goals, so I guess it has enhanced my enjoyment."

John writes this e-mail: "Hockey is no longer family entertainment. I won't let my kids watch the playoffs unless I'm there to monitor the TV set."

And Norm had to know we'd use this: "Instead of switching to a 2-2 Ottawa-NY Rangers tie game, I kept watching Pittsburgh's 10-3 blowout of Philly, just in case. You're welcome, TSN."

And Dave's Reply to All:

The NHL has a clear choice that it can't make. It has to choose between mayhem and safety. It wants both, but it can't have both.

Some in the hockey audience would make the choice for the NHL by wiping out the office of Brendan Shanahan in order to create an "anything goes" jungle that would let the animals hurt each other and deal with each other.

The NHL might like the consistency that doing nothing would provide, but the NHL can't shrug its shoulders and look the other way - not as long as it professes to care about concussions, and of course, it should care and it must care about concussions.

It's out of business if it doesn't, and even at that, beware the lawsuits from victims of hockey violence that are bound to mirror the current situation in football.

So the choice should be easy, but as hard as it tries to avoid making it, the NHL is seen to be confused, and out of control, and negligent.