Puck Rakers are reporting that Jan Hedja has been suspended for two games for the elbowing minor he took in the Chicago game. Further, recently the NHL declined to add further discipline by on this hit by Todd Bertuzzi, conveniently shown on Puck Daddy, even though he was ejected from the game. This is just further proof that there is a Detroit Redwings rule book and a 'rest of the NHL, particularly the Blue Jackets' rule book. Click here to add your critical 'you're just whining because you are out of the playoffs' comment.
A good example of this is well before the lock out. I was at a CBJ v Detroit game back when Sergei Federov was still a Redwing. Sergei took a penalty he didn't like, and whacked the puck clear across the rink, I mean from near the bench to the penalty boxes, and the refs darn near had to drag him to the box, but no 'delay' or 'unsportsmanlike' penalty for the mighty Federov. Double D (Derek Dorsett) smacks a puck off the near board and goes to the box, and he gets hit with the 'T'. Double D ought to know better. But that's a penalty in the rule book that applies to us, not the one that applies to Detroit.
And I was watching a Redwings v Chicago game about a week ago, and sure enough, what passes for hooking, holding, and interference in the rest of the league is 'just a hockey play' at the Joe.
The point to all of this is not that we need to be as good as the other teams to compete in this league, we need to be better.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch wrote an article today about the progress Jake and Brass have shown this year. I've been wanting to write something on this for a while, but Porty beat me to the punch. The point I want to make is that Brass and Jake have now toured the NHL, and played against everyone's top defensive matchup. There are players who seem to take that in stride, Nash, Crosby, Ovechkin (and I would point out that these tend to be those 'number 1 overall' picks, the elite talent of their class), that don't seem to struggle with this. Jake and Brass are high first round picks (7th and 6th overall respectively) and should be able to do this with time. But it should not be expected immediately.
Keep in mind that Jake and Brass were elevated from the second line to the top line, and the performance expectations were elevated at the same time. In other words, we are going to expose you to the top defenders in the NHL, and you need to be better than you were last year. This is a pretty unrealistic expectation.
But now they know. They know what it means to be in a playoff hunt, where the responsibility for performance is yours, not some other guy's. They take this experience into the off season, and should be better for it next year. I think Howson should be able to get Jake back on a fairly workable contract. Jake and Brass deserve another kick at the can before we start judging where they are going in their careers.
Carry the Flag in a recent article (which I can't link to, as the their web domain has changed, sorry) talked about signing Brad Richards for 'Nash like money' for 3 to 4 years. With Richards age, I'd rather do that for a 2 year contract. But the notion of Richards lining up next to Nash is pretty compelling. My buddy Bill has said that the CBJ will never really be good until Nash is the second best player on the team. He's probably right.
Anyone got any comments on the notion of signing Brad Richards to 'Nash like money'? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts.