NHL Playoffs 2012: Craig Adams Must Be Suspended for Actions Against Flyers

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIApril 15, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 29: Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins watches from the bench during the game against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 29, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 5-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins are down 3-0 in their opening round series, and are handling it just how anyone would suspect a team of their integrity level to do.

With just under five minutes to play in the third period of Sunday afternoon's Game 3, the end of an extended stoppage in play resulted in a fight between Scott Hartnell of the Flyers and Craig Adams of the Penguins.

Hartnell was standing on the ice when Sidney Crosby grabbed him from behind. As Crosby got rougher with Hartnell, Hartnell pushed back and a minor wrestling match ensued.

Though no punches were thrown between Hartnell and Crosby, Adams stepped into the altercation.

Adams dropped his gloves, and started throwing punches at Hartnell from behind. It is cowardly to team up on someone, but disgusting to do so from behind.

Once Hartnell was able to get away from Adams, the two squared off, giving Hartnell a fair shot at fighting back.

However, when the two came together, Adams decided to bail out of the fight by hugging Hartnell.

He threw several punches at the defenseless Hartnell from behind when Crosby was holding him, but could not fight him face-to-face.

The display was almost as embarrassing as the Penguins' effort in this series.

The official NHL rulebook states that

"A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at anytime in overtime (see 46.12) shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident. "

So unless a review of the incident somehow deems it okay for Adams to punch Hartnell from behind as the third man involved in the altercation, the instigator penalty with 4:42 left in regulation means he should be gone for Game 4.



Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers. He is available on Twitter for updates, analysis and commentary.