NHL Playoffs 2012: 3 Pittsburgh Penguins to Miss Game 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Professor BushCorrespondent IIIApril 18, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: Scott Hartnell #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers fights with Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Penguins 8-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be missing three regular players in Game 4 of their playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers. The three missing players were all penalized for activities in Game 3. It is good to see that the NHL took some steps to try to prevent further excessive violence and related injuries in the playoffs.

ESPN reported Craig Adams received a one-game suspension for instigating a fight near the end of the game.

According to Comcast SportsNet Philly, Aaron Asham received a four-game suspension for cross-checking Brayden Schenn in the throat and then pummeling Schenn after he had fallen to the ice.

James Neal received a one-game suspension for his head-hunting expedition against Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier.  Might it be a coincidence that these two players each had a hat trick in Game 2?

An argument can certainly be made that both the Asham and Neal suspensions should have been longer, given the severity of their attacks. But we can only hope that players start to get the message that blows above the shoulders will not be tolerated.

Perhaps with these players missing, we might see a little less nonsense and a little more hockey tonight in Game 4. But you never can tell.

The Flyers need to end the series tonight. They can't let the Pens get a chance to sneak back into the series. If the Flyers can close out the series, the extra rest could help them be more competitive with either the Rangers or Bruins. Both of these teams had the Flyers number during the regular season.

The Penguins have the best two hockey players in the world, so they won't go quietly. But nonetheless, my broom is ready for action.