This is one of the best times of the year for sports fans, with the beginning of the MLB season, and the start of the NBA and NHL playoffs.
The NHL postseason is one of the greatest things in all of sports, with the clutch plays, the surprising heroes, and, of course, the captain who gets to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head.
There's another thing about the NHL playoffs that we love—the hard hits. Who doesn't love a hard check that knocks down a player and charges up a team?
The fans love it, the players love it, the coaches love it. Even the refs probably love it.
However, there is something no one loves, and that's players getting injured. You always get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when a player goes down and doesn't move.
Who knows what's going to happen to the player's career?
Unfortunately, we had one of those moments recently when Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes hit Chicago's Marian Hossa so hard he was lifted off his feet. After the play, no penalty was called, but Hossa was taken off on a stretcher.
The NHL recently announced the shocking punishment, an incredible 25-game suspension that ranks as the fourth-longest in NHL history. It was the eighth suspension in these playoffs (there were only four in last year's playoffs), and this is only the first round!
That wasn't the only dirty playoff hit. The biggest jerk move goes to the Predators' Shane Weber, who just skipped any kind of subtlety by grabbing Henrik Zetterberg's head and slamming it into the glass. Incredibly, the NHL didn't suspend Weber but instead fined him the league maximum $2,500.
Weber is making $7.5 million this year. Do you think the guy even noticed the money being taking out of his paycheck?
Here's the thing. I'm not some guy who complains about every little hit. But there comes a point where we have to ask if a hit is clean or dirty.
Raffi Torres' hit wasn't really a hit worth a 25-game suspension, but it's clear the NHL wants to make a statement.
So the question is, has this postseason been a hard-played postseason or a dirty postseason, and how many players are going to be carried off on stretchers before the NHL starts cracking down on refs and players?