The NHL Playoffs are supposed to be about intensity. When Mike Brown rocked Jiri Hudler in game one, that intensity "crossed the line."
While opinions will vary on whether or not the hit was dirty, watching the replay should clearly settle the debate. There is a phrase in hockey, "don't admire your pass." Jiri Hudler may not have been admiring his pass, but he was vulnerable for that key moment.
Between periods, Dan Cleary was asked about the hit and said that he agreed with the call. At the same time, Ron Mclean and Kelly Hrudey were condemning the call. Neither views are absolute but it reminded me of a different playoff event.
A few years back when playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Doug Gilmour was assessed a penalty he was none to pleased about. He displayed his displeasure by slamming the penalty box door, and in doing so, shattered the glass on the door. Unamused, Gilmour sat down to serve his time. As expected, the shattering had quite an effect on the officials and "Dougie" picked up a misconduct.
Of course, if the glass did not break, Gilmour's original two minute minor would have been the only call.
So the question is, would Mike Brown be assessed a match penalty for his hit on Hudler if Hudler's equipment did not fly off for a yard sale and his own visor did not bloody his face and the ice?
No, Brown would not. He would have his hit played repeadetly on Sportscenter, Hockey Night in Canada, and any other broadcast involving a stick and a puck. The hit would be praised, very much like Chris Kunitz's hit on Kimmo Timonen.
While I am not a fan of Ducks dropping Red Wings, I am a fan of physical and raw hockey. Hockey that is not dictated by replays and judgemental reactions. Let 'em play!