Eric Godard skates to protect his goaltender Brent Johnson
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Penguins fans will always be too sensitive when they feel their team is being unfairly attacked and Pens haters will always say the NHL goes out of their way to protect them.
When something big like the brawl on Long Island happens, everyone wants to compare it to something else and take bits and pieces from different games. Even if the games were 20 years ago (i.e. the Ulf Samuelsson comparisons that have been thrown around). The only problem with that is it's like comparing apples to oranges.
Everyone wants to compare the Trevor Gillies elbow to the Matt Cooke hit on the Boston Bruins' Marc Savard. Whether you agree with the League or not, the Cooke hit was reviewed and he was not suspended; just like Mike Richards was not suspended for his hit on David Booth.
Not only did Gillies hit Eric Tangradi from behind in the head; he then proceeded to punch him across the head repeatedly when he was clearly injured. Cooke didn't do that to Savard. Cooke also didn't taunt Savard when he was down the way Gillies taunted Tangradi. Only Matt Cooke can get partial blame for a brawl-filled game in which he didn't even play.
Matt Martin sucker punches Max Talbot to make up for a hit Talbot put on the Isles Blake Comeau in their previous meeting in Pittsburgh. Again, like it or not, the hit was reviewed by the League and it was deemed that no disciplinary action needed to be taken. If Martin wanted to fight Talbot, he probably would have accepted. Talbot has no problem fighting, just ask Daniel Carcillo.
Michael Haley leaves one fight and instead of going to the penalty box, he then goes down and challenges Brent Johnson to a fight to make up for Rick DiPietro getting knocked out in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.
DiPietro, however, agreed to that fight back in Pittsburgh. In fact, DiPietro initiated the melee back in Pittsburgh by going after Cooke of all people. There was no sucker punch there in that fight. He just got beat in a fight in which he wanted to participate. Eric Godard will serve his suspension, but he stood up for Johnson. Goalie on goalie fighting is one thing, but a goon on goalie is totally different.
The game was a circus. The sad part is the Isles were already getting revenge by embarrassing the Pens soundly on the scoreboard, but decided that wasn't enough. They wanted real blood too. The Isles deserved everything they got from the League, and much, much more.