The NHL Needs to Stop Protecting Crosby & Malkin

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJune 2, 2009

DETROIT - MAY 31:  Linesman Jean Morin #97 tries to break up a fight between Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings during Game Two of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on May 31, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

"Don't worry Evgeni, we'll protect you."

In case you don't know, that is what Colin Campbell—who just happens to be the Director of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League—phoned Penguins' center Evgeni Malkin moments after Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals was over because Evgeni Malkin broke a rule and by law, was going to be suspended for Game 3.

Don't believe me? Read the rule yourself, here it is:

Rule 47.22 in the NHL Rulebook states:

"A player or goalkeeper who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall automatically be suspended for one game."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Evgeni Malkin is a player that plays in the NHL, so that means, he is automatically suspended for Game 3 for starting a fight with Henrik Zetterberg in the final five minutes of Detroit's 3-1 win over the Penguins on Sunday night.

So that means the Penguins are shorthanded for their first game on home ice in the Stanley Cup Finals in which they find themselves down 0-2 to the Red Wings.

Unfortunately, that's not the case

According to Campbell, he doesn't think any of the criteria fits to the situation with Malkin, and he also doesn't think that Malkin or the Pens were trying to send a message by taking an extra whack at Wings' goalie Chris Osgood in the final minute when the game was already decided.

Well, Mr. Campbell, Malkin is a player who instigated a fight in the final five minutes of regulation time and by your league's rule, he should be suspended one game, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Not only did Malkin instigate the fight, he also whacked Zetterberg with his stick while, what seemed to be, throwing punches. That sounds a little dirty to me, something that needs to be taken out of the game.

Now lets go way back to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Daniel Carcillo was given the instigator penalty for a fight and used his butt-end of his stick during a faceoff which got him suspended for Game 2. Campbell, were you trying to make an example of Carcillo? I mean you did.

How about Sidney Crosby's actions at the end of Game 1 during this year's Finals? He slashed Kirk Maltby at the end of the game in which the Wings won. Not only does that show poor sportsmanship from the league's pretty boy, but it shows that the league doesn't care what Crosby or Malkin do because they'll get away with it.

Crosby wasn't suspended, penalized or fined for his actions. Instead, he wasn't even talked to for doing it. Malkin wasn't suspended for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of the game either.

Now I understand why Campbell and Gary Bettman don't want to suspend Crosby or Malkin; they're the league's poster boy hand-picked by Bettman. Taking these players out of the game because of bad sportsmanship and dirty tactics is bad for the game because viewership will be down.

Well Gary, not a lot of people are watching anyways and the reason why I'll miss the remaining two or three games of the series is because I'm tired of seeing the babying of Crosby and Malkin.

They are no better than anyone else; they are no exception to the rules. If you suspend Carcillo for instigating a fight in the final five minutes, then Malkin must go as well.

From a die-hearted hocked fan, stop protecting your babies because it makes your league look like a joke.


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