The NHL has suspended Scott Hartnell for two games after his hit on the Bruins' Andrew Alberts last night. Marking the fourth time a Flyer has been suspended in this young season, the reaction around the league has been harsh. Maybe I'm on the side of the fan spectrum that has an unhealthy passion to see rough play, but I really didn't think it was as bad as it's being made out to be. It was Alberts' decision to play the puck from his knees and put himself in a vulnerable position; if he stayed on his skates, no one would have anything to say. So what was Hartnell supposed to do, peel off and let Alberts shuffle the puck back into the zone? It was a hit on a vulnerable player, and maybe he deserved a penalty (and the major for boarding was only given after it was clear Alberts was banged up bad). But this nonsense about the Flyers being out to hurt people is just bullshit.
It's not the worst criticism though, to be compared to the Broad Street Bullies, as Hartnell would agree. Tim Panaccio quotes him as follows:
"I think we got that reputation. I don't know if it s back in the day
or what's happening right now. We've got that badge on our shoulder as
kind of a rough and tough team and we have to welcome that. Even if I
do get suspended, I am still going to finish my checks."
Atta boy. What else can you do? This is hockey.
Also, Simon Gagne might be out another month while still recovering from a concussion. There were no suspensions after that hit. Alberts won't even miss a game.