A new rule in the NHL connected to the All-Star weekend now finds two players suspended.
Sidney Crosby has been nursing a bad knee for the past week. Had he not played against the New York Rangers prior to the All-Star break, he would be back in Pittsburgh resting this weekend. Instead, he was told that if he didn’t show up in Montreal for the All-Star weekend, he would be suspended in the next game following the break.
So Crosby hopped on the next plane to Montreal. Even though he is here, he has been cleared to not play and has to stay in Montreal the entire weekend or the suspension will hold. This, of course, is an unfair measure, but the NHL’s rule is in an effort to ensure that the players actually show up for the weekend, instead of skipping it.
Crosby’s suspension will be waived since he made an effort to make good on his appearance, even though the rule cites that he must play if he was selected to be on the All-Star roster. Crosby received the most fan votes out of all the players in the entire league, so from the NHL’s perspective, the superstar needed to be in Montreal because it’s what the fans want…to see Sidney Crosby with their own eyes.
Crosby wasn’t the only one who was planning on not attending. Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk didn’t make the trip to Canada, nor do they plan to. The league announced that the two Detroit Red Wings will be suspended for the next regular season game.
Detroit’s head coach Mike Babcock was selected as the West’s head coach. When asked by the press today about the suspension of the two Red Wings, he said he didn’t believe it and that it was just media hype. Until the league formally tells him that his players were suspended, then he’ll believe it.
Right now, there is speculation that the league will be lenient and not let the rule stand. At the same time, if they did that, it would be unfair to Crosby who made the effort to come to Montreal knowing full well that he was not healthy enough to play. It’s almost as if the league didn’t believe that he was actually injured because he played against the Rangers prior to the break.
It is possible that the league is still waiting to see if Lidstrom and Datsyuk will make good and show up in Montreal. Lidstrom made family commitments already and has flat out refused to change them and bring his family to Montreal. Datsyuk has quoted personal reasons for not attending the festivities.
In keeping with the rules, which was approved by all 30 GMs, it would appear that the two Red Wings are destined to be suspended after the break.
In other news in Montreal, Roberto Luongo will sit out of the Skills Competition tonight since they want to ensure that he does not re-injure himself since he just recently came back after sitting out with a groin injury. He will play a period in the All-Star Game on Sunday for the West.
Fighting in hockey was brought up again this morning. As far as all of the coaches were concerned, they believe that fighting is a part of the game. It is up to the players to control the amount of violence in the game. It’s unfortunate that Don Sanderson died and that another incident in the AHL put a player in the hospital. There was a lot of talk about the importance of the helmets, and keeping them on during a brawl. Claude Julien said that taking the fighting away in such an emotional sport will cause problems somewhere else down the line. He forecasted that the situation would become worse if there was a fighting ban and that’s not the direction the league needs to go.
The NHL Skills Competition is tonight at 7:00 p.m. I’m off to the media luncheon and star gazing in the lobby. And like I said before, Chicago’s got nothing on how cold it is in Montreal! I literally cried when I was hit with an arctic blast of cold wind. Just to prove I’m not the only one who cried, at least 3 kids were crying from the cold, too. When their parents stopped to ask what was wrong, I could only say, “I can completely relate!”. I’ve never been this cold in my entire life!