One of the things that makes playoff hockey so enjoyable is that the physicality of the game picks up as the referees seem to put the whistles away and allow “the boys to play.” Ticky-tack penalties aren’t called and clutch-and-grab defense prevails. In Game 2 of their first round playoff series, the Nashville Predators and Detroit Wings combined for seventeen minor penalties for a total of 38 penalty minutes.
The most notorious penalty being a Shea Weber roughing infraction at the end of the game that would have made any WWE villain blush in shame. After receiving a crosscheck from Henrik Zetterberg the Nashville captain grabbed Zetterberg’s head and smashed it into the glass. Many thought that Weber might face a suspension but the NHL opted to fine him $2500, which is the maximum allowed for such an incident.
Thanks to some lucky bounces and solid team defense Nashville eventually won Game 1 by a score of 3-2. If Nashville is going to win this series and advance to the second round of the playoffs then the 6 foot 4 Shea, who had 177 hits during the regular season, needs to continue to play his physical style of hockey.
Game 2 saw Red Wings’ veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi square off with Weber just 1:36 into the game. Bertuzzi said his scrap was just a hockey play but you could tell it was more than that. It was an individual standing up for another individual which resulted in the team coming together. Seeing Bertuzzi drop the gloves with Weber gave Detroit momentum which they were able to feed off of all night and eventually evened the series at 1-1 with a 3-2 road win.
Weber, who scored Nashville’s second goal of the night, understood that Bertuzzi was just supporting his teammates and knows the fight was just part of the game. “I’m sure anyone in here would do the same thing if stuff happened,” Weber said.
Hopefully both teams will consider this a closed incident now and they can continue to play the fast, physical style of hockey that has made this the most exciting Western Conference first round series to watch. Game 3 of the series will be played Sunday in Detroit at 12PM.