SAN JOSE-The San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins meet Saturday night for the second and final time this season. In their only previous matchup, a 2-1 Bruins win in Boston, Sharks winger Tommy Wingels took a couple of questionable hits from defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton.
The Chara hit, if you recall, was an extremely late, and unnecessary head shot that should of at the least been called interference. Unfortunately for the Sharks nothing was called on the play. It’s another example of San Jose getting an abnormally low percentage of controversial plays ruled in their favor.
Go back to last year’s playoffs and Raffi Torres was suspended six games for his hit on Jarret Stoll, despite making initial contact with Stoll’s shoulder.
San Jose didn’t get the break there and they haven’t gotten the breaks this season. Brad Stuart was suspended earlier this year for his head shot on New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. While it is hard to argue Stuart’s hit wasn’t appropriately punished, the question remains where is the consistency?
If Stuart get’s three games for his hit, how does Chara escape without any supplemental discipline? Or how does the Blues’ Maxim Lappierre (a notoriously wreckless player with borderline NHL talent) get only five games for putting Dan Boyle on a stretcher? Or in San Jose’s last game, Detroit’s Dan Cleary purposefully elbows Scott Hannan in the side of the head and the league decides to do nothing?
One would think the Sharks are fed up with calls not going their way and with teams taking liberties but if they are, they certainly don’t show it. At least, Tommy Wingels wouldn’t go down that road.
“It’s in the past, that’s over with. We are worried about winning tonight’s game, no issue.” responded Wingels about the incidents in Boston. “I finish my checks, if [Chara] happens to be there in the corner with the puck I’m going to finish a hit on him just like I would any other defenseman. So I forgot about it, I move on pretty quickly, in this game I think you have to do that.”
One thing is for certain, in a game with the rough and tumble Bruins, it’d be nice to have Torres healthy and ready to go. The veteran winger and solid five-on-five scorer has been out all season rehabbing an ACL injury sustained in the preseason.
“This is definitely a man’s game” commented Torres after taking Saturday’s morning skate. “They are definitely a tough team to play against. You just got to play hard, those kind of [questionable] hits are inevitable, guys are stronger, faster, a lot more explosive than 15-20 years ago but [you] try to stay within the guidelines, you don’t want to see anyone going down.”
Torres continues to get better and better everyday. He says he hasn’t had any set backs in his recovery. It looks like worst case scenario he will be back after the Olympic break.
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