When all of the dust settled, the Flyers still won 6-4 but the league would have their say. Laviolette was fined $10,000 for his actions and Granato was fined $2,500. Interestingly enough, Asham was not suspended for instigation and, subsequently, Bylsma was not suspended for one game despite breaking the rule. The rule states, “A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty, subject to the conditions outlined in 46.22” and 46.22 reads, “A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime (see 46.12) hall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident. When the one-game suspension is imposed, the Coach shall be fined $10,000 – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.” Looks like the league has protected the Penguins once again.
"Absolutely, it’s a cheap, dirty hit," Tortorella said, his voice rising. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, I wonder what would happen? So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect among players. None. It’s sickening."
"Ask the guy who did it, ask him," Tortorella said when pressed on the lack of respect among players. "It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time and look what happens. It’s ridiculous, but they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two (freakin’) stars."
And this is from a guy who is hated in Philadelphia! It took a lot for me to say “Wow, Tortorella is right.” But, trust me, I agree with every word he said. Where does this leave us? It leaves us with Penguins poster child, Sidney Crosby, calling the claims from the Rangers and Flyers “garbage.” After the Flyers-Penguins brawl, a beat writer from the Pittsburgh Tribune said the Flyers calling the Penguins dirty was “the pot calling the kettle black-and-orange.” This is one in a series of events that further substantiates the Penguins fans’ mindset that their team is not dirty.
I am a Flyers fan through and through. I am not oblivious to the fact that Danny Briere is a dirty player. I see that Chris Pronger is a dirty player. I am not oblivious that Scott Hartnell can be a dirty player. It does not bother me and, when people call the Flyers a dirty team, they are usually correct. Physical hockey can sometimes be perceived as dirty. One thing that seems to be consistent among Penguins players and fans are that they are not dirty but simply the victim in all of this. It seems difficult to think that a team that is built around two skilled players who do this and this is not a dirty team. We have not even mentioned Matt Cooke.
After talking to multiple hockey fans from both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and ages ranging from 21 to 58, it became quite apparent: it is not the fact that the Penguins are dirty that bother people, it is that they are dirty and then complain about every call they do not get (despite the fact that they get more calls than almost any other team). The Penguins are a protected team because Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin make the league a lot of money because they are superstars. Unfortunately, they are not the gritty superstars that play the game hard and take their hits and keep moving. They are whiny, prissy superstars who complain when they do not get calls but are also secretly dirty. As NBC analyst Mike Millbury said that Sidney Crosby is a “little punk.” I have yet to find anyone (barring Penguins fans) who disagrees with Millbury.
This series is going to be physical. This series is going to be dirty. The only thing hockey fans can hope for is that the referees do not take over the games.
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