Even though there are five playoff games scheduled today, the biggest NHL news of the day is Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres’ 25-game suspension for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. Brendan Shanahan finally stepped up and sent a message to players that this behavior in the postseason will not be tolerated. You can see his full explanation in the video below.

The violence in the playoffs was a popular topic of discussion even before Torres hit and his hit put it into overdrive. It seemed like every time I’ve signed into twitter in the past week there are more articles criticizing Brendan Shanahan and dirty play on the ice filling up my newsfeed.

The biggest problem with this is instead of talking about some of the great games that have been played so far we’re talking about suspensions and Shanahan. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone. In the week that I’ve started my blog, all four of my posts have been about suspensions. But my point is there are some other great (and more positive) storylines that are being ignored because of suspensions and dirty play.

One example is today’s Capitals-Bruins game. It was simply put a great game of playoff hockey. Both teams played great and it wasn’t until almost halfway through the game that Alexander Semin scored the first goal of the game to put the Capitals up 1-0. Jay Beagle added another goal 3 minutes later to put the Capitals up by another goal. But the Bruins responded with two goals about 30 seconds apart to tie the game. The Capitals went on to win 4-3 and took a 3-2 series lead. It’s hard to believe the 7th seeded Caps, who only a few weeks ago were in danger of missing the playoffs, can knock off the defending Stanley Cup champs tomorrow afternoon in Washington D.C.

Or look at last night’s Detroit-Nashville game. The Predators closed out their series with a 2-1 win at home against their division rival. It was the first time since 2006 that Detroit was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how deep into the playoffs the Predators can advance after winning only their second playoff series in franchise history.

Both of these storylines, and others, are being overshadowed by debates and commentary on Shanahan and on-ice violence. Let’s hope that the Torres suspension sends a message to the players and the rest of the playoffs we can focus on great hockey instead of these negatives.

 





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