I’ll invoke a name and that will inspire both groans of displeasure and distaste as well as defensive reactions from those who support their team’s player: Brad Marchand.
Can I say it a third time? No, I’m not trying to apply a licking on your emotions (how gross a joke?)… It’s something else. It’s something larger. It’s not to incite Bruins fans specifically or re-invoke the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals. It’s just an opening line of evidence that needs to be cited.
“Evidence to what?” you might ask? Oh, it’s stuff that’s been doing more than just milling around the National Hockey League during the 2017-18 NHL season. No, it’s not multiple players licking or biting opponents, it’s grander than that. Not a grander action on the player front. No, no, it’s a grander failure by the NHL, be it on-ice officials or those in the executive offices, regarding rule enforcement.
It’s mid-December in 2017, just shy of the true middle of the 2017-18 season and there’s a noteworthy lacking going on. Oh, it is an on-ice failing but it’s not a singular player statistic or performance. It’s team unction and wins and losses. And inaction by the management and ownership of any NHL franchise.
There’s a lingering story around the league about poor play and it’s coming from a variety of clubs:
- The abyss that is the Buffalo Sabres keeps treading in the murk of the NHL standings as it has for too long now. They have only 23 points in 33 games played as of this writing.
- Discontent from fans and mediocrity from the teams stymies the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers.
- Rick Tocchet may get a pass by way of it being his first season as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes but the team is truly in the cellar with only 7 wins and 19 points total.
The Metro Division is a neck-and-neck race (with six points being the difference between first place (New Jersey Devils) and last (Carolina Hurricanes).
Suffice it to say, I’m shocked we haven’t seen the axe fall somewhere and a coach get dismissed for mediocrity or an abominable performance by his club. Continue reading