League turns other way on Letang slash to Stalberg


During the third period of last night’s game, the refs missed an obvious penalty on Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang. In a battle behind his net, he slashed Rangers forward Viktor Stalberg in the face. No call came. Stalberg went back to the bench to receive treatment after losing three teeth. Here is the video:

It’s not pretty. The Department of Player Safety didn’t even have a hearing with Letang for the incident. A cheap shot that should’ve been a double minor for high-sticking. Instead, the Pens’ star blue liner will not face supplementary discipline. Not even a fine folks. Puck Daddy writer Greg Wyshsynski delved a little further into the bizarre explanation as to why there was no suspension.

2. Now check the left arm of Letang on the slow-motion replay. As he absorbs the Moore hit, his left arm slams against the glass, and as it does his stick – which he’s carrying dangerously high already – snaps into the neck of Stalberg. The NHL believes his left glove or the end of his stick catches a stanchion on the glass. The hit by Moore causes him to twist and makes the stick go forward into Stalberg’s neck.

Blaming Dominic Moore for this is like the ridiculous Magic Bullet Theory from The Warren Commission on JFK. Since it is another series between the Rangers and Pens, it’s fair to bring up the Marc Staal two-hander to Sidney Crosby’s neck which didn’t merit any discipline either. At least they’re consistent.

This is the same league that only gave Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for his dirty hit from behind on a defenseless Dmitry Orlov. A check from behind that resulted in a major and game misconduct, which saw the Caps make the Flyers pay on the scoreboard with two of their five power play goals coming in a ugly 6-1 win in Game Three. Here’s the replay:

That was embarrassing for Philadelphia with its fans tossing a giveaway of Ed Snider bracelets on the ice with one even hitting Orlov as he was being treated. He’s lucky he didn’t suffer a concussion or a serious neck injury. It’s astonishing that Bellemare only got a game for that. What’s even sadder is that on a night the Flyers paid tribute to Snider, it came to a point where both Alexander Ovechkin and Wayne Simmonds pleaded with the fans to stop tossing bracelets. Even Flyers PA announcer Lou Nolan blasted the fans for their idiocy:

These are the same fans who cheered after Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik was injured on a Ryan White hit against the glass. The hit was okay but caught a prone Orpik in a bad spot. Given his concussion history, it’s not good. He had no idea where he was. But here were Flyer fans cheering an injury. Unbelievable.

This isn’t to say all their fans are bad. No fanbase is. However, the Philadelphia fan has a label for this kind of childish behavior. It’s part of their history. Some passionate Flyer fans were very disappointed by what happened at Wells Fargo Center. There are always sensible fans who don’t agree with such behavior. They should be separated.

As for the Dept. Of Player Safety doing the right thing, not in the playoffs. They don’t care. They’d rather suspend Andrew Shaw for a regrettable homophobic word said to refs in frustration in the Blackhawks’ loss to the Blues in Game 4. What a league.

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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