Look, I hate the Flyers. I just hate them so much. That is the proper feeling to have unless you live inside the Philadelphia city limits or you are dim of wit. (NOTE: These are not mutually exclusive characteristics.)
And everybody knows the rule of thumb is if you can see a guy's numbers, you don't hit him into the boards. Not only could Georges Laraque see Steve Downie's numbers last night, he could count the stitches holding them on. Fine. Laraque boarded Downie and Downie's neck accordioned like Wile E. Coyote's. Laraque got ejected and Downie recovered in time to fight Ryan Stone later in the game.
But it's a little hard to argue that Downie is a guy who deserves much respect on the ice. The guy is basically a scourge, even by the remarkably low standards the Flyers have set for themselves.
So Laraque got Downie with 2.3 seconds left in the period. The Flyers' coach, a level-headed man of thought and reason, then had a conversation with Flyer goon (redundant, I know) Riley Cote and sent him out on the ice. Cote isn't exactly known for winning draws to the backhand. If you don't follow hockey, you probably don't know what that means. Of course, if you don't follow hockey you don't know what any of this means, but I don't have time to go chasing you down that rabbit hole right now. Let's just say that Riley Cote isn't very useful with his stick unless he's hitting people with it.
We can't exactly be certain what Stevens told his young charge, but it must've been something along the lines of, "There are only 2.3 seconds left in the period, so if you want to fight somebody, you'd better hurry." The puck was dropped, Cote slashed Ryan Malone, tried to goad him into fisticuffs, failed and then skated off to the locker room with his dignity and a 10-minute penalty for misconduct.
The Flyers haven't exactly been keeping it clean this year. Nobody is safe out there with them. They've had five guys suspended so far this year and we're just now heading into the All Star break. With all of this in mind, you'd think after the game a contrite John Stevens would've said something like, "Wow, I understand why everybody is getting so upset with us. We're going to be a lot more careful out there from now on!"
Instead, he remarked, "He knew what he was doing. That's an extremely dangerous play and the league has obviously dealt with this enough this year that they know what they are doing."
Yeah, the league has dealt with this a lot this year! At least five times, you dick! I mean, I thought I'd find a couple of video clips to augment my argument. With all of the links in here, YouTube's net worth is going to increase 6% tomorrow. Stevens' outrage at somebody being hit from behind reaches the irony levels of Dick Cheney being waterboarded live on FOX News. "Oh, NOW I see what the fuss is all about!"
Stevens is asking the league to suspend Laraque. Suspend him? They should give him a $15,000 bonus! The thing I hate most of all is this feeling of helplessness. The fear that the Flyers won't get their due. At least not until the first round of the playoffs when they make their usual exit. I guess I can wait. And I don't know what will happen the next time the Penguins and Flyers play, but I do know that we won't be trading Laraque out of the conference in between.