At Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin, TX, every Sunday night they play Chicken Sh*t Bingo. It’s exactly what it sounds like – feed a chicken, turn it loose on a tabletop bingo board and wherever it takes a crap, that number goes on the board.
I’m pretty sure this is also how the NHL is deciding suspensions.
James Neal – 1 game for charging [Shanahan video]
The chicken really likes James Neal, because he gets away with the Couturier hit like a bank robber with a sack of money. He leaves his feet to run two guys in one shift and manages to earn two disciplinary hearings for only 42 seconds of play! Someone please tell me if that’s a land speed record. You know I love the Pens & Neal (still so pissed), but even I can’t believe this. No I don’t want a huge suspension handed out to my guy – but I don’t know other players running my guys with zero fear of consequence. This works both ways and next time, it’s coming instead of going.
To me this shows the NHL believes the Pens/Flyers series is over tonight, so the chicken did her business on the 1 because there’s only one game left in Neal’s season. God, I hope they’re wrong.
Be honest if you can see the sense in this: Carl Hagelin got 3 games [video] for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson and Andrew Shaw got 3 games [video] for hitting Mike Smith. If those are 3-gamers, why is Neal’s only one? Alfredsson was injured, Smith was not. Neal could much more easily have avoided Giroux than either of the other hits. And neither Hagelin or Shaw threw another questionable check less than a minute before.
Aaron Asham – 4 games for cross-checking [Shanahan video]
The chicken was angry – fine with me. This is a terrible move in a terrible game that could repeat itself tonight. For all the bitching about Schenn cross-checking Crosby from behind a few weeks ago, this is obviously a hundred times worse and deserves a sit-down.
Nicklas Backstrom – 1 game for cross-checking [Shanahan video]
A stick to the face for a Backstrom-less game 4? Deal of the century! Thanks a lot, chicken!
This play is no dirtier than a million uncalled penalties in this series. But it is, as Shanahan calls it, “excessive and reckless” – because he can’t say “stupid and pointless.” Nicky’s not going to fight Peverly anymore than I’m going to be proclaimed Queen of Canada. He has been run constantly in this series – because he’s the Caps best player. And he gave it away for nothing. The Caps got through 40 games without Backstrom this year, here’s hoping they have one more in them.
Raffi Torres – Awaiting the Chicken
You need 5 in a row to win bingo. Just when the NHL had suspended 7 players in the first round (only 6 suspensions in all of last year’s playoffs), Phoenix’s Raffi Torres does this. Marian Hossa was stretchered off the ice and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, from which he was released last night [link]. He got into a waiting car under his own power. Torres has been suspended twice and fined once in the last 13 months [link].
What do you think the chicken will have to say about this one? If suspensions are being doled out based on some other system (say, player popularity?), where on the bingo board does this load land?
PS: You should all read The New York Times’ Slap Shot blog for this scathing piece on the state of player safety. Writer Lynn Zinser says: “If you can follow the logic through those four [Asham, Neal, Shaw, Backstrom] — particularly how the Penguins’ James Neal earned only a one-game suspension for head-hunting two players on a single shift — you belong at M.I.T. Or Shanahan’s next dinner party.”