Oh, Give it Up Already!
Everyone remember this?
Recently on Twitter someone posted an image of Chris Kreider crashing into Carey Price in Game 1 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. Many Canadiens fans responded and still believe Kreider intentionally ran into Price to injure him, ruining their chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. As a Rangers fan I am tired of hearing this argument, it's been six years, just let it go. And even if they beat us that year there was no way they were going to beat the Kings.
What bothers me the most about that whole situation was that former Ranger Brandon Prust said during the game he was "going to blow a wheel into Hank" and then no one talks about how he laid a cheap hit on Derek Stepan in Game 3, breaking his jaw. Stepan had to have surgery and was not allowed to eat solid foods for six weeks, but he returned to the lineup in Game 5. Also, two seasons later Price hit Kreider who was skating behind the net and it seemed intentional, as if Price was getting his revenge. Fine, fair enough, you got your revenge, let it go now. But no, Habs fans need to keep pushing the issue saying all this nonsense that Kreider intended to hurt him, that he has a history of injuring goalies, and that the trip didn't cause him to fall.
First of all, what player on a breakaway is thinking, "let me injure the goalie instead of scoring"? It was 2-0 at that point and Kreider was going full speed on a breakaway, the last thing he was thinking was injuring Price. If anything he was trying to draw a penalty shot. Kreider has been one of the fastest skaters in the league since he became a regular in the lineup in the 2013-14 season. His strides are big and powerful and he has an act for going hard to the net. That's what he does, he's a power forward. How do you expect him to avoid making contact while skating over 20 miles per hour towards the center of the goal, on a breakaway, while being tripped, all while trying to score? Not possible. I can't explain how he fell skates first instead of face first, but I refuse to believe it was because he intended to hurt Price.
On players that drive to the net, Don Cherry believed that the NHL should make the goal posts stick in the ice so that players would not crash hard like Kreider anymore, and this is because the attacking player would be at risk of an injury. There are some other benefits too, such as reducing the amount of stoppages in play due to posts coming off their moorings. Since they are stuck in the ice, goalies can't take the "easy way out", when his team is pinned back in the defensive zone, and this of course means intentionally knocking off the post to cause a stoppage, although a penalty shot is awarded when this happens. However, it is still very possible for players to get hurt while driving hard to the net with the way the nets are currently. For example, Connor McDavid suffered a severe leg injury sliding into the goal post in the last game of the 2018-19 regular season. What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter if the posts are stuck or could move, injuries can still happen either way; McDavid would've been badly hurt in both cases. I get that having the posts solid would give players less incentive to crash the net since it would be like running into a wall at full speed, but hockey players are fearless. And by trying to make it so that players don't crash the net, it takes away an aspect of the game. Lots of players use their size as an advantage. Driving to the net with or without the puck is an offensive strategy and it's also a part of the physical side of the game, too. Taking that physical part of the game out is kind of like saying "take fighting out of hockey"; they've both been a staple of the sport for many years and by taking them out would remove a tradition from the game of hockey.