Hey NHL...Fix This

In game three of the Blue Jackets/Penguins series April 16, with the Jackets leading 3-2, rookie defenseman Zach Werenski took a puck to the face. Despite the fact that Werenski was clearly seriously injured and the fact that blood that was dripping on the ice because of the gash under his eye, play was allowed to continue. In those eight seconds with Werenski down, and Pittsburgh--essentially on an injury created power play, the Penguins scored to tie the game. They would go on to win game three in overtime and win the series in five games. At the time, Jackets fans were furious, saying play should have been stopped the moment Werenski went down. Hockey fans have seen that happen on numerous occasions. The rule book, however, says that play can continue until the team with the injured player--in this case the Blue Jackets--get control of the puck. That didn't happen in those eight seconds so Pittsburgh played on and scored. As a reminder, here's how it went down back on April 16.

 

Flash forward to Saturday night, when Pittsburgh hosted Washington in game two of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Penguins defenseman and former Blue Jacket Ron Hainsey, trying to block an Alex Ovechkin shot and fell to the ice when the puck caught him in the ear. It was virtually, the exact same play Jacket fans saw in Nationwide Arena with Werenski--only this time--with Washington threatening to score--and in control of the puck--in Pittsburgh's zone, whistles blew immediately, stopping play. Hainsey's ear was cut, and the stoppage of play gave the Penguins time to get him off the ice and sub in for him. Props to WSYX TV anchor and Blue Jackets fan Kurt Ludlow, for quickly posting the video on Twitter.

 

Would the Blue Jackets have gone on to win the series had play been stopped when Werenski went down? My guess is no, but--does the NHL have an obvious "inconsistency issue" with its refs? Absolutely--and it's not acceptable. Jackets fans felt jobbed last month and clearly, they should have.  

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