The story of this game is the Wings’ inability to score on the powerplay. They had enough opportunities in the first period to build a lead that might have withstood their later collapse, but even their loaded first unit couldn’t produce. That failure is what sealed their fate. I can’t emphasize that enough: the utter impotence of the Wings’ power play last night is what has them down 2-1 in the series. That can’t continue if they hope to do anything more in this series—just contrast Game 2 and Game 3.
Abdelkader’s hit on Lydman was just the final nail in the coffin. A big, stupid, inexcusable nail.
I fought this battle at length on Twitter last night, but I’ll repeat the basics here: the call on Abdelkader was a good one. If anyone has any doubts about that, I refer you to Rule 42.
That rule can be boiled down to the following: a + b = c, where “a” is extra distance travelled, “b” is extraordinary violence and “c” is charging. Abdelkader’s hit incorporates both elements of charging: he took a long beeline to Lydman (even if he was gliding by the end) and jumped to make a high hit.
It’s not a Rule 48 play, because the head wasn’t necessarily targeted. Though you could argue that the head was the principle point of contact (but not the first), because though there was a glancing blow along Lydman’s shoulder, the bulk of the energy of the hit is expended on his head. But I don’t think the League can review it under Rule 48. It’d have to be Rule 42, which has its own suspension clause.
A major penalty is at the ref’s discretion and is necessarily subjective. But once given a major, Abdelkader was subject to Rule 42.5, which stipulates a game misconduct should the hit player be injured in the head or face. Lydman went to the lockerroom as a precaution for a possible head injury, so it should surprise nobody that Abdelkader was tossed.
If your dispute is based on the claim that there was no call on the play initially, I refer you to the replay. Note the ref away from the play around :10. His arm is up. I have no idea why the ref virtually in Lydman’s face didn’t call it, but his colleague did.
So there was a call on the play—the penalty wasn’t conjured up out of nowhere as a response to Duck complaints (though I don’t see a rule that explicitly says the refs can’t assess a penalty retroactively).
At the time, the game was 0-0. The Ducks only managed to score one goal on their power play, but Abdelkader’s stupidity still cost the Wings, who were already behind the eight ball.
After the game, Abdelkader was nowhere to be found, since he’d already left the arena. So he didn’t face the media, which doesn’t bode well for hopes that he’d say something contrite about letting his team down. Maybe he had to hit an ATM to get the $100 for his fine under 42.6.
If he says it was a clean hit and claims surprise over the call, I’ll be annoyed. That was not a team play and he should own up to that.
Anyway, the Wings continued their Game 2 third period performance last night, rather than return to their Game 2 first period effort. Now they’re in serious trouble. They can’t afford any more mistakes, whether in the form of stupid hits or impotent power plays.