This is another joint post by Sarah and Megan.
If you missed this game, you missed one of the most exciting and at the same time bizarre games in recent history. In this series, as well as in the regular season, games in Detroit have followed a pattern. The Wings score first, and Calgary loses their composure. This is what we expected tonight, and Calgary did not disappoint. In fact, they went further
than anyone expected. The Wings resolved their special team woes in the second period, with two shorthanded goals and a PP goal. This did not sit well with the Calgary Flames. So they went into the locker room and devised a master plan: Take out everyone in a Red Wings jersey, and then win the came by forfeit. As least, that’s the way it kind of seemed. The unraveling really began with an encounter between Lebda and Langkow. Lebda delivered a low hipcheck to Langkow, which caused Langkow to flip over Brett’s back, sending both of them to the ice. Langkow rolled over, lifted up Brett by the back of his jersey and sucker punched Lebda in the face. This was not a weak little love tap. He pulled back and hit Lebda with all the force he could muster. It was reminiscent of Tootoo’s gloved punch to Robidas. Lebda suffered a concussion as a result of the cheapshot, and was also assessed a minor penalty for clipping. When the camera first went back to the play, Langkow looked seriously injured. Upon replay, we see that he was able to lift Lebda up, punch him, and hold on to him before he curled up in the fetal position. Also, Langkow finished the game and did not receive a penalty for the play. If there is any justice in this league whatsoever, Langkow will be suspended for this disgusting display of cowardice and goonery.
Langkow was not the only Flame worthy of suspension. In fact, the most worthy candidate played only 18 seconds in the game. The Wings scored their fifth goal at 15:42. At this point, we were wondering why they wouldn’t just pull Kipper to give the guy a break. After all, he does have to play tomorrow and he had just given up five goals. In fact, they left Kipper in for another minute, until Primeau took a slashing penalty. Apparently, they weren’t pleased with Primeau’s technique, so the sent out McLennan to show us all how the pros do it. As soon as the first unsuspecting Red Wing (Franzen) was within reach, he began slashing. He delivered two slashes to the back of Franzen’s legs, for which the Referee immediately signaled a delayed penalty. As soon as the whistle blew, he slapped at the puck in anger, and then delivered a nasty two-hander to Franzen’s midsection as he coasted by.
“It doesn’t belong in hockey,” said Franzen, who said the slash shocked him more than it hurt. (via AP)
Franzen fell to the ice as the jaws of the entire audience (including us) collectively dropped. McLennan was given the original two minutes for slashing, five minutes for intent to injure, and a game misconduct. Pretty impressive for 18 seconds of play. We’ve all heard of sending out the goons in the closing minutes of a losing game. We never expected this goon to come in the form of a back-up goaltender. There is little question in our mind that McLennan will receive a suspension. When you look at the situation, he kind of looks like a fall guy. Whether he sits on the bench or not really has no impact on the Flames. So why not send him out as the goon? This whole move is very suspicious. If they were gonna pull Kipper after the fifth goal, why didn’t they do it right away? Why did they wait a full minute, until they had handed the Wings another PP? It seems to be the consensus among Wings fans, as well as hockey media, that McLennan was sent out there with a mission. We are told that he was out there to send a message to the Wings to stay out of their crease. If this is the case, he should have gone after his own defensemen. Apparently the Flames are blind to the fact that every time a Wing was in the crease or made contact with Kipper, it was because he had been shoved there by a Flames defenseman. Case in point: Maltby. Kirk was avoiding the goaltender, then got sandwiched between two Flames who pushed him into their goaltender. Matlby was slapped with goaltender interference and a goal was wiped out. Luckily, we scored a lot more, so this incident kind of fades into the background.
If you thought the madness was over once McLennan was thrown out, you were sorely mistaken. No way is the Flames fearless leader gonna be shown up by some backup goaltender. He also picked out the nearest man in a Winged Wheel. Iginla slashed Mathieu Schneider in the Wings defensive zone. He then followed Schneider up to center ice, where he proceeded to spear him with the butt of his stick. This did not cause Schneider to fall over, nor did it slow him down at all. So, Iggy had to take more drastic measures. How about a cross check to the lower back? Yup, that sounds like Iginla. Here’s where we would like to point out that Schneider was nowhere near the puck, nor was he involved in the play. His crime was apparently skating on the ice, which apparently belongs to Iginla. Jarome was assessed a hooking minor and a cross-checking minor.
It’s no wonder Calgary is so quick to lose their composure. And it’s no wonder they are so immature, given that they are lead by Jarome Iginla. Apparently Mr. Iginla subscribes to the Slapshot version of hockey. After game four, there was already a question of Iginla’s integrity. At the end of this game, and in his comments after the game, he showed his true colors. He was left on the ice purely and admittedly to start fights.
“It was really about getting some fights going at that point to keep our energy up and carry some anger into the next game,” Iginla said with several new stitches over his left eye. “We’re not going away.” (via TSN)
He is actually proud of the fact that his team made fools of themselves on national television. Sound like someone you want leading your team? This right here is proof that the whole thing was premeditated. Going out and trying to injure guys or just fighting just because you’re losing sends only one message: this is a team of cowards. Rather than save some dignity, they would prefer to “take some anger” into game six. Really, the only people they’ve succeeded in making angry are their own fans. Wings fans are just laughing, and Babcock is probably still trying to make sense of the whole thing. Franzen hit it on the nose when he said that this kind of play has no place in hockey.
After a display like this, the league should punish the offenders. Will they? Most likely not. At least not all of them. They will suspend McClennan if they have any sense. This is too close to the Chris Simon incident and too blatant to ignore. The popular number here is ten games, and that sounds about right to us. Langkow really, really should be suspended for at least two games. Whether or not he will be is up in the air. Iginla deserves a game in the press box because of the stick-butting and the bad cross check. It is very likely that he will not be suspended. On top of these suspensions, Playfair should be getting a hefty fine.
Overall, it was a wild game. The Wings showed that they are not only the better team, they are by far the classier team. The Wings refused to allow Calgary’s late-game antics get under their skin and kept their composure like the veterans they are. The difference between the two clubs is clearly displayed in their leadership. Lidstrom’s class and Iginla’s lack thereof. Hasek’s comment really sums it up:
“I was really disappointed. Not a little, but a lot,” Hasek said. “Their goalie, what he did and Iginla, he’s the captain of the team and should be in charge.” (via TSN)