If you remember after the infamous "fight night" game back in February of 2011 Howie Rose was adamant in radio interviews that followed that game saying that the NHL had two sets of rules. What he meant by that is, that the NHL has one set they apply to elite level teams like the Red Wings and Bruins. Meanwhile, they have another set of rules they apply to everyone else like the Islanders and the Blue Jackets.
Since then, the steam behind this had dropped off significantly and there really wasn't a mention of it. However, early on this season after the Islanders have been the recipient of some questionable hits with no calls the talk is slowly coming back.
Early on this season, we have seen Dion Phaneuf hit John Tavares from behind, Dennis Seidenberg of the Bruins try and launch Frans Nielsen out of the TD Garden in Boston, and last night David Ullstrom take a hit to the head on his way down in our win versus the Penguins. All of those hits went without call!
However, also in the game last night, Islanders forward Colin McDonald was given a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for hitting Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy from behind into the boards near the end of the second period. News came out today that McDonald had suspended 2 games by league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan for the hit.
Did McDonald deserve to get a penalty for the hit? Yes! However, was a major, ejection, and subsequent suspension a bit of a stretch? Given the hits the Islanders have endured on this early season that haven't been noticed by the officials, it absolutely was.
Now, take a look at the teams who dished out the alleged dirty hits against the Islanders. The Bruins, the Leafs, and the Penguins. Sure, according to their win/loss record the Leafs aren't an elite level team. However, their standing as the most valuable team in hockey makes them an elite level team.
Now you have to ask yourself, in those interviews nearly two years ago, was Howie Rose right? It would sure seem like he was onto something.