Let me begin by saying I loathe the Canucks.
There is not a single strand of cognizance floating through my scrambled head that wishes even the smallest success on that franchise. I am not going to go into the details of why I feel this way as you have all been witnessing it throughout the Stanley Cup Finals. From the diving to the dirty little hacks and slashes to the ugliness of both their players faces and Luongo’s inept words towards Tim Thomas and to their fan’s fickle whining and unfounded entitlement, besides a fancy power play there is virtually nothing redeeming I can say about this team.
I was livid when Aaron Rome sent Nathan Horton out of the playoffs. My disdain for his team certainly fueled that particular fire.
But at some point the glasses of sport fan bias must come off and right now they fall to the floor and their shattered pieces spell “Suspend Boychuk”.
Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s first period hit on Mason Raymond in game 6 was one of the nastiest I have seen. I am by no means a master of the NHL rulebook but I do not believe there is a specific provision for what Boychuk did. However the manner of the hit was viscous and could have killed Raymond, who is reported to miss the next 3-4 months with a compression fracture on his vertebrae. Layman’s terms – broken fucking back.
I’ve enjoyed Boychuk’s play throughout the playoffs and particularly in the finals. His early series hit on Kesler was a game changer and a beauty. Boychuk has shown ability to move the puck, make smart decisions and even sneak a puck or two through the opposing goaltender when he isn’t delivering highlight reel hits.
But he should not be playing in game 7, despite how desperately I want to afford the Bruin’s every opportunity to win the Cup tomorrow night and send the Sedin’s back to Sweden with only the cup that protects whatever they misconstrue as testicles to show for their efforts.
Here is the hit:
Disgusting. Malicious. Obscenely violent.
There is no more prone position than the one Raymond was in when Boychuk slammed him into the boards. Raymond did not have the puck and was already well out of the play. This play is simply illegal if Raymond is upright. With Raymond doubled over, practically blowing himself with the back of his head to Boychuk’s extending arms, this hit becomes fully suspension worthy. Had Boychuk simply glided with Raymond, then it if an unfortunate situation. However Boychuk’s extension of the arms at the end, to drive Raymond into the boards makes this hit so deplorable.
I can not ask for the NHL to be consistent in their punishment of ill-intended and uselessly violent hits if I only hem and haw against a players I dislike.
That being said, with the decision to force Boychuk out of the Bruin’s lineup nowhere near my ability to control, I will cheer for every Canuck that Boychuk flattens tomorrow.
I wish Raymond a speedy recover.
I wish the rest of the Vancouver Canucks a summer full of tears and regret.