A couple of interesting lunchtime notes for you Dallas Stars fans on a cold Friday afternoon....
There's no doubt that the turning point of the game on Thursday night was the big hit by Brenden Morrow on Anze Kopitar after the Kings had taken a 4-3 lead. Not only did Morrow's hit carry on the tone that he had set early in the game, it also led to a fight with Mike Richards that would give the Stars a four-minute power play.
Richards, as you would expect from a good teammate, went after Morrow after what likely resembled an insanely dangerous hit in real time. While we know from replays that Morrow's hit was legal -- both the Stars and Kings agreed after the game the hit was clean -- Richards felt he needed to answer for the hit by fighting Morrow.
The NHL has an instigator rule that is rarely correctly applied and in this case, it was. Richards forced Morrow into a fight after a hit on another player. What set this one apart is that Richards was hit with another rarely called penalty, "instigating a fight while wearing a visor." After the game, Richards let it be known via Twitter he wasn't a big fan of the rule:
Here's the rule according to the NHL rule book:
46.6 Face Protection - If a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including a goalkeeper), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Should the player (including a goalkeeper) who instigates the fight be wearing a face shield, but removes it before instigating the altercation, the additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shall not apply.
There's going to be a debate here about several things, notably -- does the visor rule actually keep players safer during fights and will it actually keep players from fighting with their visor on? The spirit of the rule is to protect players who don't have visors from fighting players that do -- creating an unfair advantage in the fight.
I don't necessarily agree with the rule, seeing as how I've yet to see a fight where a player with a visor had an obvious advantage over one without. In the fight last night, Richards' helmet quickly came off and Morrow actually had the upper hand for most of the tilt.
Richards' argument is a bit flawed here, seeing as how the NHL doesn't actually require players to wear visors anyway. The rule exists in a league where players do and don't wear them -- if the visor was mandatory, I have a feel the rule might be changed to accomodate the fact that all players are now on the same playing field.
What do you think?
For those that decided not to stay up late after the game, you missed one heck of a party by the Dallas Stars on Twitter. We've seen this before this season, and it's just another example of how great the chemistry in the locker room is this season, especially compared to last year.
Hopefully that chemistry results in a few more victories for the Stars down the road.
For those that missed it, here are the highlights of the Great Twitter Celebration.
@jamiebenn14: And thats why 21 should be in the #ASG Big 2 #PeskyStars #RoadWarriors
@TeeP17: Big bounce back win by the boys tonight...or morning for those back in the Big D. @DallasStars at their..yep...peskiest! #LouiLoui
@otter2nine: Old time hockey. #PeskyStars #sweetlou #sayaboomboomboom
@Fistric28: Huge road win for those #PeskyStars great game by sweet Lou 21! #paceyforsixth
@TeeP17: Things @jamiebenn14 says: "Petey, you need to turn the TV off and close your eyelids--it's shutsy time." #whoamitoargue #sayaboomboomboom
@jamiebenn14: Flight to Big D tonight! #sayaboomboomboom
@enystrom23: "@otter29: Old time hockey. #PeskyStars #sweetlou #sayaboomboomboom" huge win #sayaboomboomboom
@gollygoose33: Great road win tonight by the #PeskyStars Sweeet Loooouuu with a #ASG effort #sayaboomboomboom
@Minimo1zero: Everybody now! #sayaboomboomboom
@jamiebenn14: @Minimo1zero did I just hear you #SayAboomboomboom
@otter2nine: @jamiebenn14 @minimo1zero haha, get there early on sat for warmups ur #PeskyStars are coming out of the tunnel tooooo...#sayaboomboomboom
Here's the song they're referring to. Jock Jams, Hell Yeah!