With all the conversation about head shots lately, it’s almost embarrassing how under the radar the Chris Neil/Tanner Glass incident is. Actually, it’s kind of embarrassing to talk about because Chris Neil is involved (I mean, is anyone actually afraid of this roster spot waste?) but the idea of what he did is more the point.
In a playoff game between the Senators and the Rangers, Dion Phaneuf got hit by Tanner Glass and there was a penalty called on the play. Neil still skated all the way down from the neutral zone, grabbed Glass, and took a swing at his helmet. He then put Glass, who obviously had zero intention of fighting, in a head lock and went out of his way to rip his helmet off. Then after about an hour he finally got him down and fired a few more punches.
This took so comically long to develop that the linesmen piled in and prevented any real damage, but it’s still worth talking about.
I’ve long been annoyed at every Tom, Dick, and Harry trying to be cool and jumping anyone they can even after a clean hit. But here we have a tight playoff game and the chance for a power play, all taken away by some plug who comes in guns blazing and gloves flying without even trying to hide it. Even when it’s abundantly clear nothing is going to come of it, he still takes the time to rip the protective covering off the head (brain) of his opponent and tries to be the hero and get some shots in.
He not only took away the power play, but he also got a 10 minute misconduct. I think the referees should have punished his team and not just him. With the 10, they did the Rangers a disservice twice, first by not putting them on the power play and, secondly, by keeping Neil off the ice for 12 minutes so he couldn’t continue to be a liability.
I know there’s going to be the empty “that’s hockey, go watch figure skating” or “Glass had it coming, he needs to answer the call” responses, but this archaic mentality is why barbarians like Neil still try to be relevant by being baited in.
Neil and the people made happy by his decision deserve each other, but hockey deserves neither of you.