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The recent six years have seen an increase in “elbows, head slams, suspensions, fighting, and penalty minutes” for the NHL playoffs. According to Elias Sports Bureau, there were 724 penalty minutes in the first 19 games. NBC analyst Pierce McGuire claims this is an indication of “how close the series are”.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins added an additional 158 penalty minutes. This is due to incidents such as Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux fighting, as well as Arron Asham “cross-checking and punching” Brayden Schenn.
Moreover, Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw is also facing disciplinary action after he charged Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. New York Rangers’ Carl Hagelin will sit out for three games after elbowing Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Also, Ottawa defensman Matt Carkner is suspended for one game after punching New York’s Brian Boyle even after the latter had fallen down. Finally, the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks amassed 88 penalty minutes, as well.
McGuire attributes such lowlights to young players being “playoff battle tested” and not willing to “retreat”.