Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 4/16/12

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 14: James Neal #18 of the Dallas Stars looks on against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on November 14, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Flyers-Penguins series has been a series for the ages already. With so much happening, especially in yesterday’s slug fest at the Wells Fargo Center, it was kind of hard to keep everything straight.

There were things that happened in that game that I have never seen before. Rules were enacted that I didn’t even know existed. I suppose that’s a testament to the freaky nature of how the game and its events unfolded.

Here are some explanations of some of the more unusual things that happened:

Kimmo Timonen and Kris Letang Ejected - When Kimmo Timonen and Kris Letang came to blows, it was a shock for me. I’d never seen the gentlemanly Timonen drop the gloves. Timonen got manhandled by Letang who was 10 years his junior. When the penalties were announced, both Letang and Timonen, who was little more than a punching bag, were ejected from the game. The reason was because the play had already been stopped for Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby to fight. Once play is stopped, any additional altercations that erupt result in a game misconduct for the offending players.

Craig Adams Suspended/Coach Dan Bylsma fined $10,000 – This is one that I really had forgotten about. At some point, Sidney Crosby, Penguins’ superstar was engaged in a verbal altercation with the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn. When that settled down, Crosby saw Scott Hartnell with his back turned, and made the decision to go over and pull him down from behind. Hartnell tried to regain his footing, but was attacked, again from behind, by Craig Adams. Adams and Crosby both threw several haymakers, but eventually Hartnell regained his footing. At that point, it was a fair fight and Adams didn’t seem to want anything to do with that. They did square off, and the linesmen jumped in when Adams pulled Hartnell’s hair. Immediately I thought Adams would be suspended for being the third man in a fight. Instead, the referees assessed him an instigator penalty. The time of the infraction 15:48. The NHL rules state that if a player is assessed an instigator penalty with under 5 minutes remaining in regulation, he will subjected to a one game suspension, and his coach shall be fined the amount of $10,000. Today, the NHL upheld the rule and fined Bylsma and suspended Craig Adams.

Arron Asham assessed a match penalty – This is a more common penalty, but one of the more ominous ones. Match penalties are assessed when a referee believes that one player purposefully tries to cause bodily harm and injury to another player. Match penalties come with an automatic game misconduct and are then reviewed by the NHL. Asham was assessed this penalty because he punched Brayden Schenn in the head as Schenn laid motionless and defenseless on the ice, the result of an Asham cross-check to the throat. Arron Asham has a disciplinary hearing scheduled for tomorrow with the NHL’s head of discipline, Brendan Shanahan. It is a pretty safe bet that Asham will be suspended by the league.

James Neal – James Neal blindsided Sean Couturier when he was nowhere near the puck. Not only did he blindside him when the puck wasn’t involved, he left his skates to do so. Both of those situations are illegal according to the rules of the NHL. Neal’s elbows were also borderline high and it appeared he may have been targeting Couturier’s head. That’s a big no-no in the age of concussions in the NHL. Neal will also face a disciplinary hearing tomorrow. Neal, however, will face hearings for two distinct incidents.

The second incident happened seconds after the Couturier hit. With the Flyers in the Pittsburgh defensive zone, and the puck passed into the right face off circle to Giroux, Neal took a few strides and once hit Giroux up high, once again leaving his skates and clearly was targeting Giroux’s head.

Neal has played well for the Penguins in this series. He scored two goals for the Pens yesterday. His loss may be a big one for the Penguins to overcome. That’s IF he is suspended. The fact that Neal has been suspended and fined for dirty hits in the past while with Dallas may make his suspension more likely.

Since even the most knowledgeable of fans had difficulty keeping things straight, I figured I’d break it down for those interested.

Side note – Sidney Crosby’s name does not appear anywhere on this list. Crosby was directly responsible for nearly everyone of the ugly incidents that happened yesterday. While he incited everything, he left his teammates to do his dirty work. While he did not exactly break any rules, he certainly acted like a child and hung his teammates out to dry. If I were on that plane ride home, I’m not sure how happy I’d have been with Sid.

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