Found April 19, 2012 on PredsOnTheGlass:
This year's Stanley Cup Playoffs have been marred by a record number of suspensions, nasty head shots, ugly fights, and repeated meltdowns of respect, especially in the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Eastern Conference series.

Heading into this year's opening round of the playoffs, the one series that would be expected to feature plenty of open ice skating with few penalties and a minimal amount of special team play would have been the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings.

During the regular season, the Predators were the least penalized team in the league with only 8.4 penalty minutes per game. Detroit was the second most disciplined team with an almost identical 8.5 minutes per game so there was little there to predict the parade of players to the penalty box that has resulted through four games.

When looking at minor penalties, Detroit has been cited 22 times and the Predators have been charged on 24 occasions leading to plenty of power play time for both squads. Only Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have headed to the box more for two minute segments and that series has been a unique exception in playoff hockey.

Only two majors have been accessed in the Preds-Wings series and that involved Shea Weber answering the call from Todd Bertuzzi as repayment for Weber's over-aggressive work on Henrik Zetterberg's helmet against the glass at the end of game one.

That one bit of bad blood was dealt with in a gentlemanly way with the "one and done" fight and the animosity did not carry forward into further play.

On Wednesday's off day, Predator Head Coach, Barry Trotz discussed the surprising rise in penalties. "We are the two least penalized teams in the National Hockey League so when each team could have five or six every game, that doesn't make any sense when you look at that."

He opined about the sudden rise in penalties, "Both teams are going at the net harder. It's different than the other series. It's "nasty" in a grinding area. There's a lot of stuff that is done in really close quarters. There isn't any of that blatant stuff you see in some of the other series."

"It's hard out there but there is probably a higher respect factor in our series than in some of the others so you don't see some of the very blatant things," Trotz continued. "You are getting more of those battles where a guy gets hooked up with another guy, or extends their arms for a hold, or trips a guy in the battles, so it is different and I don't think either coach expected that to be the case."

Predators defenseman, Kevin Klein felt the officials were keeping the match under control. "It is definitely physical and they (officials) have been calling it a little tighter. Some of the things you may not have seen during the rest of the season, they've been calling. Detroit only took three penalties (in game four) so they were very disciplined."

Klein offered his theory on the roughness of play in the other series, " It is the intensity of the playoffs. You have a lot of rivalries going on. You'd like to see the guys have a little more respect for each other. You want to play the game hard but within the rules as much as possible."

"It's mostly split-second reactions and something that is going to happen every once and a while but you don't like to see it on the scale that we have in the first round."

Parity is one of the things Trotz mentioned for the explosion of  suspensions in the opening round of the playoffs. "There are eight teams in the Western Conference that believe that they can win the Stanley Cup so that is a fine line and the competitive juices are ramped up."

The Predators were happy with Wednesday's day off. Trotz explained how tough the series had been on his players. "With the penalty kills that we've had to kill off, they are taxing on your top players. It taxes the Marty Erat's, the Fisher's, the Weber's, the Suter's, and the Klein's so they all get taxed pretty heavily along with Pekka in net, so getting a couple of days off will do us some good."

Trotz indicated that the team has yet to play their best game and is looking for better play on Friday night. "You don't want to give up as many chances as we did. When you take seven penalties, they get so many chances on the power play, so we have to stay out of the box - that's discipline, and that's details."

Further, in regards to game five, Trotz knows the level of commitment that will be needed. "This might be the hardest thing we have to do in terms of effort, detail, and commitment - to get the fourth win in the series."

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Kevin Klein brings Predators unexpected offense

Having taken a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Detroit Red Wings, its not surprising that the Nashville Predators have gotten scoring from their defense, as All-Stars Ryan Suter and Shea Weber both ranked in the top five on the team in points during the regular season. Whats been surprising is the name of one of those defensemen who has come up with two huge goals, including...

Red Wings lose pivotal Game 4 at home

DETROIT (AP) -- Kevin Klein scored a go-ahead goal 6:25 into the third period and Pekka Rinne made 40 saves, lifting the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series. The Predators can eliminate Detroit in Game 5 on Friday night in Nashville. Predators rookie Gabriel Bourque broke...

Nashville’s Klein, Bourque emerge as early playoff heroes

NASHVILLE– Two role players have stepped up in a big way for the Nashville Predators intheir first-round series against Detroit.Kevin Klein says he doesn’t like the limelight. With his personality, you would think it would be the opposite.“It’s nice to be behind the two big guys (Shea Weber and Ryan Suter) and you can just go about your business and do whatever you want,”...

Gameday Movie Poster & Open Post: Ping & Pong

You know the best thing about the Bertuzzi pong incident yesterday?  (Ignore any article today regarding the truthfulness of it, it's true.  It has to be.)  It took the discussion away from the freaking Shea Weber incident.   Now we can talk about the stuff that matters.  Like the Bertuzzi incident and how he should scare the crap out of Nashville skaters.  Or how  And...

Preds take 3-1 series lead over Wings

Kevin Klein scored a go-ahead goal 6:25 into the third period and Pekka Rinne made 40 saves, lifting the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series. The Predators can eliminate Detroit in Game 5 on Friday night in Nashville. Predators rookie Gabriel Bourque broke a scoreless tie...

Off day conference call with Barry Trotz and Predators players (audio)

While the Nashville Predators had an off day after Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, Head Coach Barry Trotz and three players, David Legwand, Kevin Klein, and Gabriel Bourque held a conference call with the media. Here is the complete audio of the call. David Legwand, Kevin Klein, and Gabriel Bourque  Head Coach Barry Trotz  More Later... Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Preds overcome disallowed goal, take 3-1 series lead…

Brace yourself, Preds fans. Your Nashville Predators are headed home with a 3-1 series lead. In front of 20,066 inside Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night, the Preds did the unthinkable: completed the sweep in Detroit. Goals from Gabriel Bourque, Kevin Klein and David Legwand provided the offense while Pekka Rinne’s 40 saves provided the defense in the 3-1 win. Legwand thought he...

Preds finish Wings, believe best is yet to come

NASHVILLE Entering their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Detroit a team that they had not beaten in two previous postseason meetings the Nashville Predators were confident, but not cocky. That confidence helped them to prevail, winning the series in five short games punctuated by Friday's 2-1 win at Bridgestone Arena in Game 5. The brevity of the series might...

Happy Hudler's Nashville Vacation

With all the stress and disappointment that has been the 2012 playoffs, where the much more talented and experience Detroit Red Wings should be beating the tar out of the Nashville Predators. Happy Hudler decided that what he needed the most was to spend his off day in Nashville having some fun with the Locals.Click the jump to see what crazy adventures await First stop was to...

Predators push Red Wings to brink of elimination

Gabriel Bourque and defenseman Kevin Klein scored early third-period goals and Pekka Rinne once again came up big as the Nashville Predators skated to a 3-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. The Predators own a 3-1 edge in the Western Conference quarterfinal series. Rinne turned aside 40 shots and David Legwand scored the clinching tally with 39 seconds to play as...

NHL Playoff Violence: Swift, Consistent Justice is Needed to Quell It

If Dante Alighieri was alive today, he would definitely have included a few hockey players as the some of the lost souls one meets in the Circle of Violence in The Inferno. One needs to look no further than the first round of this year’s NHL playoffs for proof. Fights, big hits, and injuries have all escalated in both number and severity as the NHL entered the postseason. And...

Too Many Suspensions

The biggest story of the playoffs so far is the rise in the number of suspensions and suspendable plays.  Nine players have been suspended for one game or more so far in the 2012 playoffs and we are only midway through the first round.  Shea Weber could easily be included on this list after his bashing Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the boards but he was merely fined $2500 and...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.