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Wednesdays With Hildy: What Separates Old Time Hockey From The Cheap Shots?

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I'm pretty sure that we've all been watching games and series aside from the Blues/Sharks one; there's no way that you can have this much playoff hockey available and *not* be drawn to it like a moth to a flame. We've been rewarded with some amazing games and unbelievable comebacks that were never meant to be. The best example of this has probably been the Penguins/Flyers series.

That series, unlike the Blues' is short two actual goaltenders apparently. The scores in the three games have been 4-3, 8-5, and 8-4, all won by the Flyers. Let's put aside what happens when either one of these teams get out of the first round and how much they'll get shelled by a team that actually employs a goalie who can play above the ECHL level. Let's focus, as nearly everyone else has, at Sunday's game three. That games' box score was longer than War and Peace, but it was more the former than the latter.

Cheap play, cheap runs, hair pulling, high cross checks to throats, glove knocking awaying... all of this (coupled with the fact that the refs didn't put their skates down and start getting rid of players that they needed to) made for a very not-entertaining afternoon. It was evident by my Twitter timeline that people began with enjoying the scrums, because it's Philly and Pittsburgh. If course it's supposed to be scrummy; those two teams hate each other with a passion. But there came a point where it shifted from "haha Crosby's stirring stuff up" to "what in the hell am I watching?" Lots of people crowed that this game was old time hockey, only to say that it was a disgrace to the game a period later.

There was a different reaction during the Blues/Sharks game of last Thursday night. Sure, there were fights, cheap shots, and an end of game brawl that resulted in the Roman Polak Door becoming a thing. But no one said that it detracted from the game. No one was offended by what they saw. The box score was hugely long, but this game wasn't the posterchild for stupidity that the Pens/Flyers game was.

I have my own theories and opinions behind what makes the difference, but the column isn't about me. Share in the comments -- what do you think separates the Blues and Sharks and their physicality from the Penguins'?