I think that we can all agree that Andrew Shaw pumping up the crowd while fighting Nathan “Paul” Walker was the most electrifying moment in hockey from last night. Where we may have some disagreements here are all the events that preceded (that means “happened before”) the fight. Because when you look at that Shaw boarding on Connor Hobbs, it’s not great. I mean, Andrew Shaw obviously knew what he was doing. It’s it not like he wanted to murder the guy. If he did, he would have put his shoulder down instead of coming in and up with his hands to make sure Hobbs stayed upright through the check. But he wouldn’t have even gone for the hit in the first place if it weren’t for that bastard Jay Beagle starting everything off with a slewfoot in the neutral zone.
Now listen. Nobody has ever claimed that Andrew Shaw plays the game with any conventional moral code. He’s an eye-for-an-eye type of guy. So slewfooting Andrew Shaw is basically the hockey equivalent of size 6 skinny jeans. You’re asking for it at that point. Would it have been better for Shaw to fight Beagle and not take down an innocent bystander? Maybe. But hindsight is always 20/20.
As for the fight itself, I see a lot of people are butt-hurt that Shaw gave Walker an extra shot after he was already taken down. That’s nothing more than a “welcome to the show, kid” jab. Almost like a big brother to a little brother. It’s a “hey, good job. But if you ever try to fight me again, I’ll whoop your ass”. And yeah, credit to Walker there for stepping in to fight for his teammate. That’s what makes hockey great. And if he has ANY sort of offensive potential, he’ll be a nice upgrade from Tom Wilson for the Caps.
Another questionable hit from last night has Ivan Provorov–who will win the Norris in 5 years–taking Josh Ho-Sang head first into the boards. Now I’m gonna go ahead and put all my Flyers bias aside for this one, especially because I’m actually a big Ho-Sang fan. I think the kid has made some stupid mistakes in the past but who hasn’t? However, this right here is why you can never turn your back to contact in the corners. Just watch that replay again. Provorov has the angle to meet him in the corner shoulder-to-chest. He’s locked in on making contact once he gets passed the faceoff dot, and then Ho-Sang turns on him and puts himself in a vulnerable position. Maybe Ho-Sang should worry more about turning on his alarm clock and less about turning away from hits along the boards. Flyers bias aside.
This hit from Doughty on Nielsen isn’t questionable at all. Just a really great hit. Textbook right there and easily a top 2-3 highlight from game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey final. It’s just not really compelling hockey. I don’t know whether it’s because there’s no USA or Team North America. I’m really not sure what it is. But last night’s game just didn’t really do it for me. I was zoning out the entire time but this hit was one of those moments that brought me back for a moment. Doughty Doughnuts laying the boom. Love it.