Thursday, May 2, 2024

The 20 stages of an NHL playoff controversy

It’s the NHL playoffs. Do you know where your controversies are?

No, really, where are they? We’re most of the way through the first round, and we haven’t really seen anything crazy yet. Sure, we’ve had another round of the Matt Rempe discourse, and a distinct kicking motion debate, and the usual goalie interference questions, and the refs are all clearly out to get your favorite team. But compared to previous years, the NHL has made it through the first few weeks relatively unscathed when it comes to big-time controversy.

What does it mean? Probably that the hockey gods have something awful lined up for us. Probably soon. We’d better prepare.

NHL playoff controversies are all unique, like precious little snowflakes, although they typically fall into a handful of categories. There’s the (maybe) dirty hit. There’s the (maybe) missed call. There’s the (maybe) violation of The Code, which may also involve a dirty hit on which there’s a missed call.

One way or another, something is on the way, and we’re all going to be mad at each other about it. For now, we may as well prepare. So let’s get ready for the inevitable, with a quick reminder of the 20 stages of an NHL playoff controversy.

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