I’m not at the rink today – nor was I with Senators on their weekend road trip – but something has been bugging me ever since I saw on TV Kevin Westgarth ram Mark Borowiecki’s head into the boards from behind Sunday in Raleigh.
That something, of course, is the fact nobody went after Westgarth.
I know he’s a mountain of a man at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds. I know he is also one of the toughest guys in the league. And I know that the softer Senators were on the ice at the time of the incident.
But seriously, somebody should have done something. Fight him, stick him, grab him … anything. If not at the time, then at least later in the game. And if not to Westgarth, then to one of the Hurricanes’ smaller, more skilled players.
I have a problem with guys – Borowiecki being a prime example – having to fight when they deliver a clean, hard, open ice hit. But intentional or not, that was a dirty play. Is there another team in the league that would have watched one of its own get injured like that without retaliating at some point, in some form? I don’t think so.
Instead, the Senators sent a message to every other player in the NHL – it’s okay to take liberties against them. You may or may not have to answer the bell.
Maybe next time, an opponent won’t even think twice before drilling a Bobby Ryan or Kyle Turris or Erik Karlsson in similar fashion.
Just shows how much they miss a Matt Carkner, doesn’t it?
When Brian Boyle gave Karlsson a face wash in a playoff game a couple of years back – the same way Westgarth did to Karlsson later in Sunday’s game, as a matter of fact – Carkner took care of him at his first opportunity.
Put to a Senator, you will be told that there was no retribution sought on Westgarth because they couldn’t afford to take a penalty in a game they needed to win. That’s crap. For one thing, not avenging the cheap shot didn’t help them avoid defeat, did it? For another, the Senators rallied around Carkner in the above mentioned playoff match. They killed the penalties to their enforcer, and used the momentum to go on and claim victory against the Rangers that night.
They stood up for each other and grew as a team.
Whatever comes of the league’s hearing with Westgarth this morning is irrelevant. If he is suspended, as he should be, it will not help the Senators. And whether or not Borowiecki misses any more action as a result of the hit is also a moot point.
Allowing opponents to run a defenceless team mate without any repercussions makes you look soft and divided.
The irony of it all is, Borowiecki would have eventually caught up to anybody that did something like that to one of his fellow Senators. You can be sure of that.
Westgarth was given a 2-game suspension for the hit today.