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Give Tampa Bay Lightning's Zenon Konopka credit for fighting Chris Neil, but it didn't need to happen



Let's start with this, I have no problem with fighting in hockey. But sometimes there are circumstances when  it just doesn't need to happen.

Take Thursday night's game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Senators. Ottawa's Chris Neil, who loves to stir it up, came out from behind his own net with Tampa Bay's Steve Downie, who obviously had annoyed Neil while battling for the puck (and who also probably remembers Downie's bad hit on Dean McAmmond in 2007). Anyway, Neil gives Downie an elbow across the back of the head.

Referee Justin St. Pierre looked right at the whole interaction and did not call anything, so Zenon Konopka dives in and fights Neil for his teammate.

Pretty good fight, and Konopka more than held his own against one of the league's tough guys. But, really, a little intervention by the referee there and perhaps the whole incident never happens.

Stuff like that is also what gets the blood boiling, and the game was a bit chippy throughout.

Look, there's a lot of stuff called during a game that I think should be let go, but an an unprovoked elbow to the back of the head behind the play should not be one of them. 

Okay, enough of that. Can we all agree that Steven Stamkos is a man? And how about all the hand wringing when Marty St. Louis was taken off his line so he could play with Vinny Lecavalier. If anything, Stamkos has shined since he came out from St. Louis' shadow. Stamkos will tell you that without St. Louis on his line, he feels he has to be first on the puck, something that St. Louis took care of when they played together.

At some point those two will be back together, but for now, watching Stamkos and Ryan Malone operate has been a pleasure and if they can get Alex Tanguay going, so much the better for a team that seems to have the makings of two good scoring lines.

Taking a few days off before the long road trip. Have a good weekend. Oh, and Antero Niittymaki will start in net Saturday against the Devils. 

[Last modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009 12:15am]


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