Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick are both trying to force their way in as NBC's go-to NHL analyst at this point, and when you get two opinionated men who probably don't like each other fighting to see who gets more exposure, you get what we saw on NBC Sports Network Wednesday night.
Roenick and Milbury apparently held different view points regarding Eric Nystrom's hit on Kris Letang. Letang has already suffered one concussion this season, and the fear is that he suffered another one following this hit. See video here, then come back and revel in the argument between NBC's talking heads.
The basic plot: Milbury absolutely thinks Nystrom should be suspended for this hit, citing a history of concussions in the league and recent changes in the rules to prevent exactly these kinds of hits. Nystrom should've gone after the puck, "shows no courage," according to Milbury.
Roenick's belief is that the head wasn't contacted, and that you can't penalize a where the shoulder meets the chest, even if the chin was just grazed a bit. "His head wasn't even hit!" According to J.R., Letang put himself in a vulnerable position by not moving to the boards when he should have expected a hit.
Of course, Keith Jones is standing camera right taking this all in, and he's actually the voice of reason in all of this.
Nystrom had the opportunity to get the puck. That mindset is the issue. The hits to the head clearly are a major issue in hockey and in all major sports. That's the thing I have a problem with. That's what we have to continue to try and get to.
Who knows if it's a legal hit or not. Stars blog Defending Big D made the point Wednesday night that Letang lowered his head down to the level of Nystrom's shoulder, and given that -- it goes back to the "putting himself in a vulnerable position" stance -- the Stars defenseman probably won't be suspended.
The biggest concern here, though, isn't how long Nystrom could potentially be out of the lineup, if he's disciplined further at all. It's how long Letang, the Penguins most valuable defenseman, could be out of the lineup. Without him, it's safe to say Pittsburgh's chances in the playoffs decrease big time.