Max Talbot got elbowed in the face last night by Steve Staios. If you've yet to see it, here you go. It was a pretty blatant elbow to the head in my eyes, even if some feel the replay was less than conclusive, but at the very least, Talbot was down on the ice for some time following the hit.
Even on clean hits, we see guys go after opposing players when there's an injury on the play.
Anze Kopitar got crushed in a game last night against Dallas. It was a clean hit, yet Kopitar took an awkward tumble into the boards and had to leave the game. Immediately after the hit, Mike Richards stepped up and fought Brendan Morrow, who delivered the check. It's just a matter of making players accountable for hitting skilled players -- whether it's a clean hit or a dirty hit or whatever.
This one was dirty. Talbot's head swung back, he clutched it as he fell to the ice, and he stayed down for a good 12 seconds. The entire team looked pissed as they realized what happened, yet nobody went after Staios. Nobody made him answer for the hit, whether on that shift or another in the final five minutes of the game.
I'm going to say no, and it's not because a lack of response is a smart move or anything like that. I would have loved to see a response, but it appears as though it's just a simple matter of the opportunity failing to present itself. Live on television, it wasn't completely clear in real time if the hit was to the head or not.
Maybe on the ice it was different, but the play continued. Matt Read could have left his man at the top of the circle, but that very likely would have opened up a scoring chance for New York. Same goes for Braydon Coburn in front of the net, or the two Flyers in the corner near the puck. They could have jumped Staios, sure, but would the Islanders have been able to get the puck on net before the whistle was blown?
Who knows, really. I do know it was a one-goal game with under five minutes to go and the team may have had other things on their minds. After all, Richards may have jumped Morrow, but he was given a four minutes in penalties and a 10-minute misconduct. Dallas wound up tying the game on that ensuing power play before winning in a shootout, in which Richards couldn't participate.
Also, there wasn't exactly a tough guy on the ice for the Flyers. In fact, there wasn't really one dressed last night, either. (Not that a tough guy would be seeing a shift in this situation of the game, anyway. I don't suppose yelling from the bench would have been a deterrent.)
Consider the personnel on the ice that shift: Coburn, Sean Couturier, Read, Kimmo Timonen and Talbot. Coburn and Talbot are the only two who would really be expected to step up on a guy like Staios, but Coburn was in crucial defensive position and Talbot was busy picking his lip out of his teeth.
The dust didn't really settle until the whistle was blown, anyway, and it was then that it seemed the team realized what happened. By that point, Staios was already on the Islanders bench, and as it turned out, that was his final shift of the night. No chance for retribution.
I'd like to see something come Staios' way for the hit, but I'm just not sold that the opportunity necessarily presented itself at the time last night. According to Tim Panaccio, there will be no fine or suspension to Staios. So, should the Flyers be thinking payback come next Thursday in Philadelphia?