Looking at the Donald Brashear hit on Blair Betts

A dirty hit should not be allowed to swing the momentum in a hockey game to the team of the player who gave it. The hit Donald Brashear laid on Blair Betts was not only one of the dirtiest hits of the year, but it was also blatantly intentional. Betts had shot the puck into the Capitals zone from center ice when Brashear elbowed him in the head as Betts was turning towards him. The hit was grossly late and away from the play as Betts didn't see the thug Brashear coming to closeline him. Betts was injured on the play with what is most likely a concussion and could not stand on his own power. He had to be helped off the ice by Jim Ramsay and a teammate.

Somehow the four on ice officials completely missed the play and the mindless thug Brashear was not penalized for the hit. Ironically, he was penalized after Paul Mara (who is a great teammate) stepped in and went after Brashear after he laid out Betts. Brashear was assessed a 2 minute roughing penalty and the Rangers lost their best face off man and penalty killer for not only the game, but what will most likely be the series.

So instead of the Rangers getting what should have been a 5 minute power play - there was clearly an intent to injure - the Rangers played 4 aside for 2 minutes. To make matters worse, when Mara got out of the box he was called for a wimpy 'hold' and the Capitals would score on the ensuing power play.

Am I mistaken or did the referees not use video replay to penalize Sean Avery in Boston for tapping Tim Thomas on the head during a tv timeout? Yet they allow an atrociously dirty hit by a notoriously dirty player in Donald Brashear go unpunished? There will no doubt be a suspension, but that is of no use to the Rangers as the time to be rewarded for that action passed once he was given a 2 minute minor for roughing with Paul Mara. Say what you want about Sean Avery, but he has never intentionally tried to hurt another player.

The referees are so concerned with these ticky tacky stick penalties that when a player is seriously injured due to a dirty hit, the referees aren't paying any attention. Those 2 referees and the 2 linesman should be embarrassed that they missed that play. Especially because their mistake undoubtedly swung momentum to the Capitals when they are the ones who should have been penalized.

But not as embarrassing a day as it was for the Rangers. Not only did they lose the game, but nobody made any attempt at retribution. Despite the fact that Colton Orr wasn't in the lineup, somebody should have gone after Brashear, step in Aaron Voros.

The NHL needs to realize this is the sort of thing that will happen with much more regularity if fighting is taken out the game.