The Danny Picard Show

This week, Danny shared his thoughts on some of the top stories in the sports world:

-Another day, another NHL suspension. This time, it’s Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who received a one-game suspension for his shoulder to the head of Columbus’ Josh Anderson during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Bruins won that Game 6, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final in the process, where they’ll take on the Carolina Hurricanes. McAvoy will serve his suspension during Game 1 at the TD Garden.

His absence will be a tough loss to Boston, but the suspension is deserved. The NHL is trying its best to eliminate hits to the head. And this was a hit to the head. Was it a dirty play? I wouldn’t consider it to be “dirty” and I don’t think the NHL considers it to be “dirty” either, given the fact that McAvoy only received a one-game suspension.

But then you’ll say, “Well if they didn’t think it was dirty, why did they suspend him at all?” Well, it’s simple. Again, they’re trying to eliminate head shots. This was a head shot. So, as a league that’s trying to eliminate head shots, they’re in a tough spot with this one. The NHL is almost in a position where it had to give some type of suspension, so they just gave McAvoy one game.

At the same time, everyone in the league understands that it’s a fast game, and it’s easy for us to toss on the slow-motion replay and crucify McAvoy afterwards. For the young Bruins defenseman — or any NHL defenseman at that — it’s not so easy to let up on body contact in the spot that McAvoy was in.

It’s a contact sport played at full speed. You’re taught to finish your checks at an early age. McAvoy had one job in that moment as Anderson was skating down the right side into the Bruins’ zone: put a body on him.

Anderson had the puck on his stick with his head down, and McAvoy came in for a big hit. He missed his target as Anderson tried to make a subtle move to his left. That ever-so-subtle move caused McAvoy to lift his shoulder in an attempt to just make contact and prevent Anderson from getting by him. The result was a head shot. And it looked ugly. But the attempt wasn’t, “Attack his head.” It was simply, “Don’t let him get by me.”

Once McAvoy commits to the hit there — which he should — it would’ve been impossible for him to make a split-second decision to avoid contact. And in fact, if he missed Anderson completely and Anderson walked in all alone and scored, we would’ve been all over McAvoy for missing a hit.

So, was it dirty? No. But given the league’s efforts on trying to eliminate head shots, was it suspendable? Absolutely. But a one-game suspension was enough.

-I never thought there would be a negative aspect to winning a championship. But these days, there’s one that comes to mind, and we’re currently seeing it with the Boston Red Sox.

That negative is the fact that we now have to analyze whether or not the team should visit the White House.

My advice to anyone in the Red Sox organization is simple: Do whatever the heck you want.

You want to go visit the White House because you busted your behind to win a World Championship and now get a special invitation to the home of the President of the United States of America? I have no problem with that whatsoever. It’s something you earned. I don’t care who’s in office. If you want to go, then go.

You want to reject the invitation and decide that it isn’t a trip you want to make? Then don’t go. Stay home. You’re an adult. You can make your own decisions. Nobody is making you do anything you don’t want to do. That is your right as an American citizen.

Here’s the problem though. We live in such a politically-hostile environment that, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

If a player chooses not to go to the White House, then he’s criticized by the President’s supporters. If a player chooses to make the possibly once-in-a-lifetime trip, then he’s criticized those who hate the President.

To both sides, I just want to say, shut the hell up.

This isn’t about politics. At least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about a World Champion earning the right to visit the White House with whoever else on that championship team wants to go. This isn’t complicated. And it really shouldn’t be something that fires you up, either way.

Please, find something else to complain about.

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