The NHL Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens is without a doubt intense. In fact, to called it just intense is to really undersell what’s going on. Sens defenseman Eric Gryba was slapped with a two game suspension after a questionable hit on Lars Eller, and while many remain polarized on if the hit was really illegal or not, Gryba is returning to the lineup tonight and we are excepting some fireworks.
One lineup change tonight: Eric Gryba checks in for Patrick Wiercioch.
— Ottawa Senators (@NHL_Sens) May 7, 2013
The violence in this series didn’t get benched along with Gryba, as the third game of the series featured two whole lines dropping their gloves and brawling like they were in Slapshot. But Gryba’s hit remains the headline in the series and the fear in New York at the NHL offices is that we will see more violence when the Sens defenseman takes this ice in Game 4.
In all honesty, while it would be unfortunate to see retaliation by Montreal in Game 4, the way the series has gone so far indicates that’s exactly what we’re going to see. Gryba’s hit on Eller is controversial in that it really didn’t look all that illegal when it happened. The blood and the stretcher that came out after the fact made the situation look worse than it actually was, which has many fans around the NHL once again rolling their eyes at Brendan Shanahan and his ways of discipline.
It’s been a physical series so far for both teams and Gryba’s return to the Sens lineup will likely only add to that moving forward.