On Thursday night, Panthers nation suffered through 90 seconds of agony during a commercial break. What happened to cause this suffering? Right before the commercial break, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson delivered a high cross check to the head of Panthers star center Aleksander Barkov. Barkov looked to be in pain. Barkov has a long list of injuries in his four year career in almost every place you can imagine. Thankfully, 90 seconds later Barkov was back on the ice for the panthers powerplay.
Manson was punished by Radim Vrbata who took advantage of the powerplay to score his 2nd of the night and gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. However, Panthers enforcer Michael Haley saw more punishment was needed.
About a minute after Manson was released from the penalty box, Haley and Manson squared off to settle this schoolyard style. Instead of just hugging the guy like Haley did in his first square offs, this one was a nasty one. Punches were thrown left and right. Although Manson pinned Haley to the ground, Haley was voted the winner on Hockeyfights.com.
Haley is the current leader in fights in the NHL with 4 and is 5th in penalty minutes with 34. Haley has received criticism but he is doing his job. He was signed to play a few minutes a night and go out there and police the ice.
Panther players should feel safer now with Haley out there. Haley is willing to throw down the gloves and can actually win, something that Alex Petrovic and Derek Mackenzie have struggled with in their combats. Haley has also had a few scoring chances.
Michael Haley is needed in the Panthers lineup to stand up for his teammates and police the ice and I think he has done a fine job of it.