An earlier game of the Penguins-Flyers playoff series featured 158 penalty minutes, four ejections, superstars Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux dropping gloves. Facing the possibility of a first round elimination, the Penguins called for reinforcements by adding Steelers Pro Bowl LB James Harrison to their roster.
Harrison, whose history of fines for controversial hits to the heads of quarterbacks and ball carriers, should fit in well with the chippiness of the series. Head coach Dan Bylsma tried to downplay the desperation of the move:
“We’ve already been undermanned with the suspensions of Craig Adams, Arron Asham, and James Neal, plus our goaltending has been horrendous,” said Bylsma. “I don’t know if James Harrison can skate, but what I do know is that he can play defense.”
Harrison was apparently a hot commodity this week, fielding offers from the Penguins, Red Wings, Senators, and most recently the Blackhawks. He ultimately decided to stay home in Pittsburgh so that he can also attend the Steelers’ OTAs.
“I’m excited to join the Pens because I’ve been dying to hit something all spring,” said Harrison. “The best news is that the NHL front office is so gutless and erratic with their punishments, I don’t have to hold back anymore. I mean, I can afford $2,500. That’s chump change, or as I like to call it, ‘Roger Goodell’ change.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declined to comment on Harrison’s disparaging remarks. However, NFL commissioner Goodell subsequently fined Harrison $75,000.