Injuries are all that matters to the NHL, and you can be as vicious as you want, so long as you do not cause one. That is the standard the NHL has set this week. Go ahead, run around and try to kill someone. Take the chance. Try to take his head off. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe your target will skate away without an injury, and if that is the case, so will you, without any disciplinary action. Take the Shea Weber incident, for example, one of the dirtiest, cheapest, most dangerous plays you could ever dream of seeing on a hockey rink. When up against the boards with Henrik Zetterberg, he grabbed him by the back of his helmet and slammed him face-first into the glass. The play, which should have been a minimum five-game suspension out of the sheer viciousness of the intent, ended up garnering Weber a $2,500 fine, which is mere pocket change. The reason? Well by golly, Zetterberg did not get injured on the play. A couple of nights later, Carl Hagelin of the Rangers gets his elbow up on Daniel Alfredsson of Ottawa (who was partly facing him when he threw the check), no doubt a penalty-worthy play, but nevertheless not with any malicious intent, and he receives a three-game suspension because Alfredsson did not return, and might not play tomorrow night in Game Three. Not that it matters to this miserable excuse of a Mickey Mouse league whose disciplinary decisions have been made by a delusional and controllable puppet, Brendan Shanahan, but Hagelin has a spotless track record. He only took 12 minor penalties in 64 games this season. He is a player who has never done anything dirty, but now he will have this on his rap sheet for eternity, won’t he?
But wait, there’s more! Earlier in the game, Matt Carkner attacked Brian Boyle by punching him before he could even drop his gloves and continuing to pummel him even while he was vulnerable on the ice. For this, he gets only one game, but I suppose given the he-must-be-injured mentality, had he beat Boyle into a coma, maybe he would have eclipsed Hagelin’s three game suspension. The Rangers have since released this statement:
The New York Rangers accept the NHL’s three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling’s inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs. We will have no further comment on this decision.
There are a plethora of rules that need to change in the NHL by next season, and this policy is certainly one of them. A dirty hit is a dirty hit, regardless of injury. Your hit on Player A could be identical to your hit on Player B, but if Player B gets a concussion because his head happened to be turned one inch in the wrong direction, you will get suspended for it. That’s like letting a criminal off with an assault charge, because when he shot you in the chest with a gun the bullet missed all your vitals and ended up being a flesh wound.
Brendan Shanahan and the NHL, you are a joke, and there is not a damn thing you can do to correct it besides to clean house. This has reached its boiling point with everyone, and it is amazing that it took this long for everyone to see it. Shame. Shame on you.
P.S: I’m not even going to discuss all that happened in the Penguins-Flyers game. Any exertion of brain power spent dreaming out the ridiculousness that will come will probably make me throw up.