That odor that is currently prevalent in the NHL is not the sweaty pads of the athletes. It is, in fact, the rather pungent smell of Brendan Shanahan’s bulls**t which has been tainting the validity of the greatest sport on ice. That might sound a bit harsh, but it is undeniably true. The NHL’s disciplinary system is nothing short of a biased, star-favoring, joke.
Last Saturday night in Game two of the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators playoff matchup, Rangers rookie winger Carl Hagelin applied a vicious (but seemingly accidental) blow to the head on Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson. The punishment? A staggering three-game suspension on a rookie with no prior record of flagrant violence.
In the very same game, Ottawa’s Chris Phillips applied a nearly identical elbow-to-head hit on Rangers Captain Ryan Callahan. His punishment? Nothing, zilch, nada. Not even a hearing.
And it gets worse. Also in the same game, Ottawa Defenseman Matt Carkner sucker-punched Rangers forward Brian Boyle, took him to the ground, and continued to throw punches at his head, despite Boyle’s unwillingness to fight back. His penalty — a mere one game suspension.
Because Weber is a star and Zetterberg somehow didn’t sustain an injury, he gets off with a simple, “Don’t do that again Shea, okay?”
In game one of the Nashville Predators-Detroit Red Wings match up, with less than ten seconds remaining, Preds star defensman Shea Weber blatantly grabbed Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg and applied a WWE-style head bash into the boards. He intentionally took Zetterberg’s HEAD and slammed it into the boards. His penalty? A laughable $2,500 fine, despite a reputation for dirty play and an obvious intent of injury.
This is an embarrassment for the National Hockey League. Both Weber and Carkner intentionally gave blows to the head of two defenseless players and got away with hardly any sort of penalty. But here Hagelin was given three games for an accidental elbow. In addition to being indescribably biased, this suspension is coming from the man who was quoted in saying “a playoff game is worth two regular season games.” Apparently Shanahan believes Hagelin’s crime to be more heinous than Duncan Keith concussing Daniel Sedin in March, which resulted in Sedin being out for the remained of the season. Because Weber is a star and Zetterberg somehow didn’t sustain an injury, he gets off with a simple, “Don’t do that again Shea, okay?”
Yet Hagelin gets a vicious punishment because he’s not a superstar and although it wasn’t intentional, Alfredsson did get hurt. What would have happened if it was Sidney Crosby applying the hit instead of Hagelin? I highly doubt Shanahan has the guts to give the same penalty to a star player as he did to the young Rangers forward. (Actually, Alfredsson would have probably received two games for viciously headbutting Crosby’s elbow.)
Should Hagelin be suspended? Probably. Is his crime anymore heinous than the others mentioned? Absolutely not! Intent to injure should be more punishable than incidental injury.
The point is, the NHL’s idea of discipline is incredibly flawed and has no system of standardization. They pay more attention to whether somebody did get hurt (as is the case with the Hagelin-Alfredsson hit) and disregard the intent. Of all the hits mentioned above, only Alfredsson actually got injured, but Weber’s hit could have easily caused similar, if not worse, head trauma (he cracked his freaking helmet for God sakes!). The fact that Weber blatantly tried to injure Zetterberg is seemingly insignificant because nobody was seriously hurt, as is the case with Carkner’s battering of Brian Boyle.
It’s truly a moronic system. Sidney Crosby, James Neal, and Arron Asham were an embarrassment to the sport of hockey on Sunday against the Flyers with their cheap shots and unnecessary violent acts. But thats OK, because nobody was hurt and Crosby and co. are the posterboys of the NHL. Shanahan won’t dare bring down the hammer on the Golden Team, they’ll just get a slap on the wrist. (Update: 4 games for Asham, and 1 for Neal because Shanahan actually bought Neal’s explanation that he left his feet to protect himself from the hit on Couturier. You can’t make this stuff up. Shanahan would honestly be better off just using the pinwheel of justice and shutting up about it.)
With NBC trying so hard to push the Stanley Cup as a sort of March Madness event, Shanahan’s idiocracy could not be happening at a worse time. There has been more advertising for the Stanley Cup Playoffs than ever before. More people are watching as dirty play, terrible officiating, biased punishment, and uncontrollable violence are running rampant in just the first round. Talk about a bad first impression.
We all love big hits and fighting, but what occurred last week was an overall abomination to the sport of hockey. Coming into the playoffs I was proud to be a hockey fan and felt bad for the ignorant masses who did not realize what a fun sport it is to be a fan of. After this past week, I am ashamed to support the league in its current state. This is not hockey, this is a sideshow.
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Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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