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2330 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2004 :  14:56:41  Show Profile
Contributed by: Raphael Borenstein

A lot has been discussed about discipline and punishment in the NHL over the last few years, but there remains one huge concept missing from the results of those discussions…….Accountability.

They keep on talking about cracking down on players and giving harsher suspensions, but the recent one game wrist-slappers that the league gave Mats Sundin and Jeremy Roenick this past week is a glaring example of how soft the league is. Of course, those 2 incidents didn’t involve injuries to other players, but they were both glaring examples of how players don’t fear the wrath of discipline from the NHL in regards to their actions.

If the NHL wants to reduce the number of injuries due to hits from behind, blows to the head, and major stick fouls, the NHL has to make the offenders accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, Gary Suter only missed 4 games for cross-checking Paul Kariya in the face while Kariya missed about 40 regular season games due to the injury, plus a chance to play in the Olympics that year.

The first step in heading down this path should be targeting players who intentionally injure other players. If you intentionally injure an opposing player in a game, and that warrants a suspension, two things should be considered. The length of the suspension for the infraction, and the time that a player misses due to the injury. If you cross-check a player in the head and he doesn’t suffer an injury, you serve your 3 or 5 game suspension and then you are done. If that player gets a concussion as a result of your actions, your suspension should continue until he is medically cleared to play.

Why should a player get back on the ice after serving a one game suspension for slashing another player on the wrist, if the fouled player has to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his arm? I guarantee players will think twice about running a guy in the numbers when he is facing the glass, or swinging the lumber if it means they are jeopardizing their playing future and income. Of course, players can break a leg from being tripped and sliding into the boards wrong, but I believe there is a clear cut difference between that and a definite intent to injure infraction.

This rules should apply equally to the average player as well as the superstars, and penalties should be doubled and tripled for repeat offenders. Bryan Marchment should have been suspended for 40 games or the remainder of the season for his forth kneeing suspension. I think that would finally get the message across to him and others like him, before he prematurely ends some talented player’s career at age 26.

Have an opinion on Raphael's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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PickupHockey Pro

365 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2004 :  15:07:59  Show Profile
I personally agree for the most part. But I think that there should be a maximum number of games if the injury exceeds a certain time frame. No sense punishing the fans and the teams that extensively (performance wise at least). Set the maximum to 20 games (1/4 season). Bigger fines for the teams would be good too. I bet they wouldn't let a 4th line goon chop a guy down if it cost them a quarter mil. just a thought.
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