Welcome to the National Hockey League! Where our inconsistencies make our league a laughing stock in sports!
The NHL are up to their usual antics of throwing random suspensions at players for their illegal actions during hockey games. It has been a reoccurring event for the NHL to be doing this ever since the Department of Player Safety was created.
The latest string of suspensions and how they have been handed down have blown my mind. Compared to the suspension of Sabres forward John Scott in the beginning of the season, it makes me question what the heck the NHL's Department of Player Safety is thinking.
On October 25, Scott was suspended for an illegal charge and hit to the head of Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson. Scott came across center ice to hit Eriksson in the head area. Eriksson was concussed, Scott received a match penalty, and Scott received a seven game suspension from the NHL. Even though Scott was a first time offender, he received a hefty suspension for his first offense in the NHL.
What really grinds my gears is what happened months later on April 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo was assessed the match penalty for elbowing Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the head. Rinaldo left his feet and launched himself into the head of Ruhwedel with his elbow. The result: four games, which was the remainder of the regular season.
Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp hits St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie with an illegal check to the head on April 10. Rupp launches himself up into Oshie's head and receives a match penalty as well. Rupp was also a first-time offender like Scott. Result: four games.
How is that right?!
Here's the argument: John Scott received a match penalty for his check to the head, left his feet as a result of the hit, and was a first time offender in the NHL. Seven games. Mike Rupp received a match penalty for his check to the head, left his feet as a result of the hit, and a first time offender in the NHL. Four games. Zac Rinaldo received a match penalty for his check to the head, left his feet to hit Ruhwedel, and is considered a repeat offender according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Four games.
The league figures that it depends on the players involved. Scott, a fourth line forward, hit Eriksson, a top six forward for the Bruins. Rinaldo, a third or fourth line forward, hit Ruhwedel, an AHL defender on call-up. But Rupp, a fourth line forward, hit Oshie who is a top line forward for the Blues.
The main thing I ask is why should this matter?! Who care who gets hit or who commits the hit?
The NHL Playoffs have begun and already the NHL has been busy. On Saturday, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for launching himself into the head of Blues forward David Backes. The violent hit by Seabrook knocked out Backes, and Backes suffered a concussion as a result of the play. Backes, a top forward for the Blues and the team captain, may miss some time in the series with the Blackhawks.
Seabrook could have, and probably should have, gotten more games for his hit on Backes. But the league continues to dig their own graves by making these ridiculous decisions such as these.
How about have a set suspension for the amount of times you hit a player or the severity of the hit. If a player leaving the bench to get into a fight gets 10 games automatically, why can you not make a set list of suspensions for each hit?
In no way am I trying to whine and complain about the Sabres not getting fair calls, but I am just trying to be reasonable with saying the NHL has no consistency with their rulings.
The NHL says it is trying to be a safer league for the players. When you are not properly punishing the players that should be punished, how are you making the league safer? With some changes coming within the Department of Players Safety, maybe some changes will come to help make the suspension system more consistent.