Yeah, I'd like to see Jesse Boulerice waived and gone from the Flyers. Nothing against the guy personally, but when you attack another player in the manner he did, you have no place in my NHL.
However, the Flyers now have a bit of a injury crunch, with Ben Eager and Scottie Upshall hurt, and they needed to recall a winger to fill in. Since Boulerice and the also suspended Steve Downie can't play, the team needs a fill in.
Enter Stefan Ruzicka.
Ruzicka had a good solid camp for the Flyers and I was mildly surprised that Dennis Tolpeko stuck ahead of him to start the season. Tolpeko didn't do anything negative during his previous stint with the Flyers, but Ruzicka is a slightly bigger guy and will be on the fourth line with Jim Dowd and Riley Cote. The Flyers have gotten good, consistent efforts out of the top three lines and recalling Tolpeko would probably result in a shuffling of that.
So anyhow, Boulerice will stew in the AHL-of course the AHL might decide to enforce his NHL ban(as Downie was suspended for a month in the AHL), so he might be sitting even as a Phantom. That's the part of the crux of this blog, namely that a guy who has committed an act like Boulerice should NOT be able to play at any level during his NHL suspension.
That brings up a bigger question, one that XM radio touched on yesterday. Should a team be punished for the actions of their players? In other words, both Downie and Boulerice are currently off the Flyers' roster, so there's no cap penalty or roster spot penalty for the Flyers.
The only pain the Flyers feel is that they still have to pay Boulerice and Downie-well not them, but their salaries, into the NHL disability fund. To a team owned by a giant company like Comcast, that is not a harsh penalty.
So, should teams be forced to leave suspended guys on the roster and/or take the ensuing cap hits and deal with possible injury replacement issues?
My take is that the cap hits should still apply and that the only way an suspended guy can be moved from the roster is if injuries necessitate such a maneuver. However, even in case of an injury, the cap hit should still apply. Maybe then teams wouldn't employ guys with the histories of Boulerice or Chris Simon.
The other part of this blog that hits my main point is enforcement and even handed application of jhustice. Consistent punishment from the NHL head office is necessary.Prior to Downie, only stick incident had received suspensions of twenty games or more. Based solely on past disciplines handed down, Downie should have gotten 15 games, maximum. However, I felt that 20 games would be the new benchmark no matter what for headshots.
All the media brown nosing of Mr Colin Campbell needs to be rescinded, IMO, because he has punished actions based not on the severity or intent, but on the spotlight. Banning one guy for twenty game means NOTHING if the next guy gets a simple talking to.
The Wller-Tootoo incident and following punishment-or lack there of-shows us is that Campbell is lying on a couple fronts:
1. Downie's OHL suspensions didn't play a factor. I am willing to bet my meager savings that had Weller had the past of Downie, he'd be cooling his heels for at least ten games.
2. The NHL is trying aggressively to limit headshots. If it was, then Weller would have received the six games he deserved as punishment.
I am not some half-cocked Flyers fan saying the NHL has an agenda against the Flyers. Ok I AM a half-cocked Flyers fan, but I don't buy the agenda against my team. I just want justice dispensed evenly.
BTW, Andy Sutton should have been suspended, too.
Another part of one of these incidents I don't want to ignore is that both Boulerice and Ryan Kesler had a little battle going on all night. I think that the referees should share a touch of responsibility, not for the incident, but for allowing all the rough stuff and stick infractions that were going on between the two guys all night long.
What good is calling ticky tack interference penalties all night-calls against both teams were tight in that area for most of the early part of the game-but allowing both Kesler and Boulerice to get away with cross checks and slashes numerous times before Boulerice went upside Kesler's melon?
My complaint against NHL on ice officiation isn't with the Boulerice hit, it's with the inconsistent and slip shod performance of the refs across the board-with few exceptions. I know the NHL does a throuough evaluation of Refs, but dismissing one Blaine Angus doesn't solve the issue of consistency.
The NHL as a whole entity needs to do a far better job of consistent on ice enforcement and especially off-ice punishment of any and all infractions. Not just the ones that get the lead story on TSN or Sportsnet.