In case you missed it, here again is the hit in question:
For that hit, deemed only a two-minute charging penalty in the game, James Wisniewski will sit for eight games in his second suspension of the season (the first was for a high hit on Shane Doan in November).
By current standards, eight games is a lengthy suspension, as by my count, there have only been a dozen or so longer ones in the past decade. (And we've seen a lot of ugly (Bertuzzi et al) incidents in this league in that time frame.)
I still haven't seen any word on how long Brent Seabrook will be out, but as you can imagine, his coach was incensed at the hit.
"If you hit a guy without the puck, you can kill a guy," Joel Quenneville said. "It's the most dangerous hit in the history of the game alright? And he tried to hurt him. That's not intent?"
The biggest question for me is if this suspension will actually work as a deterrent or if these things will continue to happen. In the actual game, the Blackhawks didn't even get a power play on the play and Anaheim won, meaning Wisniewski essentially got away with eliminating one of Chicago's best players.
Reader Steve Needham sent in a suggestion that I think has some merit on this:
"It seems to me, that as fast as the game has become post lockout, that all the physical contact type penalties (boarding, charging, elbowing, kneeing) should be majors. If the referees want to add on misconducts or match penalties so be it. Supplemental discipline as well can be considered later. I you bet if those infractions have the immediate in game result of a major penalty they will get coached out of the game quickly."
At some point, it may come to an idea like this. I highly doubt the NHL brass are going to jump right into something as radical as handing out majors for elbowing, etc., but given Wisniewski's is the 28th suspension of the year, you have to seriously question if the league's current strategy is working.
If the NHL truly wants to eliminate these plays, the hammer has to come down harder and with more consistency.
This is a start -- but we've said that before, too.Report Typo/Error