Many players in recent months have been suspended, fined, or neither for plays that were under heavy scrutiny. zelePUCKin, always one for fairness, has decided to investigate this matter. Video evidence included.
Allow us to start with what the NHL has called a good disciplinarian ruling-- the suspension of Philadelphia Flyer Daniel Briere for a slash to the head of a New York Islander. Briere was suspended 3 games (the last of which would have been against the Islanders). He also was levied a heavy fine of $237,000. The ruling was that Briere used his stick as a weapon against the Islander's head and that he was a repeat offender. The repeat offender card made the fine go way up, and most likely added a game to the suspension.
Now can we compare Washington Capitals' Alex Semin's finable (not suspendable) act on John-Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche? Video first:
John-Michael Liles has his back to Alex Semin and the whistle has blown. Semin in a fit of rage two-hand crosschecks JML in the back of the head, and JML falls to the ice. You would think that Briere's ruling would carry over here, just a month or two after it was given. A player, with two hands on their stick, uses that stick as a weapon to the back of their opponents head. That is, in fact, what happened in both of these incidents, is it not? One would think. However Semin has not be suspended and was told he would only have to be fined. The amount has not be determined as of this writing. Although I cannot imagine it being anything over $10,000.
Alex Semin fined an undisclosed amount for his actions
Daniel Briere suspended 3 games and fined over a quarter of a million dollars for his.
It would seem to me that the focus of the NHL disciplinarians is whether or not you are a repeat offender. So much so that the action is almost second to the rap sheet. I am not against harsher penalties for repeat troublemakers. But such a discrepancy makes it look like only repeat offenders are being targeted.
The punishment must fit the crime, not all the other crimes in the history of the player's career.
Now watch this....
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeny Malkin starts to pick a fight with Detroit Wing Henrik Zetterberg under 5 minutes to play in game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2009. Starting a fight with under 5 minutes to go in a game is called instigation. It is an automatic suspension to be an instigator in the final minutes. That would have prevented Malkin from playing in at least the next Stanley Cup Game.
However Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell did not see it this way. They did not give Malkin any punishment besides what was given to him on the ice. They felt that the spirit of Malkin's decision was not in the same spirit of an "instigator." Apparently wanting to punch in Zetterberg's face means something else in Russian.
But the Malkin situation is a dead horse. I brought it up to say that there is a list of Liked players and Unliked players sitting in Bettman's and Campbell's office and it comes into play every decision they make. Little loopholes like the "repeat offender" and "the spirit of the rule" are really just taglines for "I don't like you" or "we need you for ratings."
Here is another example of a botched call by the league office and the refs on the ice.
Rene Bourque Spears Drew Doughty- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBjSMIMfsHo
Nothing more than a 2 for slashing.
There needs to be more consistency, there needs to be more integrity. Despite what Gary Bettman and the TSN lapdogs tell us-- something smells at the league office! Collie-Gate was one door, these over-called head shots are another, these terrible suspensions and non-suspensions are another...when will the flood gate open and the fans become knee-deep in the bullshit they have been feeding us?
NHL, do a better job.