The Dept of Player Safety has done an admirable effort in attempting to stave off the nastier bits of the game this year, there’s no denying that. Unfortunately for Mr. Shanahan and his compatriots, there is also no denying the inconsistencies of the suspensions handed out to offending players. Tonight I ask for the staff’s thoughts on the matter:
What changes do you think the DoPS needs to make to be more efficient next season?
Because of the way the emails played out, I’m going to post the responses as they happened.
Three Words: No Touch Icing…
Oh, yea of course. And there’s no need for on ice linesmen either, they just need a video feed for both lines.
What I’m asking about though is stuff like effectiveness and inconsistencies in suspensions.
No touch icing has always been talked about, it’s even a part of the international game now, and needs to be implemented into the NHL; but, the excitement for fans while two players battle it out to the boards is quite entertaining. Is it worth the risk coming into the boards and one comes out injured? No, definitely not.
There are at least two rules where I want to see implemented. A rule on having at least partial visors (just take them off if you want to fight) on every player’s helmet. Time and time again, we see injures from ramped up pucks to the face that can be avoided using a simple visor. It does not obstruct the game enough to risk the safety of the players. Secondly, a multi-game suspension for blatant sucker punches. Much like the one that Vladimir Sobotka delivered to Dominic Moore while he was down on the ice. These sucker punches are unnecessary and only promotes bullying on the ice.
On the other hand, I do not agree with the linesmen thing. I think they do play a vital role in the game. Arguing that a video feed of both lines could replace the linesmen is like saying an on screen overlay for the strike zone can replace the Umpire in baseball. Yes it can… But no, I do not want it. The game has always been built on a 3 or 4 official system, and it’s always had two linesmen.
No touch icing, being consistent with discipline *coughs* Shea Weber and Dustin Brown, look into softer, durable padding.
I agree with just about everything Benny said and the reasons he gave, with the exception of the visor rule. Yes we should be protecting the player’s safety, but from vicious hits. Not stick and pucks to the face necessarily.
However if there were to be a rule amendment for visors, I think it should be rolled out like the helmet rule was. Something to the effect of all current players under 25 and all players from here forward will be required to wear visors now and moving forward. Players 26 and older presently have the option to wear visors until they retire.
And I’m going to catch me some flack for what I’m about to say, but I’m ok with that. The center line should be reinstated as a solid line and some of the clutching and grabbing from before the lockout should be allowed to help slow the game down a little bit. The reason is the guys coming up the middle of the ice are moving way too fast and are being obliterated in the neutral zone and that’s an easy to decrease the head injuries. Also, I think the league needs to stiffen up penalties and punishment for hits that cause serious head injury. Hard hitting is part of the game, but obliterating someone who’s not looking, while fun, has ramifications. Just like with the calls for high sticking, you are responsible for what happens to the other player and with checking it should be no different.
I would also like to propose a “Raffe Torres” rule in addition to the no-touch icing. If a player is found to have deliberately acted in a manner which causes an injury to an opposing player (i.e. putting a player on the disabled list for an illegal hit), that player who caused the injury is suspended for the length of time for which the player which he injured is on the disabled list.
Example: Torres hit on Marian Hossa. If Hossa is out 6 to 8 weeks, so is Torres. That simple. No Appeal since the injured player obviously cannot appeal either.
Darryl, I think you and I are much on the same page in terms of dealing with repeat offenders and injury time affecting the length of suspension. To point out the flaw in the latter part though, look to Crosby’s concussion fallout: the boarding hit that sidelined him was not that bad of a hit, it was simply compounding a previous hit. Call me a pessimist but I think it would just lead to an increase of diving and embellishing symptoms. However, not allowing an appeal is a great substitution.
I think the solution to determining the length of suspension is as simple as applying math to it. The things that Shanahan always talks about are intent to injure, injury caused, type of penalty, and previous history. seeing as almost all of these things should equal at least a one game suspension, a player should NEVER be suspended for just one game unless it was accidental and the first time.
There really is so much room for improvement that it’s hard to think that they will keep the system the same next season.
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