|Definitely not the answer.|
Artistry: No question. But we're dealing with a much different problem now than when Mario Lemieux uttered that criticism years ago. Now the problem isn't clutching and grabbing. The problem is the NHL can't make it through a playoff series without a significant controversy, and the sideshow regularly overshadows the main event. How is the league addressing the issue? With an incoherent, piecemeal approach to headshots, finger biting, and finger bite baiting that cultivates moral relativism and general fan and media outrage. I submit that this is not a good strategy.
The conversation continues after the jump...
Finesse: I submit that you are assuming that this is something that "the NHL" can legislate away, and I disagree. Of course it would be better if the NHL's punishments and non-punishments were more consistent, but I don't think that more consistent punishment would necessarily be a better deterrent of dangerous plays. At some point, doesn't the responsibility fall on the players and coaches to change the way they play? And if they don't change, does it mean that they are OK with the way the game is played and legislated now? Take the Rome hit on Horton -- what is "the NHL" supposed to do about that? He is suspended for the rest of the playoffs (4 games) -- are you saying that is too much or too little? Vancouver fans will tell you that it is too severe because Horton, had he kept his head up, had the last best opportunity to avoid the hit. Boston fans will tell you that it was a vicious head shot...but, of course, they weren't saying that about the Chara-Pacioretti incident. Demanding that the NHL legislate out dangerous plays is asking the league to do the impossible and risks going too far in the other direction, i.e., punishments too harsh for the crimes.
|Called a "faker" in Boston.|
Finesse: I guess my question is, what is a zero tolerance policy? No late hits and no hits to the head? If that's the case, then David Steckel would have been punished for his hit to Sid's head, and as much as I love Crosby and want him back at 100%, I don't think Steckel did anything wrong. It was the rare case of Sid losing awareness on the ice. And Hedman would also have been suspended, but did he really do anything different than what happens 5 times every game? I just worry that a zero tolerance policy is too far the other direction and we start penalizing the hitter when the guy getting hit ducks at the last second, or when the hitter is taller than the guy getting hit so he strikes the head. So my question...what is your zero tolerance policy and, if you have one, doesn't that mean fighting has to be gone as well?
|We forgive the hit, but not this picture.|
You can have the last word.
Finesse: Maybe the best policy is "reasonable tolerance" and the only way to implement that policy would be with reasonable people. Colin Campbell? Not reasonable. GTOG? Reasonable. I just think that every circumstance is different and that reasonable, fair, and unbiased observers actually can do a better job by looking at each hit/incident separately than any sort of blanket zero tolerance policy could do. To just start suspending people because of contact with the head, even if it wasn't their fault or intention, is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Did I just say that because I wanted to say "throwing the baby out with the bath water"? You're damn right.
The bottom line is that I believe the NHL's disciplinary policy should start from a stricter place than it does now -- maybe presuming that contact with the head is suspension-worthy? That approach, coupled with a reasonable distinction made by responsible people in the league office, would be a great start. But ultimately, nothing will change unless the players stop hitting each other in the head.