by PuckStopsHere on 09/24/10 at 01:05 AM ET
One of the worst things about pre-season hockey is when players get injured in the still meaningless pre-season. This is especially bad when a player tries to make a name for himself to make a team with a cheapshot on another player. One of the more outrageous examples of this in the recent past is Steve Downie’s 2007 pre-season boarding of Dean McAmmond, which netted the then-rookie Downie a 20 game suspension.
Last night we had two suspendable offences. The worst was a kneeing incident where Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik took out Detroit’s Johan Franzen. Franzen is expected to be out for at least his next three games. Orpik was given a game misconduct for the play, but as of yet no suspension. Kneeing is always a dangerous play and in a pre-season game it is senseless.
Chicago defencemen Nick Boynton made a “throat-slashing” gesture toward Blair Jones of the Tampa Bay Lightning. For this he got a one game suspension and that one game is a regular season game. The fight came after Boynton hit Chris Durno knee-on-knee to provoke the fight.
The NHL has shown that a rude gesture is a worse offence than kneeing. Kneeing is a dangerous play that can end careers. It is especially senseless in pre-season. Hurting players is somehow not as big a priority when it comes to suspensions. Just keep the “throat-slashing” gestures out of hockey.
This is an attempt to make hockey into “wholesome family entertainment”. You can feel safe that your young child can watch a game and not learn any new rude gestures. Your young child may get to see players leave the game injured from kneeing incidents, but that is somehow more acceptable. Does this set of priorities for suspensions make any sense? The news - if it is news - is that we can expect another year of suspensions that don’t make much rational sense.
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