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10-22-2008, 01:10 PM
  #18
LyleOdelein
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I think one of the biggest problems with the NHL's discipline is that the major criteria for suspending someone is "intent". Then, they consider past suspensions, time and score of the game, etc. As a result, sometimes, a truly reckless player can repeatedly get away with dangerous actions and merely get a slap on the wrist for it.

Intent is a tough thing to determine. Do I think that Hollwig goes out intending to throw dangerous checks that could injure guys and end careers? No. I think he's a reckless player. The difference is that he never stops himself from throwing hits that could be dangerous rather than that he goes out an looks for them. A reckless player doesn't see the possible consequences of his action, and as a result can be very dangerous. In my opinion, reckless plays lead to far more frequent injuries than "match" penalty plays where the intent to injure is there. Jones' hit on Bergeron last year is an example of a reckless play that led to serious injury, as is Torrey Mitchell's check that broke Foster's leg. Foster hasn't returned yet, while Bergeron's career was in jeopardy last year. Yet, the league still hands out minimal punishment.

So the question for me is, why hasn't the NHL remedied this? I can think of examples from every season I've watched where a player crosses the line, and gets off relatively free because it wasn't fully intentional (Lemieux on Draper, McLaren on Zednik, Marchment on Weight, Orpik on Cole, etc.) Yet, the second there's an injury caused with intent, it's a long suspension (Hunter on Turgeon, McSorely, Bertuzzi).

The NHL needs to start telling it's players that they are responsible for reckless plays like boarding, charging, kneeing, elbowing and headshots. Hockey's a fast game, and any knowledgeable fan knows that occasionally a boarding call is going to take place, or a high hit, so I don't mean that a first time offender should be heavily penalized. However, if someone is repeatedly suspended for these types of offences, that player is a timebomb that's going to end a career (like Ulf and Marchment before them). I would say that a full year ban should be given to a player who has received 3 separate suspensions for reckless penalties within a 5 year span.

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