The Wisniewski Suspension

I should start by saying that in a perfect world, the NHL would always suspend players who throw hits like the one James Wisniewski threw on Brent Seabrook for eight games, especially given that Wisniewski is a repeat offender, and that after the game he argued it had been a clean hit. When I looked at the hit I said something in the five game range would be appropriate, but I only expected Wisniewski to be gone for a couple of games.

In short, I like the suspension and think it’s appropriate to the crime.

My problem with the suspension is that it’s out of sync with what the league normally does in these situations, something that Ducks GM Bob Murray pointed to when he commented on the decision:

He crossed the line and has to get whacked. I support Colin (Campbell). Colin’s job is a tough job to do. It is not easy. Let’s get them all if we’re going to do it and make it equal across the board, whether it is a fourth-line player or first-line player, whether the player plays on the East Coast or the West Coast. Don’t forget, what was the last suspension of eight games or more? Chris Pronger when he was in Anaheim. Let’s just make sure it is even.

Leaving aside Murray’s implication that West Coast teams are getting unfair treatment (let’s not forget that Pronger fully earned those eight games) there’s some truth here. Was Wisniewski’s hit more dangerous than Matt Cooke’s attempted decapitation of Marc Savard? Probably not.

Perhaps this is a positive sign, though, a sign that the league is attempting to improve the way they handle supplemental discipline. If this is the new standard, I’m all for it, and I imagine that the majority of fans would be as well. I just hope it isn’t a one-off.

Comments (7)

  1. I think Wyshynski had it right on his blog. Not the part where he said eight games was probably too many, the part where he said the more suspension-level events that happen in a short period of time the longer the suspensions tend to get in the NHL. If this had happened in early January when the Cooke, Ovechkin, and Lapierre suspensions weren’t fresh in everyone’s minds (especially Cooke’s) Wisniewski probably gets around 2-4 games instead of 8.

  2. That’s about the only issue I think anyone has with the way suspension are handed out. There is just to much grey area. Where one player is getting off with little to no punishment while another gets wacked with 2-3 games for something that is less severe then the hit that went unpunished. Hate to use it as an example but the Cooke hit looked worse then what Ovechkin did. The League needs to start getting guide lines together to start defining what type of hits are suspendable and for how long. It be a difficult task but players need to know that if your taking someone into the boards, you get this many, you take a run at someone you get this many, you attempt to injure a player you get this many. I know it’s not that simple but they’ve got to have these punishments laid down to get some kind of control on this.

    As for Wisniewski how can he even remotely defend that hit and say he wasn’t trying to hurt him. Anyone can see that was his sole intent and all to get back at Seabrooke for a legal hit he made on Perry earlier. Why’d he have to do that if you don’t like the way someone hit your player you go up to them and challenge to a fight and stand up for your teamates. Much like Booth did when he came back from his injury at the hands of Mike Richards. You don’t take a cheap shot at someone charging full speed into the boards regardless of what your intent was, that is likely going to lead to bad things and can have a major impact on Seabrooke’s career.

  3. Over the 80+ games, I’d be in favor of more short suspensions for those gray area hits. If it’s questionable it gets 1-2 games. Hits, like the one in question here, would not need 8 games (a number seemingly pulled out of thin air). Rather, it could get something more reasonable, say 4-5 games. In this way, the players would realize that questionable hits are consistently punished and illegal hits consistently get a more severe punishment. I think that this type of system would go farther in creating player suspension history than the current system where you get a random number of games for various infractions.

    As a fan, I am a bit confused about the rules. But a more consistent system of suspensions, and perhaps an increase in one game suspensions would decrease the guessing by fans and players, and hopefully rid the game of cheap shots.

  4. What a bunch of cry babies. I’ve seen my fair share of headhunting hits in the NHL this year – but the Wiesniewski hit was just malicious. The Ducks or their fans have nothing to complain about – it was simply blatant. He got exactly what he deserved. I would say that if he has a ‘next’ time – he’s out for the year.
    Quack on that one!

  5. “I should start by saying that in a perfect world, the NHL would always suspend players who throw hits like the one James Wisniewski threw on Brent Seabrook for eight games, especially given that Wisniewski is a repeat offender, and that after the game he argued it had been a clean hit.”

    A quick correction: in a perfect world, players would have more respect for each other and this sort of violence wouldn’t be part of the sport at all.

  6. what makes this hit illegal? if seabrook had the puck and wisnewski drilled him without injuring him would we be talking about it? wisnewski hit seabrook in response to him hitting corey perry and i mean i have no problem if wisnewski does that as long as he makes a clean hit when the player actually has the puck. As for repeat offender? look at what hes been suspended for some of his suspension are an absolute joke he got three games for standing up at the blue line and throwing a body check and yet we still have players like cooke and richards blindsiding there opponents and seriously injuring them to the point their career might be affected. I have no problem with this suspension i think its a bit lengthy but thats a good thing but some of the other bs that players get away with is stupid like someone explain to me how ovechkin only gets two games? please someone explain it to me because are you honestly telling me wisnewskis hit is worse than ovechkin taking out brian campbell for the rest of the year? i mean even alfredson hitting beachemin over the weekend from behind its not even looked at no fine or anything same with chris neils elbow on john mitchell no body even looks at it twice. basically if you play in the nhl you can do whatever you want untill you injure someone unless your a star player.

  7. lol avoid my bad grammer im cranky this morning

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