There are a ton of reasons all of us love playoff hockey and recognize the NHL Playoffs as the most grueling tournament in sports.

The game is faster, the hits are bigger, the goaltending is out of this world, the ice seems brighter and cleaner, the fans are louder. We know that with emotions running high and the intensity level soaring, there are bound to be some unfortunate injuries and some questionable hits, not to mention some questionable calls.

But what’s happened so far in the 2012 Playoffs, and what is overshadowing the great hockey we’ve seen, is absolutely ridiculous.

What started as a crazy first couple of nights quickly became a nasty weekend, and now we’ve reached a week of devastation on the ice. Malicious hits from behind, driving opponents’ heads into the glass, cross checks to the throat and face, and now Raffi Torres’ reckless airborne hit that sent Marian Hossa to hospital.

And we’ve barely reached the halfway point of the first round.

Some people blame the freakishly growing size of the modern day players. Some people blame the speed of the game. A lot blame both, and say we need to find some reasonable ways to slow the game down just a tad, and perhaps even find ways to shrink equipment without minimizing players’ protection.

Here’s a simpler idea. Make players think twice before acting like gutless idiots on the ice. Shea Weber received no suspension for that aforementioned driving of an opponent’s head into the glass. Arron Asham got four games for the cross check to the throat and subsequent sucker punch while Brayden Schenn lay on the ice, and that was considered a heftier punishment.

It seems Brendan Shanahan and the NHL have forgotten that deterrence is the main objective of a suspension, and are simply handing out these Mickey Mouse bans to follow a precedent, instead of to set one.

Here’s an idea. Throw precedents out the window the same way goons like Asham and Torres throw common sense and responsibility out the window before a cowardly action, and start handing out ridiculously sized suspensions that actually make a statement.

I’d rather be sitting here in the future with a slightly toned down postseason debating if a suspension was too severe, instead of sitting here in the future wondering how a near deadly on ice incident wasn’t punished enough.

Other than that, here are some morning links to lighten the mood:

Comments (5)

  1. Did Asham actually get Schenn in the throat like they were saying on NBC during that game? Looking at the Shanahan video, it looks like upper chest. Shanahan even says that the head wasn’t hit. Way does it keep getting referred to as throat?

    Don’t disagree with the suspension at all. Asham should have never hit him while he was down. Based on that video, I think the suspension would have been only 1 game it he only crosschecked him and didn’t punch him like Backstrom.

    • Agreed, Asham’s punishment was fair, especially considering he’s never received supplemental discipline (I was shocked to learn). Torres is a repeat offender and we can only hope Shanny throws the book at him, to make a statement at least.

  2. Oddly, haven’t all of the 0-3 comebacks in history been done by the lower seed? I know that was the case with the Hawks and Flyers, and at least one of the Isles’ 0-3s that one year.

  3. I think what you’re not understanding about why Asham didn’t get more than he did is that he was aiming for the chest, not the head, the stick rode up and did not actually make contact with Schenn’s face (in other words, Schenn laying on the ice and playing dead was a dive). Shanahan went over this pretty extensively in the video.

    Asham got 4 games for “recklessness” not for actually seriously damaging or even trying to seriously damage anyone. That’s plenty.

    • I think the four games were for the “recklessness” and the cheap-shot on the ice of an “injured” player. I also agree with the Schenn dive comment. There have been a few dives on plays to make them seem worse and get everyone riled up. Also don’t like players being called goons for having one bad hit in their career. To me a goon is a fighter only (around 2-4 minutes total ice time typ.) or a player with repeated cheap-shots with no desire to change or see errors in their ways.

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