It’s been nice to see two days of hockey go by without anyone getting seriously injured, really great change of pace for these playoffs and with news that Raffi Torres has been suspended 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa, you’d think that the NHL was getting serious about preventing further violence. You’d think.

I’ve seen lots of ideas bandied about by People Who Are Smarter Than MeTM on how to cut down on head shots so, naturally, I thought that I’d throw out an idea of my own. I know, you’ve all been waiting with baited breath. I had the idea whilst browsing the Twitter and saw my esteemed editor, Justin Bourne (a board member of People Who Are Smarter Than MeTM) mention that the best way to curb players from doing anything is to make the punishment one that would hurt the team as that’s the last thing any player wants to do. Bourne suggested that if a player is suspended, the team should not be allowed to replace them on the bench for the remainder of their suspension. A good, practical idea. However, guys like Dan Boyle and Duncan Keith are already playing 30 minutes a game. These are professional athletes and coaches, they’d be able to adapt and find a way to make this work, especially in the playoffs when guys are total workhorses at all times (oh God, that sounded like something Pierre McGuire would say. I’VE BECOME EVERYTHING I HATE.)

“Okay, then, what’s your idea,” you ask? Good question, disembodied voice, I’ll tell you. I think that soccer has it right. And yes, that is the first time I’ve ever said that so you win, The Footy Blog. In soccer, if a player gets tossed, his team plays a man down for the remainder of the match. I like this. It has an immediate impact and would totally devastate the team, a potential 59-minute penalty kill. They’d be screwed. Unfortunately, in hockey, this is impossible.

This model works well with soccer and it’s stretched out fields and 11 guys a side and its “half back passes to the center, back to the wing, back to the center, center holds it, holds it, holds it…” (this actually happens in hockey too, but only when Tomas Kaberle is manning a power play). While applying this to hockey would be insane, it’s less the specific plan and more the idea behind it. It’s that immediate impact that’s important. Players are getting damn near killed and the immediate result is a 5-minute power play. That’s just not enough; it doesn’t hurt the team so badly that players will think twice about throwing their shoulder into someone’s face. What we need to see is a change in penalty rules – get tossed, double major. We need double majors. A ten-minute power play would unequivocally change the pace of the game and could change an entire playoff series. No guy wants to be the one who let down his team so badly that they had to play shorthanded for a full 10, hung out to dry and exhausted. Let’s see it happen, NHL. Is it just me or is this so crazy it’s starting to make sense?

Links To The Past

  • Is the Detroit Red Wings Retirement Community finally being retooled? That’d be a shame but the Detroit Free Press seems to think it’s time. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Another great infographic from the folks at Silver Oaks (heh) takes a look at first round draft picks since 2000. Do not read if you are a Toronto Maple Leafs or San Jose Sharks fan. (Silver Oaks Casino)
  • The Predators are kind of for real, you guys. Watch out, Western Conference (Puck Daddy)
  • The Phoenix Coyotes are really close to actually winning a playoff series and no longer being seen as the chokers of the NHL. (Arizona Republic)
  • Marc-Andre Fleury is taking all the pressure that’s being put on him and running with it. And he’s a flower or something. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Conversely, Philadelphia kind of hates Marc-Andre Fleury. (Philly.com)
  • Stay classy, Flyers’ fans (SBNation)
  • The Bruins are trying to get back on track by shuffling their lines. This is also known as the Ron Wilson method. It doesn’t work super well. (ESPN)
  • Roberto Luongo does not want to draw any focus onto the goalie controversy brewing in Vancouver. Probably because if anyone paid attention it’d be really, really embarrassing for him. (The Hockey News)
  • *Insert Malkin should be suspended joke here*

Comments (7)

  1. Great article. I’m also worried about the canucks season, as Schneider had to takeover. What is Luongo doing? He’s lost the past 5/6 games. I’m a huge SJ Sharks fan, and they’re facing elimination today. I’d really appreciate if you checked out my blog, and help me get discovered. Thanks!

  2. Wow 10 minute major powerplay would be ridiculous. That’s basically an automatic win for one team. Horrible idea imo. I think a more reasonable strategy if you want to hurt the team more would be if you have a player suspended you lose that roster spot and are forced to play with 17 or less depending on the number of suspensions.

    • I like the idea of not being able to replace a suspended player on your roster the most and would like to see it get more support.

      Only being able to dress 17 skaters is a definite disadvantage. Beginning of last season, NJ was not dressing a full 18 skaters due to salary cap problems and they had the worst start in the league (they then an amazing 2nd half and made the playoffs with 100 points this year, so I think its safe to say it had an effect) Not having a full bench matters, a lot.

      Imagine Phoenix having to play the rest of the playoffs with only 17 skaters. You are basically limited to 3 lines if you have one forward injured or penalized.

  3. The flaw I see with the 10 minute PP or the idea of not being able to replace a suspended player is that the refs and the league might be less willing to hand out a severe suspension. In theory, if how often players are tossed or suspended didn’t change, then these solutions might work. But I’d have to think that a ref is going to think twice about handing out a “double major” if it granted a 10 minute PP. Same goes for the league. Whereas they might suspend a player for 5 games now, maybe they only give him 1 or 2 knowing that his team can’t fill the spot.

    I think the best solution is the simplest one. Longer suspensions. Worked for Matt Cooke. We’ll see if it works for Raffi Torres. The only thing about the long suspension is the forfeited money. Depending on how deep the Coyotes go in the playoffs, Torres could forfeit up to $340,000. That is not insignificant.

  4. Increase length of suspensions, Increase maximum fines, and make the team pay a fine as well. This should be equal to what the player is paying (if he is fined) or equal to the players forfieted salary (if player is suspended).

    For example, we will pretend this happened in the regular season. Torres would miss 25 games, lose $340k in salary, and the team would pay an extra $340k. Now he is really costing the team, and they will be pissed at him. It could potentially lead to a situation where he has to change, or he risks not getting another contract, because what team wants to fork out that much for a liability.

  5. A twist on the idea proposed would be to simply penalize the team by taking away the roster spot of the player suspended. If you’re out for three games, they can no longer ice someone else to fill your position.

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