Monday, May 12, 2008

Suspensions Only When Convenient

The latest poor suspension decision by the NHL was made yesterday. At the conclusion of game two on Saturday, there was a scrum behind the Detroit goal. Mike Ribiero, the Dallas Stars top scorer slashed Detroit Red Wing goalie Chris Osgood over the top of the goal. There is no place for that type of play in the NHL. It was made out of frustration because Dallas had just lost game two 2-1 to fall behind two games to none in the semi-final series. The NHL has ruled there will be no suspension.

I suppose the fear is that it will appear that a suspension helped to eliminate Dallas. The NHL is notorious for not being consistent in their suspensions. When it's a bit player early in the season, such as Chris Simon then of the New York Islanders or Steve Downie of the Philadelphia Flyers they have no problem giving out a long suspension. However, when it is a star player and the game matters (ie. it's the playoffs) the suspension is short or non-existent). Last year, the NHL suspended Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks two times for illegal hits in the playoffs. They were one game suspensions which was the shortest that could be allowed by public opinion. This year, there is no suspension at all for Mike Ribiero.

The NHL should want the appearance that there is justice and no bias toward suspending certain players in certain situations and against it in others, but decisions like this prove that there isn't. A slash on a goalie after the game is concluded should warrant a suspension. In this case, it doesn't because the player is too important to the remaining playoff chances of his team.

1) We agree that suspensions were in order here. Osgood for 1-2 games for his butt-end/attempt to injure Ribiero and 2-3 games for the Dallas forward for his reaction to Osgood's actions. Its unfortunate that the officials missed Ozzy's Billy smith-like stick work.
Even Osgood said he didnt think the slash warranted a suspension but, cutting to the main point, the NHL should set down rules and numbers of games for committing an infraction and make them the same for everyone. (Rather than go by whether the player is a star, go by how many infractions they've committed)
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