Friday afternoon, the NHL deemed that there would be no further disciplinary action on Aaron Voros for his boarding of Eric Staal on Thursday night. Apparently since Staal didn't get seriously hurt, they are going by the "no harm no foul" mentality. The decision really is not surprising at all.
In a league where there is no penalty given when a player gets his face sliced up for 40 stitches from a high stick but there is a 10 minute major assessed for trash talk, what else would one expect? I could go on and on with examples of inconsistencies and inadequacies, but most of you reading this probably already feel that the officiating in the NHL is shaky at best, anyway. You don't need further proof from me.
One might say, things won't change until someone gets seriously injured. Wrong again. Players already have gotten seriously hurt. Necks have been broken. Long term concussions have occurred. Players have been knocked out of action for months, and in some cases, for their careers. Look at Steve Moore. You can agree or disagree with his lawsuit, but putting that aside did he deserve to be jumped on from behind, face first into the ice? Did he deserve to lose his career? Sure, Todd Bertuzzi served a suspension, but he's still playing and earning millions of dollars while Moore is being vilified as being the guilty party by some.
As long as you have the top of the league willing to help turn the victim into being the guilty party, you will forever see the toleration of dirty, dangerous hits. For instance, it was Erik Cole's fault that he was hurt because his head was down while heading toward the boards. He "put himself" into a dangerous position. Thursday, it was also probably Staal's fault because his head was down near the boards as well.
If players are skating around the rink with their heads down, they are officially fair game on the ice. They might as well be wearing a sign that says "please give me a concussion". On one hand, the league wants skilled, fast skating superstars who can score lots of goals, but on the other hand, they make it perfectly legal for braindead, skill-less thugs to knock their lights out. Now that my friends, is a paradox.
Then you have the hockey purists complaining that cleaning up the game will sanitize it too much, or turn it into a sissy game. Is it impossible to keep hits chest high, or do players have to aim for an opponent's head when they try to clobber someone?
Don't get me wrong, I love to see a hard-hitting game. I also think that a good fight is exciting and there is a place for that in the game. But I also love to see the finesse skaters like Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov fly through the neutral zone.
I wonder what Patrice Bergeron thinks? Bergeron was deemed as one of Boston's top players before he was knocked unconscious on a hit from behind into the boards by the Flyers, Randy Jones. Jones was given an unbelievable 2 game suspension while Bergeron has not played since October 27th and is still suffering.
In my opinion, all head shots should be illegal and suspension worthy. This should include head-first boarding as well. Players should be held responsible for their actions. Perhaps, they should miss just as much time as their injured party misses if they hurt someone? In this blogger's opinion, something needs to be done.
Buffalo is in town to take on the Canes tonight at the RBC and I'll have some pre-game info up around noonish. Better keep your heads up in the parking lots Caniacs!