Frozen Royalty: They Must Use A Dart Board To Make Decisions At NHL Headquarters
We all took issue with Jason Demers’ hit on Ryan Smyth the other night. Well everyone except the National Hockey League. Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty takes a look at the discipline that Jarret Stoll faced and the discipline that Jason Demers didn’t face. You gotta love the NHL!
Before you start rolling your eyes, this is not really about the merits of Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll’s hit from behind on San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian White in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series on April 14. It is also not about if Sharks defenseman Jason Demers should have been suspended for his hit on Kings left wing Ryan Smyth in the same game. Even the punishment Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan should receive for stomping on Nashville Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum’s’s foot in Game 2 of their first round series on April 15 is not what this story is about.
These incidents shine an ultra-bright spotlight on the haphazard way the NHL hands out fines and suspensions. Indeed, it often seems that whether or not the incident results in an injury, along with the severity of the injury, dictates whether or not a suspension is handed down, not to mention the number of games.
Of course there are examples where the resulting injury does not appear to factor in the decision. But, more often than not, that is exactly what happens.
To illustrate the haphazard nature of NHL discipline, Stoll received a one-game suspension for his hit from behind on White, and will miss Game 2 of that series on April 16.
But compare that to former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger, who threw a vicious elbow to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond during Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Final series on June 2, 2007, and received a one-game suspension.
At the time, Pronger was already a repeat offender in the eyes of the NHL, and had a reputation for head hunting going back to his days with the St. Louis Blues. Yet all he got was a little, teeny, slap-on-the-hand one-game suspension, rather than being forced to miss several games, as he deserved.
Of course, this incident is just one out of many that have bewildered hockey fans for decades.
Stoll is not a dirty player, and did not appear to run White with any intent to hit him in the head. Nevertheless, the hit was clearly from behind, and he made contact with White’s head. It was the kind of hit the league is trying to rid themselves of.
But Demers’ hit on Smyth also falls under that category, as he skated hard at Smyth and launched himself, leaving his feet with his left elbow raised, hitting Smyth in the head.
Read the rest on Frozen Royalty.