Check this out. Don Cherry goes on a huge tirade against Matt Cooke, saying it's horrid and embarrassing for the NHL that he didn't get suspended. He's right on, saying it's open season because the NHL did nothing, and saying in the old days, this would never have happened, et cetera and so on. It's worth watching, 'cause he does all the yelling so I don't have to.
Then, the capper of the bit is "you've got to [do something about these headshots] now, because what happens is: next year, someone does it to Crosby."
Yeah. That's why we have to do something. Not because it's ruining the sport, or because of the countless people, most recently Marc Savard, whose playing careers have been halted or permanently altered, but because next season, it might happen to Sidney Crosby, the only hockey player who matters ever about anything.
Anyway, to play the Sean Avery card one more time (should I rename the blog?), put things in perspective. Avery waves his stick around 15 feet from Brodeur, the NHL rewrites the rule book overnight. Avery makes a comment to a reporter impugning his ex-girlfriend's honor, he gets indefinitely suspended from the NHL. This hit:
gets nothing. The NHL and the GMs have various meetings through months to discuss the idea of possibly rewriting the rules to maybe include something specific. This doesn't have the overnight urgency of rewriting the rules, Avery waving a stick to distract Brodeur does. This doesn't have the impact of deserving any suspension at all, but a comment to a reporter gets an indefinite one.
Oh, and remind me why we have to rewrite the rule book at all. As Ron McLean points out on Coach's Corner above (when he's allowed to speak), the following is NHL Rule 21.1, "Match Penalty":
A match penalty involves the suspension of a player or goalkeeper for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately.
A match penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who deliberately attempts to injure an opponent in any manner.
A match penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.
Oh, hey! We have a rule that says you throw a guy out for trying to injure a person. Let's start there! Cooke didn't even get a fucking penalty for his hit. Sounds to me like the solution isn't new rules, it's better fucking referees.
And don't tell me we need a rule to mandate suspensions. I guarantee there's no rule in the rulebook mandating an indefinite suspension for saying "sloppy seconds" to a reporter. But the league figured out how to call one anyway. They can fucking well figure out how to call this one, too. It may not fit their narrative, but it sure would save some people's careers. I guess it all depends where your priorities are. We don't need better laws, we need better, less arbitrary enforcement.
This league is fucking insane.