This is an idea that I swear I've written about before, but for the life of me I can't find it in the archives, so away we go.
My dad's a smart fellow and a helluva coach. He's played, coached and officiated sports for more than a half-century. And while I've witnessed him reach the unreachable kid, teach the unteachable kid, win with the proverbial bunch of ragtag losers, win all-star tournaments with the leftovers, and willingly give up home field advantage in the playoffs and win...to prove a point, his best idea may be his system for doling out suspensions in the NHL.
Like the rest of us, my dad grew tired of watching talented hockey players suffering injuries at the hands of not-talented hockey players. He grew tired of the NHL not taking cheap shots (now referred to as "non-hockey plays") seriously. And lastly, he grew tired of the light punishments, the lack of repercussions involved in ending other players' seasons and careers.
Except Dad grew tired of it in the early 1980s, not at some point over the last five years.
I don't know when his idea for overhauling NHL discipline struck him, but he decided to tell me about it a few years ago while we were sitting on the deck enjoying a couple of beers, where most great ideas are discussed.
Dad's idea is based on an ancient text, the Code of Hammurabi, specifically the well-known "If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be knocked out." Except, rather than adhere to the commonly-discussed "suspend the offender for as long as the injury he caused keeps his opponent out of the lineup," Dad goes one step further.
In my dad's disciplinary construct, a player who injures another in a "non-hockey play", or who has been found intending to injure will be suspended according to the current NHL precedent. There's nothing ground-breaking there. However, it's the second portion of the punishment that explores a new, and more effective, territory. While your thug (Zack Kassian, Matt Cooke, Daniel Carcillo, Chris Neil, or any other untalented hack) will be suspended using NHL precedent, their equivalent teammate will be suspended for the duration of the injury caused.
Practical (and recent) examples include Zack Kassian's unsafe and intentionally stupid high stick on Sam Gagner. Kassian's in-person hearing guarantees that he'll receive a five game suspension, which is all well and good, but Zack Kassian is worthless, while Sam Gagner is a very good player. Under Dad's system, the Canucks' second-leading scorer from last season, Daniel Sedin, would miss as many games as Gagner is out of the lineup due to the injury. In this case, Gagner is expected to miss between 10 and 15 games, so Sedin would serve a 10-15 game suspension. See ya in November, Daniel.
It sounds off-the-wall, but at a practical level, it makes sense. Paul Bissonnette received a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a fight, yet Zack Kassian gets 5 games for intentionally breaking a guy's jaw, an injury that will cost Gagner 2-3x that many games.
What are the chances that Zack Kassian tries to intentionally slash Sam Gagner, knowing that it will cost the Canucks Daniel Sedin? What are the chances Mike Gillis employs a player like Zack Kassian, knowing that it might cost him Daniel Sedin?
Dad's right, if you want to stop the madness, make the worthless players answer to their teammates, instead of allowing them to injure the good players and only answer for their crimes with a quick tussle with another worthless player and a brief suspension. The willingness of a worthless player to injure a good player hasn't changed in the last 50 years - it's time for the method of punishment to change.