It's time to check in on the upgraded suspension tracker based on overhauling the NHL's discipline policy with the intent of preventing unsafe plays. My new suspension policy is based on my dad's idea:
...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.
Add in a fine to the team for the amount of salary suspended (i.e. the Blues will be fined Bouwmeester's cumulative salary for the duration of his suspension) and you've got a real discipline plan built on deterrence.
Below is the list of suspensions handed out to this point:
|Paul Bissonnette||Automatic suspension for leaving the bench to initiate a fight with Jordan Nolan||3 ps games, 7 reg season games|
|Teemu Pulkkinen||Boarding Mike Kostka||4 ps games|
|Adam Erne||Illegal check to the head of Vladimir Sobotka||3 ps games, 5 reg season games|
|Dale Weise||Illegal check to the head of Taylor Hall||3 ps games|
|Zack Kassian||High-sticking Sam Gagner||3 ps games, 5 reg season games|
|David Clarkson||Automatic suspension for leaving the bench to initiate a fight with John Scott||10 games|
|Phil Kessel||Slashing John Scott||3 ps games|
|Brad Stuart||Illegal check to the head of Rick Nash||3 games|
|Alex Edler||Illegal check to the head of Tomas Hertl||3 games|
|Patrick Kaleta||Illegal check to the head of Jack Johnson||10 games|
|Maxim Lapierre||Boarding Dan Boyle||5 games|
|Cody McLeod||Boarding Niklas Kronwall||5 games|
|Michael Grabner||Illegal check to the head of Nathan Gerbe||2 games|
|Ryan Garbutt||Charging Dustin Penner||5 games|
|John Scott||Illegal check to the head of Loui Eriksson||5 games|
What does the suspension list look like after the new policy is applied?
That list is below:
|Original Offender||Infraction||Also suspended||Length|
|Paul Bissonnette||Leaving the bench to initiate a fight with Jordan Nolan||Rob Klinkhammer||10 games|
|Teemu Pulkkinen||Boarding Mike Kostka||Justin Abdelkader||4 games|
|Adam Erne||Illegal check to the head of Vladimir Sobotka||Lauri Korpikoski||3 games|
|Dale Weise||Illegal check to the head of Taylor Hall||Henrik Sedin||3 games|
|Zack Kassian||High-sticking Sam Gagner||Daniel Sedin||Indefinite|
|David Clarkson||Leaving the bench to initiate a fight with John Scott||Colton Orr||10 games|
|Phil Kessel||Slashing John Scott||Fraser McLaren||3 games|
|Brad Stuart||Illegal check to the head of Rick Nash||Logan Couture||Indefinite|
|Alex Edler||Illegal check to the head of Tomas Hertl||Henrik Sedin||3 games|
|Patrick Kaleta||Illegal check to the head of Jack Johnson||Christian Ehrhoff||10 games|
|Maxim Lapierre||Boarding Dan Boyle||Jay Bouwmeester||Indefinite|
|Cody McLeod||Boarding Niklas Kronwall||Andre Benoit||3 games|
|Michael Grabner||Illegal check to the head of Nathan Gerbe||Kyle Okposo||2 games|
|Ryan Garbutt||Charging Dustin Penner||Erik Cole||5 games|
|John Scott||Illegal check to the head of Loui Eriksson||Steve Ott||Indefinite|
In this alternate reality, the suspensions that have occurred since the season began are pretty amazing:
- What do the Sharks look like without Couture for as long as Nash remains in the press box?
- The Canucks' results would look significantly different if Henrik Sedin was forced to sit for six of their first eight games due to suspensions. In fact, given the Canucks' history, it's probably best if the Sedins find new in-season hobbies - they're going to spend a ton of time on the suspended list.
- The Blues lose Jay Bouwmeester, half of their top pairing for as long as Boyle is out.
- The Avs get off light with Benoit leading the way in the points department. Perhaps we should amend the defensive suspensions to be based on time on ice instead of points.
- The Sabres stink, so losing Ehrhoff and Ott won't impact them finishing 30th, but there will still be a big hit to Terry Pegula's checkbook.
If you're looking for deterrence, real deterrence, punish the team for the transgression and watch how quickly they police the game themselves.