It was quite the interesting weekend in hockey, eh Sabres fans?
Between Zack Kassian’s going all King Arthur on Sam Gagner during the Vancouver Canucks-Edmonton Oilers game, to the line brawl that broke out during the Buffalo Sabres-Toronto Maple Leafs UFC match – I mean hockey game! – the NHL ‘s Department of Player Safety had a healthy agenda come Monday morning.
I’d say I feel bad for Brendan Shanahan . . . but he’s doing such a terrible job, I really don’t care if his job is difficult. What I do care about is justice, and as usual, I’m forced to look elsewhere, as the NHL has no real interest in administering it.
Case in point:
Zack Kassian met with Shanahan on Monday, and was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and the first five games of the regular season. His high stick was deemed reckless, but it is doubtful he was trying to injure Gagner, and his suspension-free history factored into the final decision. I’m sure Gagner will come to appreciate this decision – after all, he has 6-8 weeks to mull it over.
Meanwhile, David Clarkson received a ten-game suspension for leaving the bench during the brawl. I understand the rule – a fight on the ice is bad enough, but having the benches empty creates an incredibly dangerous situation which cannot be tolerated. Clarkson knew what kind of suspension he would be getting, so I don’t feel bad for him – but then again, he didn’t break anyone’s jaw. So he’s got that going for him.
Then there’s Phil Kessel. If Kassian is King Arthur, Kessel is Game of Thrones. Kessel may not have broken anyone’s jaw like Kassian did, but he used his stick as a weapon repeatedly. He clearly displayed the intent to injure someone, yet he is scheduled for a phone call hearing today, which guarantees he will receive a lesser punishment than Kassian.
Gotta love the NHL Department of Player Safety. I bet players feel “safe” knowing that Shanahan is looking out for their well-being.
Time to vote! Which of these knuckleheads should have received the stiffer punishment? As always, I want to hear from you, so leave your comments below, or hit me up @theamazingMrS!