Mar 30, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward David Perron (57) and New York Rangers forward Dan Carcillo (13) fight during the third period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Should the NHL Lessen Dan Carcillo's Suspension?

As the New York Rangers prepare to face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals beginning this Wednesday, there’s one member of the team who isn’t joining in on the fun. Rangers left winger Daniel Carcillo is in the midst of a 10-game suspension he was served after game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. He’s served three games so far, as the conference finals series went to six games, but has seven more to go. That means he’ll be benched for the entirety of the Stanley Cup Finals, and possibly a few games of the 2014-2015 season unless the Finals go to seven games.

Carcillo decided to exercise his right to appeal the 10-game suspension with an in-person hearing on Friday with league commissioner Gary Bettman.

If you haven’t already heard about Carcillo’s offense, he was served the suspension are committing a Category II violation of abuse of officials in game three, per Rule 40.3. After being restrained by a linesman, Carcillo was being escorted to the penalty box and acted aggresisvely towards the linesman, at one point seemingly elbowing him in the face. Carcillo was immediately thrown out of the game and received the automatic 10-game suspension.

Should the NHL seriously consider lessening the 10-game suspension for Dan Carcillo?

I don’t think so, and here’s why.

First and foremost, you can’t touch the officials. That’s one of the most basic rules, and it was a downright stupid move of Carcillo to act as he did. I don’t care if you’re acting in the heat of the moment; you’re not a child. Have some composure and realize that you’re interacting with an official. Recognize the rules and be smart enough to back off.

Second, it’s an automatic 10-game suspension. That’s the rule  book and that’s the way it is. I don’t care if you’re an aggressor like Carcillo, a star like Sidney Crosby or somewhere in between. Abuse of official in that way correlates with an automatic 10-game suspension. Don’t like it? Don’t. abuse. an. official.

Third, if you really want to play that card, Dan Carcillo has been suspended multiple times before, including a two-game suspension in October 2011 for a hit from behind and a seven-game suspension for boarding in January 2012. He also received a four-game suspension in December 2009 and a two-game suspension in March 2010, both as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Carcillo has quite the reputation, and lessening his suspension won’t teach him any lessons on avoiding this behavior in the future. His game is an aggressive one, but he’s got to learn to reign that in and control it. He won’t do that if the NHL lessens the suspension.

Overall, I don’t think the NHL should ever lessen a suspension. I don’t care if it’s Dan Carcillo we’re talking about, or Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, or any of the other hundreds of players in the NHL. Set the punishment and stick to it. While I understand that players are entitled to an appeal, I think in most cases, the league needs to stick to its rules and see the suspension through.

In this case, Carcillo’s suspension could be detrimental to not only this season but his career. The 29-year-old is set to become a free agent in the offseason, and teams may be more and more wary of signing him considering his past experience with the league’s rules. It’s difficult to justify signing a player who is going to make silly mistakes like that, or constantly draw attention with suspensions, costing your team money and a roster spot.

So, what do you think? Should the NHL lessen Dan Carcillo’s suspension, or should they make him serve the full 10 games, even if that means missing all of the Stanley Cup Finals and potentially some of next season?

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