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?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Dan Carcillo

  • JDawg

    Because one could argue, and I suppose Carcillo and his representatives did argue, that it could also fall into the Category III violation (3 games). I believe he was in the process of trying to free himself from the official when he made contact. That’s the argument that could be made.

  • TheOtherManWithNoName

    What’s the penalty for abuse BY an official? The whole series with Montreal was characterized by offensive interference by the officials, who couldn’t get anything straight. When you miss a call for too many men on the ice, and the team with 7 players scores, we don’t have to wonder what team we are talking about, if it is in Montreal. Do we? Break a guys jaw and no whistle and a two game suspension. Same kind of check but no jaw, no games missed, no surgery, but it’s a 5 minute major, game misconduct and a two game suspension. The coach for Montreal insinuates or makes outright intimidating statement of physical abuse towards an opposing player? I mean, the referees are behind the play and they have become an embarrassment to the game. Why should Carcillo have to take the fall for the refs inability to control or call the game correctly?

    • Kevin

      So your saying the Ref’s should be held accountable for blowing a call that leads to an injury? If that’s the case, I agree, However, players, accidental or not, cannot touch a Ref. Where would the game be if they didn’t punish players for that? btw, the penalty is 3, 10 or 20 depending on the severity.

      • TheOtherManWithNoName

        Why not? The refs should be held accountable for a blown call, regardless of whether or not it leads to an injury. This whole thing about “was there an injury” is ridiculuos. Rules are intended to penalize infractions and to up hold the standards of the game. If some guy does exactly the same thing as another player and an injury does not occur, how is the ref supposed to know that at the time, in most cases. Just call the game and make more situations reviewable, especially in such instances as when the play is currently being reviewed, for example. If there is a question about whether or not the puck when in before the whistle was blown, which you can review but you cannot review the blown interference call that may have occurred on the play, unless the ref wants to make something up like they did in one of the Chicago game, when they said the goalie was not permitted to play the puck. No penalty was called. Frankly, they are using basically the same refereeing system that they have used for the last 20 years, following the addition of a second referee or whenever that occurred. Since the lock out, they are unable to keep up with the speed of the game and are responsible for more blown calls as a result of being out of position than ever. They are spoiling the game and to hold them sacrosanct is old world. The important thing is to get it right, not protect the referees from embarrassment. Don’t you wonder about “embellishment?” If it was a penalty, call it. If it wasn’t don’t. To give one guy a penalty for high sticking and the other guy a penalty for embellishment seems almost strange. Making prema donnas out of them has led to more recklessness in the game, since the players know they can take risks. Hey, why not throw in a bumb and take out the key player on the other team. What will happen? You might not even take a penalty during the game, and if the league should catch up with you, then the bumb sits for a while. No loss for you and who knows, maybe you win the series.

        • Kevin

          You may have a point on Ref’s not keeping up with the speed of the game, perhaps! But to judge the Ref’s in the playoffs as opposed to the regular season is apples and oranges. My biggest pet peeve is when the Ref right near the foul doesn’t call the penalty, the other one does a 50ft away. What’s up with that? I think two Ref’s second guess each other all the time.

          • TheOtherManWithNoName

            It’s the marble in the pocket approach. They don’t always both have the marble in the same pocket!

      • nyr4life

        so why wasn’t the penalty for 3 games? Why 10? I’ll tell you why, cause it’s the new york rangers………The f-en linseman instigated the whole scene

        • Kevin

          Why do you feel the linesmen instigated it? I think he over-reacted at best. But that doesn’t excuse the outcome of the penalty. Are you say it was 10 games because it was the Rangers?

          • TheOtherManWithNoName

            It was in Montreal. The refs are Canadian. Montreal hasn’t seen a Stanley Cup Final in over 20 years. Everyone wants Montreal to win and will do whatever it takes. The refs included. After all, they are only half human. Montreal is down two games. Hagelin scores. Carcillo within minutes gets a game misconduct, followed by a 10 game suspension. The refs got rid of their problem. It’s a disgrace. Look at the Montreal game, when they won 7-4. There are a total of 21 penalties. Bourke gets a game misconduct, but no suspension. Please, there is no doubt that Moore made a dumb hit in that game and deserves a two game suspension, but the refs never had control over the game and contributed to the play and therefore are as culpable as a coach for urging his men to beat up on some one. Isn’t that what the Moore case is all about in Vancouver, and why the case has not yet gone to trial?

          • Jack Butt

            You can make all the excuses you want, all you talk about is what the Habs did and not the rangers! Kreider taking price out, the head bunt not penalized, and all the high sticks and hooks not called as well! Think the refs want the Habs to win, then how come they’re out and the rangers are in? You win and still whine!

        • Jack Butt

          Abuse on a ref is automatic 10 games, don’t know where you got that 3 from, unless I missed something.

  • Timothy Sullivan

    I agree that players should never put their hands on an official, but in this case it was the official who put his hands on Carcillo (both hands in fact). Carcillo’s hands NEVER touched the official and the elbow that made contact was not intentional. Carcillo was trying to free himself from an official and was not even aware he been given a penalty. Carcillo was not even part of the fight although he was skating towards it, as were other player on the ice. Carcillo does have a history of suspensions but he has clearly made significant effort to clean up his game. These all have to be taken into consideration.

    • JDawg

      I agree. First, I think the refs, realizing that they screwed up on the Prust/Stepan incident, were then wanting to keep the game in check and were looking for anything that might lead to escalation. Of course, I’m sure that they were especially watching Carcillo due to his reputation. The charging penalty called on him was weak. Any other day and that would not likely be called, but they probably felt that they needed to at that point. Like Timothy said, I don’t think Carcillo even realized he was called and was just hanging around the fight area as most players do. The linesman was then overly aggressive with him and I’m sure Carcillo felt as if he was being singled out. The guy really has played a clean game since he’s been with the Rangers. And putting Carcillo in the box at that point could have potentially left the Rangers at a man disadvantage had other ancillary fights broken out. I think he just wanted the linesman’s hands off of him and was trying to break free and accidentally caught the linesman’s chin with his elbow. And it was a glancing contact. If this was a player who didn’t have Carcillo’s reputation, I’m pretty confident that it would have been a 3 game suspension. I think Bettman should have taken all of this into consideration and judged this solely on the incident and not the reputation. But Bettman hates James Dolan so I’m pretty sure nothing will be changed here. Unfortunately.

  • JDawg

    Carcillo’s suspension was reduced to 6 games. Meaning he is eligible to return for Game 4. Guess you were wrong Melissa. :-)

  • Jack Butt

    Carrillo deserved that 10 games just like the next guy! No matter if the refs blow calls, he’s responsible for his own actions! The refs can blow 100 calls and it still doesn’t give him the right to hit the refs! It’s like if an employee was making mistake and you go hit your boss! C’mon!

    • Kevin

      Great analogy