Gabriel Landeskog was suspended 3 games today for his cross check to the head of Simon Despres.
Despres had gone to the net hoping to cash in on a rebound, then chased down the puck as it squirted back out into the slot. He did a turnaround backhand shot before Landeskog came in and caught him in the side of the head with a two hands on the stick.
I agree with the Department of Player Safety that this was not a hockey play and was not the result of any regular battle. It’s not something you want to see at all. He got his stick up unnecessarily high and even if he didn’t hit Despres in the head, there was never any good going to come out of a high cross check. Landeskog didn’t do anything else wrong mind you. There was no combination of cross checking and charging, or leaving his feet, for example. So 3 games isn’t the worst.
The problem, again, is the reasoning of the Department. Where this should be a minimum of 3 games on its own, Player Safety only issued 3 games because Landeskog is considered a repeat offender. Earlier this year he was suspended 2 games for an alleged head shot on Brad Marchand. My feelings on that can be found in Landeskog 2 Game Suspension Disappointing
But if they do feel he’s a repeat head shot artist, in the same season no less, then is one extra game really sending any sort of message? Especially when it’s only 3 games? The 5 games total between the two suspensions to me probably isn’t enough for a first offence. This cross check to me on it’s own is worth 4-6 games.
The rate of suspension increase for repeat offenders is, again, doing nothing to curb the issue. The number of repeat offenders at all is a testament to that.