Unfortunately, as predicted by this blog, Chris VandeVelde only got two games for elbowing Jonathan Toews.
The Department of Player Safety issued the obligatory decision explanation video(link provided in the above tweet) and it couldn’t have rattled me more. After the two minutes or so, I was enraged, frustrated, exhausted, and defeated all at the same time.
It begins by running through the play. They use key words such as “blindside”, and go out of their way to explain how VandeVelde was in full control of the situation the whole time. They point out it wasn’t a fast play where the speed or a sudden movement contributed to an unpredictable situation. Absolutely true. He had every option available and Toews was at his mercy, yet he chose to “extend his arm and forearm significantly”, aiming it at Toews’s jaw.
I wondered, well if they agree with that, how can they say this is only two games? The gutless idiots think controlled targeting of the head is only two games???
But then I watched some more.
In almost the same sentence talking about speed being a non factor, they say “VandeVelde mistimes his hit, lunges, and attempts to get a piece of his opponent”. This just absolutely blows my mind. VandeVelde had a great angle, and Toews was moving like a snail and standing almost upright. How can they say he was in full control, and then explain his action as a scrambled attempt at recovery from a miscue?
If VandeVelde can’t time that hit he should be suspended indefinitely anyway.
Not only does the excuse the league provides shock me, but the 2 game number as well. Not even just because I think he should get more, but for how inconsistent it is with what they said!
Let’s just say they’re right(they’re not). VandeVelde didn’t have intent. He made a mistake and accidentally caught Toews in the head. It’s not flagrant, but we still need to suspend. Fine. So a guy who has no intent but messes up gets two games. But the going rate for an intentional, head targeting sucker punch is $5,000.00 or one game max? Also, how is this considered worse than Brandon Dubinsky’s intentional, direct cross check to Crosby’s head that earned him one game? How is this just one game less than the three games issued to Gabriel Landeskog for his cross check to the head of Depres, keeping in mind that the league considers Landeskog a repeat offender?
I’m really not comparing specific incidents here. Each play has its own set of circumstances. But in general, if an accidental, “non-predatory” elbow is two games, then the predatory, intentional stuff needs to be 5-7 at least.