Doing a blog on suspensions has really made it noticeable to me that the precedent set by the decisions of Player Safety on suspensions usually take about 7-14 days to bite them in the ass. The repercussions of the Duncan Keith suspension came in just under the wire on day 14.
Keith of the Black Hawks was suspended 6 games on April 1st for attempted beheading at the expense of Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. From his back on the ice, he took a violent, unpredictable one handed swing with his stick. 6 games wasn’t even close to enough. That point was proven tonight in the dying seconds of game 1 between Philadelphia and Washington.
For starters, and it pains me to say this, the officiating was hideously unfavourable to the Flyers, especially in the third period.
So at the end of the game when Brayden Schenn drilled Karl Alzner of the Capitals, I even felt good about it. It was an awesome, clean hit. What wasn’t so clean was when Alzner, from his back, took a violent, unpredictable one handed swing with his stick, chopping down on what appeared to be the shoulder of Schenn.
The announcers didn’t appear to notice and said nothing about it. As far as I know, nothing was noted on the game sheet. Hopefully Player Safety does see it.
But what can they do? A pretty much worst case scenario chop to the head is only 6 games. This Alzner slice was to the shoulder. At the most then they can only give him 3 games. But that’s technically 3 regular season games. The standard of 1 playoff game equals 2 regular season games means that Alzner will have to miss the next game and then the league will ask his coaches to bench him for a period and a half on the honour system.
Imagine how effective it would have been to have given Keith a 15 game suspension. Two weeks later, a 7-10 game suspension for the same thing, and in the playoffs no less. That probably would have gotten the attention of the players and this would likely have been the last stick swing for a while.
As it is now, I expect to see at least three more of these types of plays before the cup is handed out.