The argument of whether injury should play a factor in suspension decisions is raging after the Ryan Callahan hit on Kris Letang. Many point to the judicial system as proof that the NHL NEEDS to factor in injury because crimes are less severely punished depending on whether the victim is killed, injured, or unscathed.
But the two systems aren’t comparable.
In the judicial system, for example, a police officer generally only decides whether there is enough reason to make an arrest. A judge and/or the court then have to decide whether there is enough to actually punish the person, and what the appropriate punishment for the crime is based on the criminal act or “rulebook”.
They can take injury into account, and it’s also why they should give credit for time already served prior to the enforcement of the penalty. Since the punishment decision isn’t instantaneous, that’s only fair.
Compare this to the NHL. The referee looks at the “crime” and decides whether or not a penalty needs to be awarded. This same person also judges the appropriate penalty to fit the crime based on the rulebook. All decisions are made on the spot. The on ice officials are in essence the police, the judge, and the jury all in one.
The Department Of Player Safety is a completely separate entity. By the time they see anything, a penalty has already been assigned based on the current rule book or laws. They are called Player Safety for a reason, not Player Law Enforcement or Player Punishment. Its purpose is not to make sure the appropriate penalty was handed out and make corrections to that effect. All they should be interested in is eliminating things from the game that make it unsafe.
The Department of Player Safety should NOT consider whether a guilty player got a two minute minor instead of a five minute major. It should NOT consider whether a guilty player was ejected in the first period or the third. It should NOT consider whether a player that was injured missed two shifts or two periods. All it should consider is the degree of danger the act presented to its clients, and whether the guilty player is a repeat offender.
Based on the degree of danger, they should decide a punishment appropriate not for the crime, but appropriate for how much they want to prevent that particular crime from happening again.