NHL Playoffs 2012: Torres Hit on Hossa Shows Why Supplementary Discipline Fails
Another day, another possible suspension in the NHL.
Another revolution of hockey fans, reporters and analysts wondering what the Brendan Shanahan pick it out of a hat method of supplementary discipline will deliver.
At 11:42 of the first period in Game 3 between the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, Raffi Torres of the Coyotes delivered a late, high hit to Marian Hossa's head. Hossa stayed down on the ice for several minutes before being taken off the ice on a stretcher.
Hossa was taken to a hospital after the hit, according to CSN Chicago's Tracey Myers.
Myers added, "I was in the tunnel when Marian Hossa was wheeled off. Was totally immobilized, someone was holding his hands down too."
Hossa was released from the hospital by 11:30 p.m., according to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.
Though the referees missed calling a penalty on the hit, it was clearly illegal. It was late, Torres left his feet and hit Hossa's head.
It is almost the exact definition of what players are not supposed to do. The only way it could be worse is if Torres somehow added in an elbow, cross-check or used his knee.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety is failing at its only job: to protect the players.
The idea of suspensions is that the fear of not playing should prevent a player from doing such a stupid act.
What is supposed to be going through Torres' mind before that collision is this: I should not apply this late hit or target Hossa's head. Not only could I cause a serious injury, but I will be suspended for a serious length of time if I do.
What caused this mentality across certain players in the NHL is a series of inconsistent and sometimes insufficient suspensions.
One that should be noted is Duncan Keith's, of the Chicago Blackhawks, five game ban given for an elbow on Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.
Sedin still has not played since the incident. He missed the last nine regular season games and the first three Canucks playoff games, which Vancouver lost.
What the NHL seemed to say with giving Keith a five game suspension for an elbow-to-head play is take Sedin out for 12+ games, you will be suspended for five.
That logic is not bad logic, it's not dumb logic. It's nonsensical and completely illogical.
Players should not get off easy for causing serious harm.
Regardless of how long Torres is suspended for his hit on Hossa (should be at the very least 20 games), it is clear that Shanahan and the NHL are not doing a sufficient job.
The league needs to seriously reconsider how it governs cheap plays and protects the safety of the athletes who make the sport what it is.
Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers. He is available on Twitter for updates, commentary and analysis.
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