This season, the rising concern in the NHL has been hits to the head and last night's hit by New Jersey Devils defenseman Mike Mottau on Islanders winger Frans Nielsen was a prime example.
Nine days ago, Islander defenseman Thomas Pock elbowed Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Shannon and received a five minute major penalty, a game misconduct, and a five game suspension that's still being served.
The calls for change came around a month before that when Islander Doug Weight leveled Carolina Hurricane Brandon Sutter giving him a concussion. Weight went unpunished. And Devil coach Brent Sutter, a former Islander and Brandon's father, had this to say on Weight's hit:
"I'm not blaming anybody, but I know firsthand a check like that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago because you know what the consequences would've been."
This comes from a man who when he captained the Islanders in the 1990 playoffs failed to respond when his teammate and star Pat LaFontaine was knocked unconscious by Ranger James Patrick. The only quote after the game was from Mike Vukota, a born-again Christian.
Back to now, today NHL " discipline man" Colin Campbell handed Mottau a two game suspension for his hit on Nielsen (breaking news Nielsen is out 8-12 WEEKS with multiple leg injuries) and the referees Dave Jackson and Dan O'Rourke gave Mottau a two minute minor and when Trent Hunter came after Mottau he received a two, five, and ten (minor for instigating, five for fighting, ten minute misconduct).
These two things are where I believe that all the stuff the NHL has been saying it will do about hits to the head is a JOKE.
Campbell gives Mottau a slap on the wrist for leaving his knees and elbowing Nielsen in a game in which Nielsen was playing one of his most complete games in the season. When Islander GM Garth Snow talked to Campbell about the hit today Campbell stated that he didn't see Mottau hit Nielsen in the head in any of the videos.
Complete and total lie.
Those two referees, Jackson and O'Rourke, are also jokes. They see a teammate come to defense of his linemate and penalize him when stuff like this happens all the time. Hunter didn't instigate the fight since Mottau's hit caused the whole incident and since he didn't instigate the fight he shouldn't have gotten the misconduct.
I'm going to stop now since this is pissing me off a lot to know that Campbell and Sutter are hypocrites.
Total side note:
Salute to Patrick Roy, the best goalie the NHL has seen. Classy salute by the Canadiens organization and props to the idea of having him walk the concourse to share the moment with fans.
For those of you wanting to judge for yourselves here's the link to the hit courtesy of hockeyfights.com: