The NHL’s Hockey Operations department has been a busy bunch this week, ever since the league’s general managers called for tougher supplementary discipline at their annual meeting in Florida.
Since that request was made, the NHL has slapped San Jose’s Dany Heatley and Boston’s Brad Marchand with two game suspensions for pretty blatant elbows during Tuesday night’s action. On Thursday night, Nashville Predators forward Patric Hornqvist gave them a pretty good opportunity to make it three suspensions in three days when he rocked Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin with a headshot late in the first period, earning a major penalty and a game misconduct.
With Seguin turning up the boards in his own end, Hornqvist skated in and elbowed him in the side of the head, messing up his ear lobe and cutting him for seven stitches.
Right as contact is about to be made, Seguin takes a peek down at his feet to see where the puck is, but there’s no reason for Hornqvist to come flying in with his elbow that high! Also, it’s pretty tough to argue that you didn’t just clock a guy in the head when he’s got blood dripping out of his ear!
So, another opportunity for the league to flex some disciplinary muscles, right?
Rather than show a bit of consistency when it comes to doling out punishments for hits to the head, the NHL instead decided to fine Hornqvist a whopping $2,500 – the max allowed under the current CBA. Not only is that the most they’re able to fine him, it’s also much less than what he would have forfeited had he been suspended for a couple of games!
Let’s review the last two weeks in the NHL: No suspension for Zdeno Chara for his hit on Max Pacioretty, then Pavel Kubina, Dany Heatley and Brad Marchand all sit for pretty greasy elbows, and then Patric Hornqvist earns himself a fine for a shot to the head that got him tossed from a game.
What do you think: Did the NHL get it right, or should Hornqvist have been suspended?