10 October 2011

My take on Bouchard suspension...

Here is NHL player saftey VP Brendan Shanahan on Bouchard's two game suspension:



Click here if the video doesn't show correctly on the page.

At first glance I think this is too harsh for the incident, but if Shanahan is consisent, I don't really have a problem with him setting this standard.

At 1:10 of the video, Shanahan says "His [Bouchard's] reckless swing regardless of where it was intended did in fact cause an injury"



The second part of this statement gives me trouble, as I thought the new standard on headshots was to punish the danger and the intent, not necessarily the injury.

With that in mind look at the position of Calvert's stick at 1:14, bearing Shanahan's words in mind. Clearly the blade is near Bouchard's head, and would've done damage if he had struck Bouchard.

Is this not also a reckless position for the stick to be in? If this were about danger and intent Calvert's action would also warrant a suspension. There is even a decent argument here that it was in fact Calvert's recklessness more than Bouchard's that caused the injury.

I'm not homerish enough to proclaim Bouchard's blamless here. He's usually above retaliatory slashes like the one he tried to deliver to Calvert's arms. However, I find Columbus Blue Jacket's head coach Scott Arniel's characterization that this was a "baseball swing" patently absurd. I think Arniel is speaking more like a sore loser, there is no way the video supports this accusation.

(Speaking of people that sound like sore losers I would like to point out that whenever Bouchard's agent Allan Walsh opens his mouth, he is seldom helping.)

With all that said there is something to be very concerned about with this ruling. Shanahan has taken a very poor step away from a disciplinary model with more emphasis on how dangerous and risky plays are as opposed to emphasizing the resulting injury.

I'm afraid for all the good steps he's taken away from Colin Campbell's wheel of justice disciplinary model, without applying this standard to Calvert's recklessness as well, he has sadly taken a step back toward the Campbell direction.

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