Why even bother having a department of player safety?

Injury is the only reason to suspend someone these days. Even then they only get one game.

We have Adam Lowry boarding Patrick Kaleta - Department's ruling.

We have Alexei Emelin hitting Brian Gionta's head - Department's ruling.

We have Marco Scandella hitting TJ Oshie's head - Department's ruling.

All three of these plays (especially the last two) have the potential to be career altering hits. Is that what it is going to take to hand out a significant suspension? Another Matt Cooke/Marc Savard incident?

I thought the idea of this department is 'player safety'; right now it's just tip money for the Players Emergency Assistance Fund, a noble cause I'm sure.

Lowry's hit on Kaleta was avoidable, Lowry made is choice and rightfully got a game misconduct and a boarding penalty. Do you think the 1 game suspension will make Lowry think twice about doing the same thing again? It seems that no one but Buffalo fans care about the player that was hit, but once again it is an act that can cause serious damage, and an act that can be taken out of the game with proper punishment.


This is Lowry's first suspension, costing him just under 10% of his possible 82 games for the year. The financial loss for Lowry would be $80,812.98. $4,453.41 is what Lowry's 1 game suspension is costing him, what is more likely to elicit behavioral change?

Alexei Emelin was part of a suspension case himself earlier in the year with Alex Burrows, you can see that getting hit in the head really changed his point of view on player safety. Why should it bother him? It cost him a paltry $11,021.51, ouch.

I'm not sure what else the Department of Player Safety need to suspend Emelin here? It was a clean shoulder to the head, and Emelin had the target of Gionta's shoulder, he either missed (a skill error) or decided to hit Gionta in the head. Either way Gionta is lucky he has not displayed any concussion symptoms, yet.2014_12_02_Emelin_Gionta.pngThis is Emelin's 1st suspendable offense, and it stings him 9 games, the lifting of the shoulder is why I say he 'extended' his shoulder, had he not done that, we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion. It is also why I think it was a skill error, it is like Emelin knew he had missed his hitting target and wanted to make sure he took something of Gionta as he would have been out of position otherwise. The 9 games Emelin misses would cost him $450,000 of his $4.1 million cap hit this season, I think that would sting a little more than the $11,021.51 he just put into the player fund.

Marco Scandella was fined $2,755.38 for his hit to the head of TJ Oshie.

Just like the Emelin hit, I am not sure what the Department of Player Safety is looking for when it comes to a suspendable hit? Is injury going to be the measure of the size of the suspension? Because if that is the case all suspension decisions should be delayed until the team can clear the affected player of concussion symptoms. These can be delayed we have seen that this year. 

2014_12_02_Scandella_Oshie.png Just like the two previous we have covered off today, this is Scandella's 1st suspension costing him just under 10% of his possible 82 games for the year. The financial loss for Marco would be $100,000 of his $1.025 million cap hit this season. Slightly more than the $2,755.38 he has been fined by the Department of player safety.


Name Actual % of Cap Hit
Hockey Hurts % of Cap Hit
Emelin $11,021.51 0.27 $450,000 10.98
Scandella $2,755.38 0.27 $100,000 9.76
Lowry $4,453.41  0.54 $80,812.98 9.76

A quick look at the above numbers show what is going to hurt more, it's obvious, but seeing them seem to make it more 'real'. What is going to change behavior? That is what we want.

I know I have been writing a lot of these lately, and they do seem to come in spurts, it might suggest that the players are paying attention to the fines and suspensions. However I do not think they are harsh enough to create a change of habit, that is what the league needs.

This change is not going to come from the players, look at Emelin as a great example. Being a player who was hit in the head, he had a choice to make and decided to hit a player in the head rather than pay the price for a skill error.


Because he knows the punishment is going to be negligible.


Suspension Archives

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