So Ryan Garbutt went knee on knee with Taylor Hall, the NHL dodged a bullet.
Taylor Hall didn't have his knee blown out.
Ryan Garbutt will be a three time offender after this decision.
Ryan Garbutt still will not get more than 6 games due to no injury on the play.
What we see here is the result of soft punishment. This is Garbutt's third suspendable offense, 5 games for charging and a fine for spearing since October 2013, and he has barely been scratched by previous decisions. So there is absolutely no fear in doing something illegal on the ice. As you hear Drew Remenda say, "that's about the 4th time Garbutt has taken a run at Taylor Hall tonight, within the rules, not like ridiculous, but he has gone after Taylor Hall. He's been very physical on Taylor Hall tonight". Garbutt was chasing Hall all game, he wanted to put a physical stamp on the Oilers best player, hell you want Garbutt to do that. But you want it to happen legally and not in a method that could reduce a career.
As I have state before I love the physical nature of the NHL, but what Garbutt did in this situation is not what we need to see in the game. If Garbutt keeps his knee in, Hall gets by him and is off to the races. What would you rather see, a scoring chance or a great player injured on an unnecessary play? At worse he is going to lose 6 games of his paycheck ($117,073 plus change) from his $1.6M he earns this year. The Department of player safety has already set the season precedent earlier this year, they do not want their decisions to go to arbitration so anything over 6 is off to an arbitrator.
The other option you have is to protect the players on the ice who make the magic happen and actually punish Garbutt in a way that may change behavior. Tag Garbutt for 29 games, rake more than 500 grand out of his pocket ($565,853 plus change) and see if he does something like this again.
This is the 2nd knee on knee hit we have seen in less than a week on star players in the NHL, both players who committed the hit had choices to make prior to the hit, they both chose to use their knee to hit their opponent in the knee.
When I originally worked through this case I only had Garbutt down for 2 previous offenses, I hadn't counted the fine for spearing Corey Perry. Without that fine the suspension is 17 games, this being considered his second offense. That still costs Garbutt $331,707 plus change, even that should be enough to enforce a change of behavior on the ice.
Once again the NHL's prerogative of suspending on the result rather than the act will see this kind of act continue, waiting until there is an injury to a key league player is folly.
Below is the full table and the points for each part of the suspension. To get a full 82 games you need to be on your 4th or more suspension. The games suspended total here is calculated with all the variables added into it. 82 games would be calculated from a head shot with an extended elbow more than 10 feet from the puck with a predatory intent and extreme force. The offending player would be on their 4th offense.
As always comments are appreciated, any feedback on this helps make it better and hopefully the Department of Player safety will actually put player safety first, rather than the reputation of the league.