Well the NHL is giving out mixed messages again. The twitter-verse has not been happy with Marc Staal getting in some shots on Sidney Crosby’s noggin.

I’m not sure if it has to do with the fact it was Sidney Crosby, or the fact Staal has had his own battles with concussion, but people were not happy.

I’ve had a look at the two incidents and I am struggling to see why people want Staal to be suspended from the game 3 contact.

 

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It was an attempted cross check to the back, Crosby bent over a little and Staal’s stick got Crosby in the head, but only after Staal’s stick touched Crosby’s back ever so slightly. It is a penalty, cross checking or roughing, but not a suspension.

As for the game 4 situation, that looked like intent to injure. Staal lead with his elbow and made slight contact with Crosby’s head. It even looks like Staal tried to hit Crosby in the head with his right hand as Staal falls down, it certainly made contact, I just find it hard to believe Staal would do that.

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Either way it looks like intent to elbow was there from Staal, does the NHL take a look at this if Staal catches Crosby flush on the head and Crosby misses some shifts or even a game.

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From our suspension system here at Hockey Hurts Staal would miss 3 games. As far as I know Staal has no previous suspensions, therefore no carry over points.

So with no carry over from previous suspensions the 3 games seems like a lot, it felt like a lot when the table spat the number out. I’m trying to work out if it feels like a lot due to the suspension history so far through these playoffs.

The Cooke decision comes to mind in my thinking, 7 games for a knee on knee from a repeat offender (yes I know he is considered ‘clean’ under the current CBA) and Staal gets 3 games for an incident that the on ice officials didn’t even penalise.

Then you think of the Seabrook suspension and the result was a concussed Backes and that got only 3 games, so why on earth should the NHL suspend a non injury 3 games.

If the NHL really wants get rid of hits that attempt to injure, then these incidents need to be punished. The suspending on the result is reactionary and, to steal a word from Greg Wyshynski, ‘bush league’.

For me that is the difference between game 3 and game 4, Staal wasn’t looking to injure in game 3, however game 4 if you lead with your elbow you are trying to injure.

I am all for being physical and hitting to hurt, that is a part of any contact sport and a way to wear down your opponent especially in a 7 game series. Hitting to injure is another issue. Attempting to ‘take out’ a player via injury is just well, wrong.

It is another example of how members of the NHLPA have no respect for each other when they are on the ice. The old school of hockey want the players to police themselves, well speed kills in the NHL now and those policemen cannot skate in todays game. It is up to the department of player safety to enforce on ice changes.

A stick tap to Ryan Wilson (@GunnerStaal), Sean Gentille (@seangentille) and Jesse Marshall (@jmarshof) for pointing me in the right direction for the details in this piece.

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