So we are only a few weeks away before the NHL gets on the ice for competitive pre season games. The players, front office and officials are getting ready, the question is, will the Department of Player Safety be ready to protect it's product on the ice?
Will Stephane Quintal take discipline to a new level or maintain the status quo that did not seen a change in behaviour on the ice in 2014-15?
Lets have a look at the past few seasons and see if there has been a declination in suspensions.
2012-13 Season - 48 games
57 man games lost to suspension
22 separate suspensions
1.18 per game
10 fines handed out
total activies: 79
2013-14 - 82 games
174 man games lost to suspension
46 separate suspensions
2.12 per game
18 fines handed out
total activies: 64
2014-15 Season - 82 games
178 man games lost to suspension
29 separate suspensions
2.17 per game
24 fines handed out
total activites: 53
The numbers are looking pretty good, total activities of suspensions and fines are coming down, the volume of suspensions is coming down and the man games lost due to suspensions are going up. This is as it should be, harsher penalties should lead to fewer individual suspensions required, and hopefully fewer injuries, especialy brain related injuries.
Looking back through the suspensions over the past 3 seasons it is interesting to see the names that crop up. Ryan Garbutt and John Scott are the most common, one of the great things about the focus on 'fancy stats' players like John Scott are going to be gone from the ice soon so the likelyhood of them destroying a brain is less and less likely. Garbutt is an interesting case, hey can play, but my goodness does he cross that proverbial line, 4 incidents in the last 3 seasons, 2 in the last season alone, no one suspensions greater than 5 games and one fine that could have been a suspension.
As a Pittsburgh Penguin James Neal had his name up in lights, however since moving to Nashville he has been labled more as a diver than a sniper (of the head) so it is progress of some sort. It would seem the change of scenery has Neal respecting the safty of his fellow on ice participants.
With all of this in mind I have set up my 2015-16 suspension system with a couple of new parameters, as I have said this is always a work in progress the more variables you can plug in the more likely we are to encourage people to get on board with the concept.
So the way this maps out is I have added in a board proximity, changed a couple of categories in the Hit Intent and added hands/stick to the body part used. Hopefully this will catch a few incidents that were like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Anyway that is it for now, lets hope I am not having to pull this thing out very much this year.
Thanks for reading.