Well, it's official and I'm not sure anyone is going to be happy about it.
Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog has been suspended 2 games for an illegal check to the head of Boston's Brad Marchand. https://t.co/e0PHYMclPM— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 13, 2015
The recipient of the hit, Brad Marchand, received a fine himself for sucker-punching Landeskog following the play. No suspension, huh? Of course, because intentional blows to the head aren't NEARLY as bad as a player making residual contact after initially striking the shoulder during the course of play.
Boston's Brad Marchand has been fined $5,000 for roughing Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 13, 2015
Listen, the league is doing right by the players, owners, and fans by protecting the on-ice talent from unnecessary head injuries. Landeskog made a reckless, if not malicious, hit on Marchand after entering the play on his blind side and received the appropriate "match" penalty for it. We can all enjoy hockey just fine without these plays and they should be regulated on ice just as this was. What's screwy is the hypocrisy of today's additional punishment. If accidental blows to the head during an otherwise legal check are bad, then why does the league tolerate VERY intentional sucker punches to the head during breaks in play? Why do they tolerate the Cody McLeod fight during the first period? Are blows to the head any different in these situations than they are during the course of play? Plenty of retired enforcers suffering complications from brain trauma would argue they aren't.
Again, the NHL has made the correct call in issuing punishment for Landeskog's hit, but they simply contradict themselves by approving the rest of it.