The Stanley Cup playoffs last night and it featured everything that we’ve come to know and love about the playoffs. Hard hitting, exciting end to end action, thrilling overtime finishes, controversial calls. They all make for great water cooler talk.
However, there was an incident in the Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators game that has me and the rest of the hockey world upset.
To begin, I like Shea Weber. I think he’s one of the best defenceman in the NHL. I wish he was a Winnipeg Jet. Weber could play on my team any time he pleases. However what he did to Henrik Zetterberg last night was inexcusable. For those who didn’t see it, at the end of the game, Weber grabbed Zetterberg by the back of the head and rammed it into the glass like it was a turnbuckle WWE style. It would have made Stone Cold Steve Austin proud, but this isn’t pro wrestling. Here’s the video of the incident.
For that, Weber was fined $2,500, the maximum amount a player can be fined according to the collective bargaining agreement, and NO suspension. I have a hard time with this. Again I like Weber. I’m even cheering for Nashville in this series. But Weber should have been suspended.
The NHL is sending the wrong message here. For all the talk about cracking down on head shots, the NHL could have done the right thing and suspend Weber for multiple playoff games. Instead the NHL as they are wont to do, capitulated like a drunk to another beer. The league decided on a “hefty” fine that will do nothing to curb head shots. When will they learn?
Sadly it’ll either take a death on the ice or a change of attitude off the ice. Since no one wants to see a death, the change off the ice is the one the league should concentrate on. The general managers and owners need to stop focusing on what is best for their individual team and focus on what is best for the game itself.
The NHLPA needs to stop focusing on the rights of the aggressor and start worrying more about the impact of the victim. Too often I hear the union decry about the accused player being jobbed about being dealt to harsh a punishment while the victim is sitting at home with a concussion, wondering when he’ll play again.
This is what needs to change in the sport. If it doesn’t, the consequences could be tragic.
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