The NHL has handed down another suspension from an ugly weekend. Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf received two games for this hit from behind on Boston’s Kevan Miller. A length that will accomplish, well, absolutely nothing.
For all the bluster made this past weekend over fighting and the supposed gash it leaves on the game, more than anything, the weekend showed the league’s biggest problem remains dangerous hits and disrespectful plays that no sane, reasonable person believes has a place in the game. And it’s not just fighters doing it, as Phaneuf and James Neal proved. There wasn’t even a Leafs penalty on this play! Compounding the problem is the fact disciplinary measures are tepid at best and don’t do enough to curtail these plays from happening again.
Phaneuf’s hit wasn’t the most damaging of its kind, nor was it even the worst event of the weekend. But that’s not what this is about. This is about the fact the weekend was full of over the top, uncalled for danger, nonsense and cartoony foolishness, most of which will be repeated at a later date. Phaneuf’s hit wasn’t the worst, but it is garbage and needs to be dealt with harshly.
Because until suspensions become about discouraging these problems that plague the game, rather than about show, they don’t really mean or accomplish anything.
But that’s up to the league and its players. Until they both change their mindset about how to curtail disrespectful (and there is no other word to describe it) nonsense, we’ll just wake up tomorrow, next week, next month and do it all over again.