Finally, the league has given out a suspension with some teeth: James Wisniewski reportedly received an eight game suspension for his indefensible hit on Brent Seabrook today. (According to ChiBlackhawks) Really, in my opinion, the league could have given him 20 games and I would feel fine about it.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie also had a great take on the dirty check, calling it a “grand slam” of illegal hits.
Charging? Check. Interference? Check. Boarding? Check. Throw in the predatory aspect of the hit, the seeming malice and forethought to avenge an earlier play and I would say Wisniewski hit this one out of the park.
It had a vaguely Downie-esque feel to it (see Steve Downie’s charging and high hit on Dean McAmmond).
My first thought was that with so many illegal elements to it, it would make sense for the NHL have to an in-person disciplinary hearing and a suspension of five or more games. A day after the fact, I don’t feel any differently.
Whether you say Wisniewski was standing up for his teammate or not, he took plenty of strides and hit Seabrook when the defenseman didn’t even have the puck. It was one of the worst hits I’ve seen lately in what has been a parade of dirty plays and is particularly dim-witted considering the fact that the league is on red alert for this sort of thing.
Besides, say what you will about Corey Perry, he could have stood up for himself if he had a problem with Seabrook’s initial (legal) hit.
Honestly, I cannot help but wonder if even eight games is a little light. Sooner or later, the league needs to stand its ground and make an example out of someone. Maybe it can be like one of those “fifth caller wins $1,000” deals: the next player who puts another player’s career at risk with an illegal hit gets an early vacation.
What else is going to stop this perpetual loop of dirty hits?