Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wants to see the league crack down on head hits and he’s got some big proposals for how to do that.
“I have, for the longest time, said there is no room in this game for that kind of play,” Melnyk said. “No. 1, these are elite hockey players. They’re not just plastic figures you can kick around and think they’re going to come back.”
One of the changes Melnyk wants is for repeat offenders to be booted from the NHL.
“If there’s a one-off, mistaken hit, fine,” Melnyk said. “That’s up to the league to decide, but if you have a repeat offender then that person should be out of the game without question. They have no business playing in the NHL. It’s the equivalent of getting a junkyard car driver in the Daytona 500. Why are you putting a reckless driver in an elite group?”
It’s worth noting that New York Rangers’ Carl Hagelin, who elbowed Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head, was not a repeat offender and thus would not have been removed from the league under Melnyk’s proposed system. That being said, Melnyk has other proposed changes that might have impacted the Senators’ situation.
Melnyk wants to see hockey players put into A, B, and C tiers, so that if a C-tier player takes out an A tier player, the other team will lose one of their A-tiered players as punishment.
“It’s very simple: You rank your players ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’. You take out of my ‘A’ players during a playoff series, I get to select one of your ‘A’ players that’s not going to play,” Melnyk said. “Forget about the goon, he doesn’t care if he plays again, he’s getting paid, but give me a choice of who I can take off of your roster.”
So let’s say for the sake of argument that Raffi Torres is a C-tier player. After Torres’ devastating hit on Marian Hossa, Chicago would then get to point to Ray Whitney or Shane Doan and say that player can’t play.
Melnyk thinks this is going to “get elevated to much more full-scale discussion at the (next board of) governors’ meetings.” We’ll see what comes out of that.