The NHL handed down their decision on Boston’s Brad Marchand concerning his cheap shot elbow to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger. League disciplinarian Colin Campbell handed down what’s the customary punishment for violations to Rule 48 and gave Marchand a two game suspension for the hit.
Yesterday we saw Dany Heatley earn a similar two game ban for his cheap shot on Dallas’ Steve Ott. With these plays coming during the conclusion of the GM meetings in Florida and with head shots and concussions being a major topic of discussion, including the instant enforcement of new in-game concussion treatment protocols, it’s curious that the league would stay consistent with their seemingly light punishment.
In these two situations in particular, it appeared to be very obvious what both Marchand and Heatley intended to do and they most certainly seemed to be targeting their heads, yet they’re given the same punishment that a player would get for accidentally doing the same. We know that the cries for consistency with punishment are loud with the NHL, but I’m doubting anyone other than the offending teams would be upset if the NHL followed their own lead with the concussion protocol and handed out stiffer punishments.
As it is, the league will have to deal with looking hypocritical in the wake of these hits and that appears to be something they’re comfortable with in doing whether it makes sense or not.
Marchand will lose $6,330.64 in salary for the two games and see that money donated to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund for his transgressions. At least every dirty hit and suspension has this positive turn on it.