With the rather stunning news about Sharks captain Joe Thornton being suspended for two games for his hit on David Perron, word got around quickly about how the Sharks were furious about the decision on the play. Sharks GM Doug Wilson spoke out today about the hit and you can tell right away that frustration, more than anything, is what the main issue is right now.
“We strongly disagree with the two-game suspension handed down by the NHL today to Joe Thornton,” Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. “What is most distressing is that we feel the suspension is not consistent to the recent reviews by the League following similar collisions resulting in players leaving the penalty box and establishing their place on the ice, including Willie Mitchell on Jonathan Toews.
“In Joe’s case, it was clearly not a predatory-type hit with an intent to injure, shown by the fact that the player returned to the ice for his next shift so it is clear that the contact to the head was minimal. We put a lot of time and effort into helping define the NHL’s new rule on headshots but we feel strongly that this suspension is not a reflection of the rule’s true intent.”
Wilson’s got a point here and, at the moment, it feels like the league’s new Rule 48 regarding headshots and blindside hits, rather than making everything black and white is turning everything into one, big gray area. Wilson’s frustration in not being completely clear on what will and will not be a suspendable offense is evident. We’ve already seen a host of hits that qualified under Rule 48 and they have been handled in various ways from fines to outright suspensions to absolutely nothing at all. It’s important for the NHL to get things right here so everyone knows where they stand on these matters. Bringing back the Wheel of Justice means of figuring out what to do does no one any favors.