5 Games? Cmon!
So Duncan Keith gets five games, and we can debate over whether the punishment is fair, but no amount of games handed out is lessening Daniel Sedin‘s recovery time.
The suspense for the suspension will be nothing compared to the suspense for the announcement of Daniel’s injury and whether we’re talking days, weeks, or even months.
And there lies the rub. For all the talk of suspension and retribution, it’s not bringing Daniel Sedin back. Instead, he’s the latest star player to fall victim to an institutionalized form of headhunting sometimes called the “hockey play” (which is conventionally impossible to define) and sometimes backed up by the “hockey code”, which again is impossible to pin down long enough to define.
The league failed to stop Matt Cooke from blindsiding Marc Savard, and allowed an environment to foster where Dave Steckel Lindros’d the best player in the game.
And still they’ve learnt nothing or applied nothing because now the reigning Art Ross winner is seeing double when he looks in the mirror or family photos.
While the NFL came down hard on the Saints this week for their bounty program, sending a clear message to every other team to not even think about pulling a stunt like that again, the NHL keeps the same standard practices even when they clearly are deterring anything.
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith elbows Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin. - (Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE)
Suspensions and enforcers and the removal of the instigator rule are all well and good, but shouldn’t we be aiming to prevent these types of plays instead of punishing them after the fact?
Surely, the NHL would much prefer a scenario where Keith and Sedin are still playing for their respective teams instead of missing crucial games down the stretch.
Of course, these games aren’t entirely crucial for the Hawks who have a comfortable lead on seventh place and will be perfectly content to hang in sixth and face the winner of the Pacific Divison instead of playing well enough to earn a first-round date with either Nashville or Detroit.
Nothing lost, nothing learnt.
The Canucks meanwhile are staring into the abyss. No Daniel means line-juggling that trickles throughout the entire forward corps.
Think of how devasting losing Dan Hamhuis was in the finals and the effect it had on the entire blueline.
Until we learn more about Daniel’s concussion, the future is scary and vague. The Canucks have been in the position before, when Daniel broke his foot a couple years back, but that was during the first-half of the regular seasons when the stakes weren’t as high and the competition was more of a mixed bag.
To borrow a classic Norm MacDonald line, asking Henrik to go into the playoffs without his brother is like asking Carrot Top to make a movie and then taking away all his props.
Just take everything you’ve relied on your entire career and throw it away, you can’t use it anymore.
Ok, we raised the stakes too. Go.
What fun this league can be.
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