Department Of Player Safety? More Like Department of Protecting Stars, And The NHL Looks Like A Joke


Well, at least you know the most consistent thing you are going to get out of the NHL’s department of Player Safety is the inconsisency.  Yesterday I compared the Eric Gryba suspension for the hit on Lars Eller to the Andrew Ference elbow on Mikhail Grabovski, and showed their DoPS suspension video.  You can check them out HERE, I won’t post them again in this article.

Apr 20, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie

James Reimer

(34) and defenseman

Dion Phaneuf

(3) react to a goal scored by Ottawa Senators right wing

Jakob Silfverberg

(33) in the second period at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

I first picked up on this courtesy of our Brother site Causeway Crowd‘s portrayal of Dion Phaneuf‘s elbow/shoulder (depending how you view it) to the head of Daniel Paille from Saturday’s Leafs-Bruins game.  I would show you the NHL suspension explanation of the incident, but for one problem…there was none.  There will not even be a hearing on the play.

So here is the video of the hit from youtube.

So let me get this straight, Gryba, who stepped up at the blue line to catch a player who was carrying the puck and altered his line of direction at the last second resulting in a head shot gets two games. Ference, who sticks up his elbow to protect himself from a potential oncoming check (which is still no excuse) and connects squarely to the player’s face, and he has a history of the same type of play, gets one game. Phaneuf, who skates directly toward the player, forgoes a shoulder to shoulder body hit in favor of the direct shot to the head from the blind side with an elbow or shoulder, while launching upward into the hit doesn’t even merit a hearing with the guru of Player Safety.

So star players with a history of borderline plays (google Dion Phaneuf suspension)  gets leeway, middling veterans with a history of suspensions get a slap on the wrist, while a rookie who made the closest thing to a “hockey play”  of the three incidents get the stiffest suspension.

The Phaneuf hit could be described almost exactly the same way as the Nate Thompson (2 games with no injury), Anton Volchenkov (4 games with injury) and Dustin Brown (2 games with injury) suspensions that have all been assessed this season.

Gothca, Shanahan.  You have no better handle on what is going on than anyone else does. Thanks for making us aware of that fact.  Just glad we know for sure.  Rather than sweep it under the rug, why not put one of your slick videos out on why Phanuef’s hit was NOT even worthy of a hearing.

I for one would like to know.