Suspensions, fines and comebacks

The three-game suspension given to Brent Seabrook for his dangerous hit on Blues captain David Backes left us wanting, as well. Granted, it was better than, say, one or two games. But why not simply close the door on Seabrook for the entire series? Neat and tidy and completely warranted, given that the hit checks every box regarding the predatory hits the NHL insists it is trying to eradicate from the game. What do you think the chances are that Backes is back before Seabrook? Our guess is slim, and, if Backes is not back and the Blackhawks win this compelling series, that's a great injustice. But we learned long ago that supplemental discipline isn't always about justice.

And what about the Flyers'  Matt Read leveling the often unlikable Daniel Carcillo of the Rangers with a dirty, sneaky head shot in the neutral zone in the third period of the Flyers' loss in Game 3 on Tuesday night? Yeah, Carcillo is a loose cannon, and he has created lots of mayhem on his own, but doesn't he deserve to be treated by the same standards as any other player who is the victim of a dangerous, predatory hit like the one Read laid on him? No penalty was called on Read, but that's what video review is for, right? Read should be cooling his blades for at least a game for the hit, regardless of whether it was Carcillo or not. The fact the incident went unpunished (as useless as they might be, why not at least acknowledge the incident happened with a fine?) reinforces the notion that it's not always what happens on the ice, but to whom it happens.

As for the comments allegedly made by Blackhawks players to a woozy Backes along the lines of "Wakey, wakey," a couple of former players suggested folks are a bit ultrasensitive if they're up in arms. The bottom line is that there are really no limits to what gets said on the ice. The league has done a nice job of ensuring that players know there is a line, such as racial slurs or comments about sexual orientation, but other than that, it's pretty much open season when it comes to trash talking and verbal jousting. It might not be nice and, certainly given the seriousness of the concussion issues in the NHL, it might seem somewhat more shocking that those words were exchanged. But trust us, in the heat of the moment, much worse stuff gets said and stays on the ice, where it belongs.

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