Ryan Wilson: You Reap What You Sow NHL, NHLPA, and Department of Player Safety


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Nobody shells out $50-$350 to watch Zac Rinaldo, Matt Cooke, Raffi Torres, Dan Carcillo etc… play hockey. People want to watch Kris Letang, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa, and other similar types play.

The NHL, NHLPA, and the Department of Player Safety should be ashamed of themselves.

You and you alone are the reason that unnecessary head injuries continue to be an issue in the National Hockey League.

You continue to allow players to police themselves rather than take ownership of the task yourselves.

How has that worked out?

Before I continue on I am going to state that the reason I am writing this heated blog is because I am paid to cover the Pittsburgh Penguins. The incident with Rinaldo and Letang occurred during a Pittsburgh Penguins game. My stance on this reckless violence is consistent and objective.

Don’t believe me? I wanted James Neal suspended for 30 games for his knee to the head of Brad Marchand I also wanted a stiff suspension for Robert Bortuzzo’s late hit on Jaromir Jagr earlier this season

Just this week on my other website we used our objective rubric system and handed out a 78 game suspension to Dan Carcillo, a repeat offender who has been fined or suspended 12 times in his first 9 seasons in the league. Twelve times (!) in a league that goes out of its way to not suspend players.

Your initial reaction will probably be, 78 games? Why?

Do you want real deterrents for this behavior? Or shall we just pretend that the players are capable of policing themselves?

Literally the only way to deter behavior in this modern sports environment is to take money away from people. Whether that is players losing money due to heavy suspensions or huge fines levied towards teams who employ these rubbish players, ala the previously mocked Mario Lemieux plan.

If you still fall in that grouping of people that think players are capable of handling this stuff, shame on you.

Players don’t care about the slap on the wrist they get from the league. Just listen to Rinaldo’s comments after the game. Tangible proof that players don’t respect the league and their ability to enforce punishment. The quote below acts as though the Department of Player Safety has clown shoes on and that is because they do.

Rinaldo: “Yeah, I changed the whole game. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t do what I did?”

— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) January 21, 2015

I mean do you blame him? The standard has been set, he’s just following it.

Steve Downie, Bobby Farnham, Zach Sill, Craig Adams and Robert Bortuzzo were all in the Penguins lineup tonight. Not a single damn one of them prevented Rinaldo from running Letang’s head into the glass. You know why? Because this whole premise that players serve as a deterrent is NONSENSE.

The players are reactionary. They prevent NOTHING.

Shawn Thornton was dressed when Brooks Orpik lit up Loui Eriksson and also when James Neal kneed Marchand right in his temple. Thornton did nothing to prevent these behaviors, but he sure violently assaulted Orpik after the fact.

And wouldn’t you know it, Shawn Thornton was also dressed during the game that Matt Cooke assaulted Marc Savard. A lot of good that did. Either Shawn Thornton is the worst enforcer ever or this entire premise is RUBBISH.

This cave man justice system is a product of the NHL’s negligence. They continue to base suspensions on injury and only give slaps on the wrist when they do hand out justice. Very rarely will they come down hard on a player and the only time they do is when it is a low hanging fruit like Matt Cooke or Raffi Torres.

The NHLPA should be ashamed of themselves as well. They continue to defend these abhorrent players who persistently cause predatorial bodily harm to other members of their association.

I am sick and damn tired of seeing great hockey players injured by complete scrubs because of the climate the NHL breeds.

Grow a set NHL. This Neanderthal rubbish should have ended in the 70’s.

The NHL can continue down this path if they choose, but something tells me if they do that they will eventually be met with an extremely large lawsuit from ex-players. Who could blame these players? The league has done nothing tangible to prevent these terrible behaviors. Their inaction encourages it.

It is completely shameful and continues to be a black eye on the sport.

There is a huge difference between injuries from incidental contact and injuries that are bred from utter and complete negligence.

I for one am so sick and tired of how the NHL Department of Player Safety conducts business, are you? poll by twiigs.com

Thanks for reading!

Follow me on twitter Follow @GunnerStaal

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