This full and clear contact to the head, by someone who was suspended for five games plus the remainder of the preseason was only bad enough to earn a three game suspension.

This hit to the body, by someone of similar NHL tenure, who had only been suspended for two games was good for five. Of note is that Marchand was told over the off season that his hit was not actionable.

 

Anyone who can make sense of this feel free to explain it.

Note for the sake of objectivity I’ve gone with the full NHL video for each, not videos that show additional or alternate angles.

Forget today’s rulings by the NHL. The league has an issue with handing out calls based on the name on the back of the jersey and not the action seen or the action actually taken. If the first thing you here when someone tells you Raffi Torres and Marty St Louis in a game last night. What’s your first impression?

It’s probably something along the lines of several unflattering words about Torres. But if you don’t know what the incident was, how can you be sure it was him committing the infraction? Just as we saw the NHL immediately (after the game) rescind the game misconduct to Milan Lucic because he was called for who he was and what the officials believed happened. They did not see him come off the bench illegally because he didn’t. Can you sit there reading this and imagine Rick Nash or Dany Heatley who are about the same size as Lucic getting the same ejection?

Another player who gets reputation calls made against him is Sean Avery. Is there actually anyone in the world who thinks that if Pavel Datsyuk or Tomas Vanek waiving their stick in front of Brodeur that the official on the ice would have called a penalty? Would “unsportsmanlike conduct” be suddenly construed as putting something several orders of magnitude smaller than the bodies players routinely use to obscure the view and distract goalies in their way? Of course not. Those players are among the power brokers favorites. Further if a lot of other players did that it would be unremarked or applauded. Anyone think Jonathan Toews would get the same treatment?

We’ve seen the opposite affect. There was Crosby stepping into a fight between Letang and Valbek, and even drilling Valbek in the crotch, no penalty or suspension there. Alex Burrows was not suspended for clearly biting someone even though there was precedent for doing so. Mike Komisarek gouged the eye of a defenseless Matt Hunwick in scrum that had the smaller Hunwick pinned to the boards, no fines, no suspensions. Komisarek was then a member of the Canadiens.

Do players who repeat an action over, and over again deserve harsher punishments for doing it the second fifth and succeeding times? Absolutely. Should officials assume that someone they don’t care for has done something? If I have to answer that one for you, shame-shame.

There needs to be more accountability for NHL officials. Today there is not. There is no visible mechanism for ensuring the right call is made. How many times have we seen a player get sent off for a high stick when the injured player was in fact hit by their own stick, a teammates or even a different opposing player? This sort of failure of reason, and abandonment of principle, is damaging to the sport. A player being sent off for something someone else did or in the case of so many phantom tripping calls never happened at all affects the whole game and takes tips the balance not just of the game, but of the season or playoff series and careers for not just players, but coaches and general managers as well. Worse, the plays will end up on the internet somewhere, and each time a call is made there will be mountains of evidence pointing out how bad that call was, each call eroding the leagues moral authority.