James Neal is suspended, Adam Erne is not

Posted: December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


James Neal

James Neal

Philippe Cantin got it so right in his Monday La Presse column – it was indeed ‘Le week-end noir du hockey’ (the black weekend of hockey). There were three ugly incidents, two in the Pittsburgh Penguins Boston Bruins game Saturday night and one in the Halifax Moosheads Quebec Remparts Quebec Major Junior League game Friday night.

In Boston Saturday, Pens’ star forward James Neal kneed Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head while Marchand was lying on the ice, after being tripped by Sidney Crosby. Almost immediately after that, the Bruins’ tough guy Shawn Thornton grabbed Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik from behind, threw him on the ice and began punching his head while Orpik was lying flat on his back on the ice. It was a horrible sight. But Neal’s knee to Marchand’s head was also completely outrageous.

Monday afternoon the NHL announced that Neal will be getting five games for the act and it’s good to see he’s getting punished, though I don’t know why they wouldn’t just throw the book at him for such a dangerous play. Hit the players hard with suspensions for ugly irresponsible acts and they’ll stop doing this crap.

Thornton is to have an in-person hearing with the League later this week and here’s hoping NHL cop Brendan Shanahan sets an example of Thornton and gives him a huge meaningful suspension.

The bad news is that the irresponsible folks who run the Q have decided not to suspend Quebec’s Adam Erne who smashed Halifax’s Jonathan Drouin from behind on Friday, driving Drouin’s head into the glass. (Both players have been drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning.) You explain to me how Erne doesn’t get suspended for this. Who knows how long Drouin’s concussion will last but just imagine if he misses the World Juniors – he’s a virtual lock to be on Team Canada – and Erne gets to go for Team U.S.A.

You want to stop these kinds of hits in junior hockey? Force Erne to miss the junior championship. But instead the League is doing nothing. That’s just unacceptable. Even worse, after the game, Erne accused Drouin of diving. Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Short version? These leagues have to get rid of this garbage. I’m not even saying get rid of fighting. But punching a guy’s head into the ice? Smashing a kid’s head into the glass? It’s ridiculous.

Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh put it best in a tweet on the weekend:

“The QMJHL has to assume responsibility of protecting its players from dangerous and intentional hits from behind meant to injure. Any person who observes a video of the hit on Drouin can see Erne drive Jonathan face first into the glass. The QMJHL has failed in it’s responsibility to protect its players with this decision. What will it take? For a player to die on the ice?’’

I love hockey but there’s no place for this idiocy in the game.

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