The common refrain about supplemental discipline in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is that suspensions are weighed differently. What might be a four-game ban in the regular season might be dropped to two games in the postseason because it could dramatically alter a seven-game series.
Unless, of course, you’re Raffi Torres. More on him later.
Logic would then dictate that a similar formula would apply to a 48-game lockout shortened season; that, at the very least, the NHL Department of Player Safety would consider the truncated campaign in handing out this season’s Shannabans.
But that’s not the case. NHL Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan told Yahoo! Sports Nick Cotsonika this week that his department will not weigh suspensions differently in a shortened season, as he does in the playoffs.
The NHL had internal discussions about a change in policy for the 48-game season, but the suspensions and monetary value of games missed will still reflect a full 82-game season.
In other words, first-time or “non-repeat” offenders within the NHL's supplemental discipline process will lose salary based on the number of days in a full NHL season (185) rather than lose salary based on the number of days in the truncated season (99).
Depending on how their salaries were prorated, this move could spare offending players from taking a larger financial hit in shortened-season suspensions.
But the financial hit was never as important as the games lost for Shanahan’s Dept. of Player Safety – and the impact of suspensions on teams in a 48-game season will be magnified.
Like, for example, Raffi Torres missing eight games in a 48-game season instead of eight in an 82-game marathon.
Just because the lockout shortened the Phoenix Coyotes’ season doesn’t mean it shortens Torres’s suspension, which was set at 25 games (and reduced to 21) after his hit on Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks last postseason. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Chicago Tribune that Torres would still sit out eight games.
And should he appear in front of the Dept. of Player Safety again, the shortened season won't affect his potential punishment.