The only lingering question about the NHL’s decision to suspend Jesse Winchester of the Florida Panthers for his leaping elbow against Chris Kelly of the Boston Bruins: What if Kelly had been significantly injured on the play?
Winchester was banned for three games by the Department of Player Safety on Friday. Once it was known he was getting a phone hearing, we knew the suspension would be under five games. Had Kelly been injured, there’s no telling how much larger this blatant hit would have earned him.
Here’s the Shanaban:
From the NHL:
Florida Panthers forward Jesse Winchester has been suspended for three games, without pay, for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly during NHL Game No. 230 in Boston on Thursday, November 7, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Winchester will forfeit $9,230.76. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 4:52 of the first period. No penalty was assessed on the play.
The debate about how to weigh intent is a healthy one to have in situations like this. We’ve seen players that had a “hockey play” go awry that we given longer suspensions than what appeared to be an intent-to-injure play from Winchester – a play made even more deplorable considering his own concussion history.