Let’s say NHL supplemental discipline is re-imagined, and instead of being suspended for X-number of games, John Scott of the Buffalo Sabres would miss as much time as Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins misses with his concussion.
It’s an eye-for-an-eye idea that some feel would improve on the current suspension model, save for one thing: Most hockey fans feel John Scott is a terrible hockey player while Loui Eriksson is a really, really good one. (Soooooo underrated.)
The Bruins lose a top six forward. The Sabres lose a guy that skates three minutes a night.
Justice? Hardly, right?
So an alternative to this ‘eye-for-an-eye’ concept, there’s the idea that in addition to the Sabres’ goon it would be a player of comparative abilities, stats and perhaps talent that would leave the lineup for Buffalo too.
The Bruins lose a top-six forward. The Sabres lose Scott for a few games and a top-six forward for as long as the Bruin is out of the lineup.
Sean Gentille of The Sporting News floated this one the other day, and Derek Zona of Copper and Blue has brought it to life on his blog with the ‘Eye For An Eye Suspension Tracker’.
“… a player who injures another in a "non-hockey play", or who has been found intending to injure will be suspended according to the current NHL precedent. There's nothing ground-breaking there. However, it's the second portion of the punishment that explores a new, and more effective, territory. While your thug (Zack Kassian, Matt Cooke, Daniel Carcillo, Chris Neil, or any other untalented hack) will be suspended using NHL precedent, their equivalent teammate will be suspended for the duration of the injury caused.”
Along with that, “a fine to the team for the amount of salary suspended.”
So Scott gets suspended for the Eriksson hit, but the Sabres would lose Steve Ott for as long as Eriksson is missing.
It goes beyond that, using this season as an example: The San Jose Sharks lose Logan Couture because Brad Stuart concussed Rick Nash; the Vancouver Canucks lose both of the Sedins to suspensions because of the actions by Alex Edler and Zack Kassian. In fact, Daniel would still be missing because Sam Gagner is for the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s a sexy-as-hell concept for punishment and a whale of a deterrent, as Zona opines. It’s fraught with issues like how one determines a comparable player – stats or ice time or contract or longevity or what?
The biggest issue I’ve always had with ‘eye for an eye’ is that the act doesn’t always equal the injury. The David Perron injury on the Joe Thornton pick play that kept him out 13 months with a concussion is my go-to; it would terribly unfair to the Sharks. More recently, I’d say the Stuart hit on Nash could become something more severe than the play would have indicated because of his concussion history. (Gentille argues for a cap on these types of suspensions.)
And that’s not even getting into the sort of games teams will play with slowly bringing back guys from injury if it’ll mean hurting a rival’s chances of, say, making the playoffs. But then again, that’s what you get for dabbling in suspenedable offenses, one imagines.
What say you to this idea?