Puck Daddy - NHL

As Mike Heika pointed out yesterday, Steve Ott(notes) of the Dallas Stars is a repeat offender.

He received a three-game suspension for hitting Jordan Leopold(notes) in the head, and he received a one-game suspension for gouging Travis Moen's(notes) eyes. Ott also was put on NHL Wheel of Discipline trial last season for charging Colin Campbell's son Gregory, but was exonerated. Combine that with being a pest, a miscreant and a well-loathed player in the League, and Ott is primetime suspension bait.

Hence, this hip check on St. Louis Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo(notes) from Saturday night has earned Ott a two-game suspension from the NHL after a phone hearing:

The Stars indicated to Heika that the suspension would be for the Colaiacovo hit, but there was also the knee-on-knee against B.J. Crombeen in the same game. If it was the Colaiacovo hip-check that gave him the gate, the video tells the story: It was a late hit and Ott seemed to lift Colaiacovo up and over him like a WWE back body drop. (Carlo obviously doesn't watch enough wrestling, or he would have reversed it into a sunset flip for the pin.)

The other infamous hip check from the weekend, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi's(notes) low-bridging of Jason Chimera(notes) of the Columbus Blue Jackets, resulted in Scuderi getting an undisclosed fine ... because what better way to deter future incidents than hiding the penalties from the public.

Why did Ott earn a suspension while Scuderi avoided one? NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell knows why.

From NHL.com:

"Scuderi went really low and I felt it was a clip," Campbell said Hockey Night in Canada Radio.

"Fortunately, he didn't injure the guy. He did hurt him on the play, as far as receiving a cut. But he came back in the game, Chimera, so I didn't think it was a fair play and we fined him."

As we've said before, the NHL's supplemental discipline has three standards: Prior incidents from a player's past, injuries resulting from the infraction, and prevention of future acts (i.e. escalation). 

"He didn't injure the guy" is a ridiculous standard of enforcement because it excuses reckless behavior as long as there wasn't a deleterious result from the player's actions. It also turns what are otherwise borderline plays into heinous acts; if Chimera was flipped in the air spectacularly and was injured on the Scuderi hit, why does that alter the act itself? Either Scuderi intended to injure him and/or had a reckless disregard for his safety, or it was simply a hip check gone wrong (which, in fact, it was).

The notion that Scuderi's fine could have turned into a suspension had Chimera been hurt badly, as Campbell is insinuating, is actually common ground for those who believe most forms of hitting belong in the game and those who want to see draconian enforcement against dangerous checks: We both want to see consistent supplemental discipline handed down by the League to curb these incidents.

Punishing the end rather than the means isn't the best way to do it.

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