Mon Mar 14 10:24pm EDT
The five-point plan announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at the GM meetings in Boca Raton included the following recommendation:
"I will be discussing with the Board of Governors at the June meetings the fact that I intend to, for next season, provide that clubs will ultimately be responsible for the acts of their players so that if a player or players on a club are the subjects of repeat disciplinary procedures and resultant supplemental discipline, ultimately it is the club and perhaps the coach that will be held responsible."
According to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, it's also a recommendation that Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux made in a letter to Bettman dated March 7. In it, he proposes "instituting a policy of automatically fining a team when one if its players is suspended -- with the amount of the fine based on the length of the suspension."
The suggested fines, according to ESPN:
• 1-2 games--$50,000 fine to team
• 3-4 games--$100,000 fine to team
• 5-8 games--$250,000 fine to team
• 9-10 games--$500,000 fine to team
• 11-15 games--$750,000 fine to team
• More than 15 games--$1 million fine to team
"If a player is a repeat offender during that season, the fine to the team would double," wrote Lemieux.
"Please note that if this proposed system were in operation today, the Pittsburgh Penguins would have been fined $600,000 this season because of recent suspensions to two players. We all have to take responsibility if we are going to improve the game.'"
Two problems with the Mario Plan. First, it's just another level of politics in this bureaucracy; get ready for "did Player X get four games instead of five games because the NHL didn't want to add $150,000 to the fine?"
The other issue: Enough with targeting the team. It's nebulous. Target the GM that hired the goon and the coach who sent him on the ice. It's something Bettman floated, and it's a level of accountability that's necessary if you want to curb the behavior. But what say you?
Pass or Fail: Mario Lemieux's plan to fine teams for suspensions.