The Vent is a column that hands the mic on Puck Daddy over to hockey fans to rant, rave and react to everything in the game. If you have a pitch for an editorial, or have one written, and want it featured on Sunday, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “The Vent.”
The focus in the NHL this week went from laments about fighting to laments about injurious, dangerous hits that result in players being wheeled off on stretchers. What can be done about it? A few of you chimed in…
From reader Tom Pauly:
You can't totally remove those hits from the game. Sometimes, weird circumstances lead to borderline hits being completely bad hits (i.e. Max Lapierre). However, there has to be some modicum of respect from player to player.
If you watched the Chicago vs St. Louis game, you got to see TWO really trashbag hits from the Blues. Barret Jackman hit Kane in the numbers head first and got a two minute minor. And then sometime later Roman Polak decided he wanted to railroad Marcus Kruger in the exact same fashion. Jackman even "won" the STL broadcast's "Cheap Hit of the Game" award (it's sponsored by a real business).
Maybe it's time to start fining guys for boarding penalties in a similar way that helmet to helmet hits in the NFL get punished. It won't completely eliminate them, but maybe after you drive a guy from the numbers into the boards and it costs a few grand, you'll think twice about it.
And MAYBE, coaches can be held a little bit responsible. Hey Ken Hitchcock, you have one guy suspended for a dumb hit, and now two more guys seem to be a-okay with gunning at someone's numbers? Pay the NHL a few grand for not having control over your bench.
Legislate some actual punishment for hits that aren't quite suspension-worthy, or we're going to continue to see the Kaleta's, Lapierre's, and players of their ilk doing dumb things.
From reader and MvsW listener Pierre Smith:
The best way to decrease the amount of these dirty hits is to penalize the hell out of them, make them so damaging that players, teams and organizations are so harshly hurt by a stupid careless play like the two hits we saw this week, that it becomes too burdensome for teams to handle
Eject the player, give a 10 minute major penalty to the team (how many teams can kill that long of a power play? Make them play 4 on 5 for half a period!)
Fine the player, and team.
Suspensions to the player should be extreme, 40 games or so would sure make somebody think twice. The player has to surrender salary for that time, the team has to match that in a fine, and then count the salary as a 2x hit against the cap. For every bad hit after, increase the suspension by another 10 games.
The team that dealt out the hit is responsible for any medical bills that the injured player has.
And so on.
It wont stop the hits, but it will make the thought of dealing one out so uncomfortable, that it would parallel "mutually assured destruction" that not only would the hit cost the player, but his team and his organization.
We're always of the mindset that this is a dangerous game, and players will inherently be injured playing it. But it's good to hear some alternative ideas on how to clean it up.