Last Thursday night, the Detroit Red Wings were in Colorado taking on the unbeaten Avalanche. Just 2:13 into the first period, Cody McLeod was racing down the ice with Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. When Kronwall got to the puck, he turned to switch directions, and McLeod put a nasty hit on him from behind. McLeod received a five minute major for boarding, and a game misconduct.
Kronwall got a concussion from the hit, and suffered minor cuts on his ear and face. Kronwall’s injury doesn’t seem to be too serious, and he may be back in the line up as early as this Wednesday. Although the concussion wasn’t too serious, he still sustained a concussion on the play. One of the NHL’s problems with discipline is that they discipline depending on the outcome of the hit, rather than the hit itself. If Kronwall hadn’t sustained an injury on the play, would McLeod have received the suspension he did? Maybe, maybe not.
McLeod had an in person hearing to try and explain the hit, and what went on in his head at game speed. The hearing ended in McLeod receiving a five game suspension and a fine of $29,487.20 determined by his salary. The hit on Kronwall is just one of many that have occurred already this season. The NHL is trying to get away from the dirty hits, and the dirty plays, but they’re still experiencing dangerous hits on the ice like this.
The NHL needs to get rid of these hits. The discipline hasn’t helped at all so far this season, so why not begin suspending players longer, and fining them more harshly? These kinds of hits do not belong in the game, and they need to go. Consistency in suspensions and fines will help, but how much? These kinds of hits are on the players not the discipline. The players have to know when you can and can’t hit an opposing player. The injuries, the dirty hits, they’re all on the players, there’s no excuse for it and it has to go. If the players don’t do anything about it then the NHL needs to up the ante in disciplinary hearings.