101 games and $1.5 million. That is the amount of games and forfeited salary that NHL players have accumulated in suspensions this year. To put that into perspective, players have been suspended for 1.25 seasons and have forfeited the amount of money the president makes in 6 years, and we haven’t even reached the midway point of the 2013-14 season yet. During last year’s truncated 48 game season, players were suspended for 65 games, which also amounts to 1.25 shortened seasons. There was also a total of $151,000 in fines, or a little over $3,000 per game. In the last full season, we hadn’t reached 101 games in accumulated suspensions until January 16th of 2012 when Dane Byers got 3 games for a check to the head of Andrew Desjardins.
This year’s 7-game preseason set the stage for the rest of the season. Suspensions totaled 26 games, nearly four preseasons, and the highlight of it all was this brawl between the Maple Leafs and the Sabres.
David Clarkson was suspended 10 games for leaving the bench to join the brawl, and Phil Kessel got 3 games for slashing John Scott. Clarkson is now in second in the league in games missed to suspension with 13, second only to Boston’s Shawn Thornton who got 15 games after this controversial attack on Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik.
All of these suspensions have come from the hand of the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety, which is lead by the iron fist of Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan was a feisty player in his time, amassing over 2,000 penalty minutes in his career. The Western Conference has dominated the Eastern Conference in the league standings, but the East is winning the suspension race 17 players to 8.