The NHL is on their Olympic brake, but that hasn’t stopped Brendan Shanahan from handing out a suspension. Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche has been suspended two games for slashing New York Islanders forward Frans Nielson.
The infraction happened on Saturday. The slash was hard enough to brake Nielson’s hand. The broken hand will extend Nielson’s Olympic break by about two weeks. While the NHL is not in the business of suspending players for slashing, the injury could have been the deciding factor.
This was Johnson’s first time being suspended. Johnson will forfeit two games salary; that amount to $$38,461.54. It seems like the NHL has lightened up over the past month. CBSsports.com says the last player suspender was Buffalo Sabres D-man Tyler Myers.
The suspension to Johnson was the first ban handed out by the DPOS in more than a month. The last player suspended was Tyler Myers in early January. That streak was nice while it lasted.
In the video you can see that there was intent and the aggressive nature of the slash also made the decision to suspend Johnson easy. USA Today has an explanation from Patrick Burke.
“Players will often whack their opponent’s stick to interrupt or weaken a shot or pass and sometimes the stick slides up and catches the thumb,” the NHL Department of Player Safety’s Patrick Burke said in a video. “Other times, the last-second movement of the player getting slashed greatly contributes to the hand being hit.
“This is not one of those occasions. Nielsen makes no unpredictable movement and Johnson’s reckless slash is violent and directly across the hand.”
I’ve said it many times before the respect has a left the NHL game completely. Most players don’t care about anything or anyone any more. At some point a player will be injured and his career will be over. It’s sad that it may come to that before the athletes wake up and start to respect each other.