"The burnt hand teaches best, after that advice about fire goes straight to the heart." -Tolkien
When I was just a young pup I remember my mother telling me things like "Don’t touch the stove it’s hot and you will get burned". Did I listen? Not so much, did I get burnt? Yes, yes I did. Did I touch the hot stove again? Nope. There you have it, simply cause and effect that then leads to rational decision making. Which brings me to my point, the NHL Disciplinary Committee and the antithesis of rational thought.
The NHL game is the one of the fastest moving, hardest hitting, top end skill exhibiting spectacles to be experienced today, which makes it very entertaining and also dangerous. So there need to be clear-cut rules for certain types of hits that are deemed dangerous. The NHL has taken some steps to protect the players, but the method they chose leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s difficult to make rational decisions without knowing the effect of those decisions. Arbitrary punishments with varying terms don’t discourage players from certain hits that might be deemed illegal or in need of disciplinary action. The effect (varying level of disciplinary action) doesn’t correlate to the cause (illegal hit) that causes confusion with the decision-making (whether to deliver the hit or not).
So alter the rule to say that any illegal hits will get the exact punishment:
- 5 minute major penalty
- 1 game misconduct
- 5 game suspension
It may seem simple but if you clearly outline harsh disciplinary actions for all illegal hits it will decrease the amount of illegal hits, if I know I’m gonna get burnt, I’m not gonna touch the stove. Taking the questionable judgment of the disciplinary committee out of the equation and levying equal punishments will have the effect the NHL intended without the second guessing and acquisitions of favoritism.
Mike Boyce Co-Founder, The Armadillo Club