Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NHL Should Do Non-Supsension Video for Wolski Hit on Alfie

Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski avoided a suspension after knocking Daniel Alfredsson to the ice with an elbow to the head Saturday afternoon in New York. Wolski received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head.

Murray was later informed by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan that the hit on Alfredsson was “hockey hit" and as a result, Wolski would not be suspended.

The head shot on Alfredsson seems to be precisely the type of hit that warrants a suspension. The hit was late, Alfredsson had already dished the puck off and the hit was to the head. This is why a penalty was assessed in the first instance.

When Offside interviewed Bill Daly (6:25 minutes in to clip), he indicated in part that suspension videos were being used to educate players. Daly stated that the videos could provide helpful insight on the NHL's treatment of these hits to players seeking to adjust their conduct on the ice.

In essence, the videos are a far more compelling teaching tool then a press release.

In keeping with the education process, the NHL should consider doing a non-suspension video for cases like the Alfredsson hit. On its face, the Wolski hit deserved a suspension. However, since the NHL believes it is not suspendable, it should clearly explain this decision by way of video.

Simply dismissing the incident as a "hockey hit", when clearly it was so much more, does little to resolve confusion in what appears to be an inconsistent application of the rule.

Expect players to be confused again. I know I am.


Thanks to Geoff for advising that the NHL did do one such video in October with respect to the Ryan Malone hit on Chris Campoli. Click here to see it.

This raises the question if we will see one in this case. It appears that we will not. Frankly, it's not tough to see why Malone was not suspended. Campoli's head dropped significantly after Malone committed to the hit. However, in the Alfredsson case, we don't see that (for anyone wondering, I'm a Habs fan).

Fans understand the challenges faced by the NHL. It needs to balance player safety with keeping physical contact in the game. Still, based upon precedent, the Wolski incident appeared suspendable.

Confusion persists.

1 comment:

Geoff Rosenthal said...


Shanahan has released one video explaining a non-suspension: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Video-Shanahan-s-1st-no-suspension-video-on-Rya?urn=nhl-wp13985

Apparently, the plan is to release more over the course of the season.

I agree, though, and think that the NHL could use someone like Mathieu Schneider or Rob Blake to produce non-suspension videos for question hits.