Monday, December 19, 2005

Finally, the NHL gets something right -- Senators forward Jason Spezza has escaped discipline from the NHL after receiving an instigator penalty with 3:36 remaining in Saturday night's 8-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sportsnet has learned the NHL won't suspend Jason Spezza or fine coach Bryan Murray $10,000 over the incident.

The league ruled the "intent" was not premeditated but rather "reactionary", much like the Shane Doan ruling earlier in the year.

If Colin Campbell would've suspended Spezza or even worse fined Murray, he would've made an even bigger mockery out of a rule that is one of the most absurd in the book.

Nice to see, for one day anyway, they got their heads out of their asses.


At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHy do you hate the rule so much?
It prevents stupid brawls from happening at the end of the game without many negative externalities. I like to see fighting as much as anybody but it always sucks when it's premeditated.
Correct me if i'm wrong but hasn't the rule only been implemented once, the only time it was deserved.
I personally think there is nothing wrong with fining coaches and suspensing players if the players do something stupid.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I guess the reason I hate the rule is the same reason I hate the instigator: it puts the power of inflicting justice in the hands of the referees and the league.

And frankly, I have zero confidence in them to do so fairly.

If I can channel my inner Don Cherry for a moment: sometimes, it's up to the players and coaches to police each other.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Actually, they got it wrong.

The NHL Rulebook reads:

A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. In addition, the player's coach shall be fined $10,000 -- a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.

No team appeals will be permitted either verbally or in writing regarding the assessment of this automatic suspension.

According to the letter of the law Spezza should be suspended and Murray fined. The rules says "automatic one-game suspension". You can argue that the rule is dumb and that two wrongs (the rule and the non-application of the rule) make a right but you can't argue that the rule was correctly applied. There is nothing in the rules talking about reactionary vs premeditated. It's automatic.

Now I do agree that the rule is dumb and I don't think Jason Spezza deserved a suspension but I do find it disturbing that the NHL feels it can selectively apply rules that explicitly read automatic. Would the NHL approve of referees who decided to change the rules when they felt like it? No, of course not. So they shouldn't either. They had a board of governors meeting last week and could have easily modified the rule but didn't and so long as the rule is there it should be applied as written.

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Duff said...

Spearing and 3rd man in are penalties and should have been called on colliacovo and balfour respectively!!!...

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

They gave Colaiacovo a slash and that probably made sense. It wasn't a spear in the true sense of what spearing is. It looked worse because Spezza was skating into Colaiacovo's stick but there wasn't a lot of forward spearing motion on Colaiacovo's part.

Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade whether contact is made or not.

The stabbing motion was not there.


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