In the dying seconds of Game 1 of the first round between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings tonight, Nashville captain Shea Weber did one of the most idiotic things he could have possibly done. There’s a good chance that he might even get suspended for it too.
With about 2 seconds left in regulation, and the Predators up 3-2 over the Wings, Shea Weber first punched Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings in the back of the head, and then proceeded to grab Zetterberg’s head and slam it into the glass. A penalty was called on the play, but time had already expired. Zetterberg fell to the ice holding his head and stayed down there for a good 15-20 seconds before he finally stood back up. The second I saw this happen, I immediately thought that this play called for a suspension. As it turns out, I’m not the only one.
Following the game, I went onto Twitter and read a bunch of comments made by NHL writers and analysis’. Most of them were agreeing with my opinion in that Shea Weber deserves a suspension. However, one comment by an NHL writer caught my attention. It read something along the lines of, “I don’t think he should be suspended multiple games unless Zetterberg is hurt.” I briefly touched on this topic a while back when writing about Duncan Keith’s suspension, but I am going to talk about it again.
I highly dislike the fact that the lengths of suspensions in the NHL are partially determined by whether or not the victim on the play got hurt. Punish the player who made the hit for the HIT ITSELF, not for the outcome of the hit. An illegal hit is an illegal hit. It’s that simple! The fact that the NHL looks into whether or not the victim of the hit got hurt seems ridiculous to me. A hit that should warrant a one-game suspension might be bumped up to a 2 or 3-game suspension just because the victim on the play got hurt. Look at the hit itself and determine a suspension length based on the hit, nothing else. The victim of an illegal hit could theoretically sit out a game or 2 just to make the hit look worse, in which case the guy who delivered the hit might be suspended for more time than he deserves. The fact that this scenario is even possible seems insane, and it brings me back to my main point: punish a player for the illegal hit that he makes, and not because the victim of the hit got hurt.
After seeing the replay of Weber’s head-smashing a few times now, it clearly demonstrates just what the NHL is trying to take out of the game, which is illegal hits to the head. I believe Weber should get a 2-game suspension for what he did. If he does end up getting suspended, especially for more than one game, then Nashville is going to be in a lot of trouble without him while trying to fend off the Red Wings.
Thanks for reading.