Shocking News! Carolina’s Scott Walker….Not Suspended.

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm
The only thing missing from this clown is a big red nose.

The only thing missing from this clown is a big red nose.

In a not-at-all suprising move, Colin Campbell, the NHL’s chief disciplinarian, has decided not to suspend Scott Walker for his vicious cheap shot to the face of Aaron Ward in last night’s Game 5. Instead, Walker has been fined $2,500 for the punch that has most likely, pending x-rays, left Ward with a broken orbital bone. 

So, let me get this straight: Scott Walker is the instigating third man in on a scrum in the last five minutes of the game, and he gets slapped with a $2,500 fine and no suspension. 

Sounds a little fishy. Why don’t we check the NHL rulebook?

(NEW for 2005-06) 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.

That’s weird. I could’ve sworn that said a one game suspension. I didn’t see anything about a $2,500 slap on the wrist (Walker makes $2.5 mil a year).

Did I miss someting here? Isn’t that an exact description of what Walker did last night? So why doesn’t he get the penalty that the actual rulebook requires? 

Now, I don’t mind the rough stuff in hockey. Actually, I love it – the fighting and the facewashes are some of my favorite parts of the game. So when it comes to handing out penalties and suspensions for that stuff, I couldn’t care less if they didn’t do anything. I would love it if the NHL simply let the players police themselves in most cases. But if Bettman and Campbell are going to review cases and penalize players and teams, all I ask for is a little consistency. I mean, c’mon! You’re telling me that Lucic protecting himself from an onrush after the whistle with a 2-handed cross check is worse than Walker drilling a defenseless Ward in the face? Seriously, Colin Campbell? Injuring a guy with his hands down is worse than protecting yourself? 

The league has been saying all season long that it wants to send a message that dangerous antics won’t be tolerated. Then they go out and ruin any credibility they once had (not much), handing out random suspensions for some incidents and completely ignoring other, often worse, altercations. This postseason the NHL disciplinary officials look as if they literally make up rules as they go along. The only message Bettman and his NHL cronies are sending is the usual one: 

We have no idea what we’re doing

Fortunately, the consequence of this most recent failure of consistency is that Scott Walker will play in Game 6. Has to. Has no choice, even though I would bet my life savings that he’s spent the last half a day hoping and praying for a suspension. No such luck, Scotty.

Before the ruling came down, Canes coach Paul Maurice (who wasn’t fined $10,000, by the way) was asked what he thought the result of Walker’s punch would be. “Scotty’s probably got some sore knuckles,” he said. Then, when asked about the decision, Carolina’s classy GM Jim Rutherford had this to say: “We are satisfied with the league’s ruling. After our team received several punches throughout the series leading up to Game 5, it was a matter of time before one was going to be thrown back.” (quote from Bruins Blog

Congratulations guys, you just started a war.

Stick those two comments on the bulletin board, Claude, and make sure Mr. Thornton and Mr. Lucic get a real good look at it. When the puck drops in Raleigh for Game 6, sore knuckles are going to be the least of Scotty Walker’s problems. 

See you tomorrow night.


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