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Series Thread: Round 3 vs. the NY Rangers



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  1. 1. What will it be?

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You can say it's technically legal all you want but that just speaks to a larger problem. He came in, blind side with absolutely no intention of puck retrieval and loaded up his shoulder at a guy. The fact that he hit his body first on the way up to his head is great but there's no reason for any of that elements of that hit to be allowed in the game. None.

I happen to agree, but that's not the standard the NHL has set, and thus shouldn't be how players are judged. Based on the rulebook and previous suspensions and non-suspensions, Prust shouldn't have gotten more than 1, if that. I would prefer an NHL where Prust sits for 5-7 games for that, but that's not reality (yet). I'm not going to be satisfied with the decision unless/until the NHL rules with the same harshness on a similar hit, because right now it's looking like a reactionary attempt to placate New York to our detriment, not an attempt to remove pointless and dangerous violence. I would've loved to believe that Prust being punished for a hit that's technically not worthy of suspension was a sign that the NHL was cracking down, but giving Moore only two games for something significantly worse makes it a bit difficult.

If the Department of Player Safety is going to act like the Department of Public Relations Damage Control, I'm going to criticize it when it's being a little too obvious.

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I'd summarize the situation as such:

1. If the NHL had a legitimate system for suspensions based on protecting players from injury and penalizing players for hits that shouldn't be part of regular play, then yes, Prust and Moore should and would both be suspended. I would argue that Chris Kreider (giving extra to run the goalie), Benoit Pouliot (head shot on Vanek), and Dorsett (head butt) would also have been suspended too. I honestly didn't see the Bourque cross check because they didn't show it, so I have no idea if it should have been a penalty.

2. Based on previous rulings, the suspension on Prust was inconsistent with what the Player Safety committee had been suspending. We've seen lots of late hits that have been let go, the most egregious of which was Chara's. No one has ever been suspended JUST because it was a late hit. Players like Chara also haven't been suspended despite causing injury nor because of reasonable suspicion that they were targeting a player for revenge. So in the Prust ruling, the NHL's basis for suspension couldn't have been a "late-hit" theory alone because that has never been enough in the past. The Prust hit was also not a "direct head shot" by the definition of things because he makes full body contact, and that too has never been used as grounds for suspension. So it's as if the NHL took two reasons that are by themselves each not suspension-worthy (late hit + full-body check with secondary neck/head contact) and then decided that was suspension-worthy together without there really being a precedent or rule to support that. I completely agree that late hits should be suspendable, but the fact is that they have rarely been in the past. So on the Prust hit, I'd just like to see consistency with what other guys have (not) received for similar hits. I have no issue with his being suspended for the hit as an isolated incident, but the rhetoric is always that "we haven't done it in the past, but from now on, other players will also get the same suspension" and then we just don't see the same thing called the next time either.

3. On the Moore hit, it is not the same as the Prust hit because we are here talking about a suspension for a blind side head shot. Unlike Prust's hit, this was not full body. Whether the hit was late or just on time is beside the point. Here, the player is being judged on a direct hit to the head. Again, I personally don't think a player should be excused for a head shot just because he also makes contact with the body, but that's the way the NHL has decided to rule things. So in Prust's case, the head injury (which I think occurred when Stepan hit the ice with his jaw) is really besides the point because the head contact was "legal" whereas the hit by Moore is targeted. I don't understand how Moore gets less than Seabrook, whose hit was more full-body to me. In the end, it doesn't make a difference to the Habs because we can play a maximum of two games against NY and that's it. But it would again be nice to see the NHL be consistent with prior head shots.... Pacioretty got three for hitting Letang. Seabrook got three. Lots of other guys have had 4 or 5, like Rome and White. To me, this hit was worse than Prust's and worse than Seabrook's, but the NHL decided it wasn't.

In general, if the NHL was serious about safety, they would be taking out late hits and head shots and suspending players more aggressively. In a perfect world, Prust probably should have gotten 5 games and Moore 8-10. Chara, I believe, should have been given the rest of the season because I think there's enough history there to suggest it was likely intentional. But if the current Player Safety group were to start doing that, any suspended player would start to complain the standards were changing on the fly. The only real solution is to get a fresh start with an independent adjudication panel. If you start that way by saying a late hit is worth this number and a head shot is worth this and son on, you can set a new, more aggressive standard and develop more respect for consistency. The current group has lost and and all respect primarily because of how inconsistent they've been. They're damned to be criticized for not suspending Prust, Dorsett, and Moore because they're not protecting players and they're damned to be criticized for not being consistent if they give them what they merit.

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Guest mrsmarkov

Moore only got 2 games because the NHL thought it was pointless to give him more since they wont be playing more than 2 more games this year anyway :P


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Guest habs1952

Well I'd say Prust was playing on total edge since the Price injury and you could argue that him doing something stupid was inevitable but more to the point, your argument about whether or not the NHL gets things right is fine, I'm not even engaging in it because like I said, I have no interest in supporting the DOJ, I think they do a woeful job.

I've heard lawyers on the radio say it mostly has to do with precedent and the fact that going strongly against it will lead to a lot of overturned decision and the appearance of the NHL being weak, but who knows why the fail so bad. Every new leader brings a new set of excuses and conspiracies but the reality is, they've never protected the players properly. Over on the Rangers board they're convinced Quintal has an axe to grind with the Rangers since he spoke out against the organization and in favor of the Habs organization but it's all just a symptom of picking guys that could have a perceived bias and simply never getting the calls right. Every fan base literally feels screwed over by the NHL, so they have to be doing something wrong. In fact, I'd say the Habs generally don't complain as much as some bases. The conspiracies out there that the league favors the Habs are nuts.

On the 2 hits, I never even compared them. What I said was that if the Prust hit is legitimately legal by the NHL standards other than being late, we need to change that rule. It was a terrible hit in my mind. You can say it's technically legal all you want but that just speaks to a larger problem. He came in, blind side with absolutely no intention of puck retrieval and loaded up his shoulder at a guy. The fact that he hit his body first on the way up to his head is great but there's no reason for any of that elements of that hit to be allowed in the game. None.

On the Moore hits, same problem but in reverse. By the NHL rulebook that's not a late hit? Of course it was a head shot but how can that hit not be late as well? The point of hitting in hockey is largely for puck retrieval, separate man from puck, not to separate man from conciousness. With every thing we're learning about concussions it's just time to move on from that garbage.

Those 2 hits can be different but they both need to be gone for different reasons. I just can't stand watching that garbage. 2 games may be the precedent or may satisfy people, which seems to be the goal, PR but come on. Give players who do nonsense like that a harsh penalty. I'm jumping on Prust because it's a garbage hit, whether I like him or not (and I do).

90% of the hits are illegal. A hit is meant to separate a player from the puck. 90% of the time the player has already passed the puck when he's hit. The NHL's philosophy is violence sells tickets.

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