A Suggestion For NHL Discipline

Okay, even if the league won't admit it, all of us watching the play-offs on tv know that Shanahan and his punishments are a bad joke. And this bad joke is making the league, and our sport, look amateurish and bad to the general public. Well, I have the solution. The NHL needs to imitate the Australian Football League.

You see, like the NHL, the AFL's disciplinary judgements seemed arbitrary and silly. One player getting a slap on the wrist for "head hunting" and another player getting a four week suspension. So, about 5 years ago, the AFL adopted a plan which the NHL would do well to adopt.

Rather than have all cases brought before a 3 man tribunal which acted like a court and made odd, if not bewildering decisions, the league assigned a point system. For instance, the following is based on an actual case of "striking" - that is, a blow to the opposing player's head.

1 - High contact - 90 points

2 - Intentional - 100 points

3 - No injury - 30 points

4 - Repeat offender - 75 points

Total: 295 points

Every 100 points is a one game suspension. However, a 25% discount on points is awarded for an "early plea" and points are carried for 1 year. Thus, in the case used as an example. Because of 295 points, it is a 2 game suspension, removing 200 points, with 95 points carried for 1 year, or 36 points carried for 1 year with an early plea.

No more questioning if a certain player got off lightly because he's a star player, or his team is one of the league's "powerhouse" teams. I would also suggest that, should the NHL adopt a similar plan, both teams be allowed to appeal the decision, that way (to use arbitrary examples) the Columbus Blue Jackets could appeal a low point total for, per se, a head shot to Rick Nash taken by a Detroit Red Wings player because CBJ management believes the total is too low due to the Red Wings being an "original 6" and powerhouse team.

I'm not saying such a system still can't be abused, nor that all decisions handed down by the league office will be fair. However, I do think that, with such a system, such insanity as Shea Weber getting a piddling fine for a blatant bullying tactic will end and players will, for the most part, start cleaning up their act.

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