If there was ever any doubt about the NHL’s nudge-nudge-wink-wink approach to cleaning up dirty play on the ice, these two stories bring the reality into sharp focus. Clearly the NHL has NO serious intention of taking the steps necessary to protect its most valuable (and only) assets, its players. As a result, more and more fans are being driven from the sport, disturbed by the on-ice antics of some players and the Neanderthal attitude that seems to permeate head office.
In the first instance, the New York Islanders’ James Wisniewski gives an opponent the finger after an on-ice verbal exchange. The recipient of said gesture, (Sean Avery - himself no angel), is uninjured and continues the game but whinges and moans about the insult after the game.
In the second instance, Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson blind-sides Buffalo’s Jason Pominville and drives him into the boards. Pominville suffers a concussion and is carried off the ice on a stretcher. It’s uncertain when he will be back playing.
And the punishments meted out? 2 game suspensions in both cases.