Here’s the problem that I have with this light, meaningless, one-game suspension, it was an opportunity for the NHL to send a message to the players that they weren’t going to put up with any bravo sierra during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Instead, they blew it.
According to the NHL’s department of Player Safety, this isn’t a hockey play. Well duh. Seriously, you can’t skate by an opponent that doesn’t have the puck and cross-check them. If you watch the video of the play in question, you will see that when Matt Calvert cross-checks Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl, the puck is nowhere near him. Also, breaking your stick over the back of your opponent and it’s not a hockey play. It’s a bush-league move.
According to the DOPS, this is message sending. I would argue this was an attempt to injure your opponent. Seriously, Calvert lowered his shoulder into Kuhnhackl’s head while he’s in a vulnerable position? It’s my definition of thuggery, it also violates the hockey code. You’re supposed to let up if your opponent is in a vulnerable position.
Originally, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun had tweeted that there wasn’t going to be any supplemental discipline for Calvert. That tweet caused quite the reaction from the Twitterverse.
Here’s an interesting exchange on twitter between Ray Ferraro and Willie Mitchell.