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Monday, May 11, 2009

NHL Drops the Ball on "Sucker Punch"

In another example of Colin Campbell's brilliant disciplinary judgment, Hurricanes forward Scott Walker will get off scott free for an absolutely heinous punch to the face of Boston's Aaron Ward. The act, which occurred during the third period of last night's game 5, has been deemed "not a sucker punch" by the league despite the fact that there could not be a better way to describe the cheap shot than "sucker punch".

Take a look for yourself:

On several different grounds, Walker should be suspended. First, the NHL's Rule 56, also known as the instigator rule, reads as follows

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 action in question, which occurred with under 3 minutes remaining in the third period, clearly should fall under the jurisdiction of this rule. There is no denying that Walker starts the altercation between himself and Ward. According to the rulebook, Walker should receive at least a one game suspension.

Second, Walker is clearly the "second man in". The initial altercation is between Ward and Hurricanes' forward Matt Cullen. Walker takes it upon himself to jump in between the two and, without warning, deliver a crushing blow to Ward's face.

Third, it is undeniable that Walker intended to injure Ward and did so in a vicious manner. The latest reports state that Ward may have suffered a broken orbital bone.

The lack of action against Walker is another glaring example of inconsistency and idiocy on the NHL's disciplinary record. The hypocrisy of not suspending Walker despite the league's "continued effort" to teach the players to respect each other is astounding....almost as astounding as the fact that Colin Campbell still has a job.

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