Skip to main content

Analysis: The good and bad of Hartnell's suspension

Much like the two-game suspension to Randy Jones a month ago, there is reason to be both encouraged and discouraged by the NHL’s decision to suspend Scott Hartnell two games for his hit on Andrew Alberts Monday night.

It is encouraging to see the NHL is clearly taking a stand on blows to the head, intentional or not. It wasn’t long ago that Hartnell’s hit on Alberts would have been considered a “good hockey hit” and gone unpunished. This is the kind of leadership that many people have been looking for from the NHL for years now.

It is discouraging, however, that the league hasn’t seen fit to suspend these players longer. While two games is not an insignificant amount, it certainly isn’t enough to put these kinds of reckless, unnecessary hits to rest.

Both Jones and Hartnell are absolutely right when they plead that they’re not the kinds of players who go out deliberately trying to hurt people. But as long as the culture and opinion leaders of this game continue to make excuses for reckless play and blame the player who was hit for putting himself in vulnerable positions, this kind of thing is not going to stop.

It has been said before in this space and it will be said again and again. Players have to be accountable for what they do with their bodies. And until such time as the league forces them to do it, we’re going to continue to see players carried off on stretchers.

TOP HEADLINES

Carolina Hurricanes
Play

Why are the Carolina Hurricanes Playing Below Expectations?

Adam Proteau examines the Carolina Hurricanes, who were thought to be Cup contenders but are currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division.

Auston Matthews
Play

The NHL All-In Power Rankings: Top Five

Mike Stephens looks at five NHL teams who are the most all-in for a Stanley Cup. It is Cup or Bust for these aging and salary cap-strapped teams.

Connor Bedard
Play

Connor Bedard's Point Streak Hits 22 Games as Pats Beat Giants

Connor Bedard set his WHL career-best point streak Friday night against the Vancouver Giants — where some Canucks fans already had Bedard on their jersey.