Skip to main content Playoff Blog: Hossa non-suspension an egregious error

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s not that I want to rag on the NHL’s lack of good judgment again, but when the items are so blatant, it’s almost antagonistic.

I am, of course, referring to the league’s decision not to suspend Chicago Blackhawks star Marian Hossa for his shove from behind on Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis, a move eerily similar to a play Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was suspended two games for perpetrating on Chicago’s Brian Campbell not so long ago.

How similar? It was pretty much the exact same play.

The result was different, in that Hamhuis came away from the assault unscathed, whereas Campbell broke his collarbone when he crashed unceremoniously into the end boards.

This was one of the reasons NHL chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell gave for levying no punishment on Hossa.


The fact Hamhuis didn’t sustain brutal injuries in the fall wasn’t because Hossa has a gentler touch or more sense than Ovechkin, it’s because the horseshoes in Hamhuis’ Cooperalls were wearing rabbits feet. It was a quirk in physics, plain and simple.

Had any parts of the Predator’s physique been twisted in any other permutation, it would have been lights out. Hope you didn’t need that cartilage, Dan…

I always assumed the purpose of punishing certain deeds was to dissuade players from repeating them. After all, having defensemen shoved into the boards from behind at high speeds would probably have a negative impact on the effectiveness of said blueliners in the future, would it not?

Another reason given by the NHL’s Campbell in not suspending Hossa was that he was making a “hockey play” in a race for the puck. But kind reader, I ask you; how can Hossa be negating an icing when both his hands (and therefore his stick, as well) are at chest level?

Maybe the NHL should take more cues from its football brethren. If this was the NFL, there’s no doubt commissioner Roger Goodell would have come down on the offender and he wouldn’t have to tiptoe through any rulebook minefields as the NHL often claims it does.

No, as we saw with the Ben Roethlisberger suspension, Goodell would have brought down the hammer because the play makes the sport look bad. Simple.

For the record, I don’t blame the refs in this case. Handing Hossa a five-minute major looked, at the time, to be a game-long ban. Had Nashville not choked in the final minute while on the power play, or even scored in the three-and-a-half minutes of overtime the Preds had with the man advantage, Hossa wouldn’t have had the opportunity to score the game-winner.

It was a conservative call not to officially boot him and I have no problem with that.

I don’t want to be completely negative to kick the week off, so time for fun: I have decided on my playoff anthem. It’s “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled, featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain and Snoop Dogg and whichever team you’re supporting, I strongly recommend bumping this track while you engage in pre-game festivities.

I know hockey and hip hop don’t have the strongest connection and there may be a little Auto-Tune involved, but this gets me amped and in the mood for Game 7s. When I step up in the building, everybody’s hands go up – and they stay there!

Ball’s in your court, arena music coordinators.'s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

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Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to His blog appears Monday and Wednesday, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his prospect feature, The Hot List appears Tuesdays.

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