Update: Added a couple more thoughts to the end after publishing. – Matt
Per the CBA (Exhibit 8):
6. Factors In Determining Supplementary Discipline
In deciding on supplementary discipline, the following factors will be taken into account:
- The type of conduct involved: conduct outside of NHL rules; excessive force in contact otherwise permitted by NHL rules; and careless or accidental conduct. Players are responsible for the consequences of their actions.
- Injury to the opposing Player(s) involved in the incident.
- The status of the offender, and specifically whether he is a “first” or “repeat” offender. Players who repeatedly violate NHL rules will be more severely punished for each new violation.
- The situation of the game in which the incident occurred: late in the game, lopsided score, prior events in the game.
- Such other factors as may be appropriate in the circumstances.
My emphasis. So, for the record, the concept of using outcome of a play as a determining factor in supplemental discipline is enshrined in the CBA.
But if you cast your gaze to the point a. above, you start to get the sense that the injury angle is being overplayed.
I wonder if that’s because the NHL knows it can’t ignore injurious hits and the bad optics they present, while at the same time foolishly discounting the damage a hit that doesn’t cause injury does on the optics front. Clinging to the old mindset about the game as a way of trying to have its cake and eat it too. Skating past hits that end up not causing injury used to work, but that strategy’s starting to fail. The NHL doesn’t get it.