NHL

NHL takes hardline on suspensions

Kessel is one of many players to have been given a suspension. (©GettyImages)
Kessel is one of many players to have been given a suspension. (©GettyImages).

Throughout this NHL preseason action, fans, players, and coaches sure have endured a lot. Preseason hockey is a segment of games in which fans don’t have to worry about their team losing, because they can just state “it’s only preseason play.” However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not entertaining.

In fact, this year’s preseason has been, in my opinion, some of the most exciting hockey ever. There have been lengthy, comical shootouts, blowout victories, spectacular saves and intense fights. It’s given a chance for some of the team’s rookie players to fight for a place in the NHL.

But more importantly, it’s given referees a chance to set the standard for the upcoming regular season. And this year is no exception. Throughout this preseason period, there have been a total of seven suspensions and one fine.

Some of the players suspended include: Coyotes rookie Paul Bissonette, Adam Erne, Zack Kassian, Dale Wiese, Toronto’s Phil Kessel and David Clarkson and Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen. The severity of each suspension varies except in the cases of Bissonette and Clarkson who have both been suspended for the first 10 games of the regular season.

Also, Buffalo Sabres head coach Ron Rolston has been fined for his role in the team brawl against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I was quite surprised at the amount of suspensions handed out so far in the preseason period. However, I believe this a very good thing. These suspensions send a message to all players and coaches in the NHL. Put simply, the message is that the referees aren’t going to stand for any blatant hits to head, hits behind or massive fights.

Now, to be clear, I’m one a fan that does not mind the fighting aspect of hockey. That being said, I’m also glad that the referees are going to be punishing it a little more. Finally these suspensions will hopefully show the rookie players that body-checking players in dangerous areas could lead to trouble and may not be the best way to try and stay in the NHL.

I hope that these early suspensions will help cut down on the number of injuries heading into the upcoming season. I can’t wait to see which rookies are able to keep their roster spots, and which teams are going to succeed in the upcoming regular season.

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