For some reason, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has said it’s no big deal that defenseman Josh Morrissey decided to slash Columbus’ Alexandre Texier after the Blue Jackets scored an empty-net goal. Getting only a $5K fine for what was clearly a dangerous play made out of frustration when it was clear the Winnipeg Jets were going to lose the hockey game, the precedent set here by essentially ignoring what Morrissey did is among the worst missteps by the NHL DoPS this season.
And, that is said knowing the DoPs clearly gets it wrong often.
Morrissey, Nikita Zaitsev of the Ottawa Senators, and Max Domi of the Columbus Blue Jackets have each been fined $5,000 for their actions in NHL games on Wednesday. Morrisey’s play was clearly the most heinous of the bunch. He intentionally tried to hurt another player at a point in the game where the outcome was already determined and when there was absolutely no need for it.
You can see the play below:
Amazingly, some people believe this shouldn’t have warranted a suspension and the DoPS got it right. In a way, I can understand that reasoning, but not because the infraction wasn’t ugly. The problem is that the Department of Player Safety has set absolutely no standard for what is considered suspendable and what isn’t. On any given reviewable play, no one can say they know what ruling the department is going to hand down. There’s no rhyme or reason to their discipline and that’s where things get incredibly dangerous.
That Morrissey — or any other NHL player — now knows he can do this after a loss and simply take out his frustrations on another player is a slippery slope the NHL is sliding down. By saying that a fine — which equates to us regular Joe’s dropping $5 — is how much a player stands to lose, it teaches them nothing.
All I can say is, count down the days to the next time these two teams meet. It should be interesting.
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