Sunday Skate: Should Zdeno Chara have been suspended for his crosscheck?

WEEI
February 16, 2020 - 5:31 pm

It seems like you can’t go a week without some sort of controversy surrounding the NHL Department of Player Safety.

This week the NHL DOPS upset many around the league for fining Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara $5,000 rather than suspending the Boston captain for his cross check to the upper body of Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher on Wednesday

This week on Sunday Skate, co-hosts Matt Kalman and Pete Blackburn discussed Chara’s punishment, the DOPS’s inconsistency and whether suspensions should even be as prevalent as they are right now.

“I thought Chara should’ve been suspended for the cross check to Gallagher. You disagree with that?” Blackburn said.

Kalman responded:

“This is what I think now of suspensions. Suspensions should be so rare. They do not enforce the rules, they do not make people learn their lesson. You can’t be more careful in a hockey game. Hockey is being played at the fastest pace it’s ever been paid. Gary Bettman drools over this stuff constantly, ‘we have the greatest product.’ There are so many last-second decisions that have to be made. Unless you are out there with an obvious attempt to injure, say a Matt Cooke headhunting someone, or something like that where you know someone is going after someone with an intent to injure someone.”

“Or if it’s not really a hockey play,” Blackburn interjected.

The guys agrees that Zack Kassian deserved whatever penalty he received for kicking Tampa Bay’s Eric Cernak, and Blackburn thought the seven-game ban was too short. But then Blackburn and Kalman debated the merits of the Chara-Gallagher altercation as a “hockey play.”

“The actual scrum, the actual engagement of Gallagher and Chara in that incident, where they’re waiting for a faceoff, even though it’s not between the whistles, it’s something that happens in hockey, it’s something you want to encourage,” Kalman said.

“But how often does it escalate to a crosscheck to the throat?” Blackburn responded.

“Every once in a while, it will because it’s going to happen,” Kalman replied. “When you’re a kid and you’re horsing around, what does your mom say? ‘Someone’s going to get hurt.’ … So if it keeps going, someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get a crosscheck to the throat, and a $5,000 fine is fine.”

Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks set off more debate about DOPS with his written response to a three-game suspension Saturday.

Kalman and Blackburn debated the merits of Kane’s argument plus whether he’s the right messenger to make a stand against DOPS.

Of course with one week until the NHL trade deadline, the guys discussed the Bruins’ need for secondary scoring and depth on defense. They also chatted about Charlie Coyle’s future potential, what that means for David Krejci’s time in Boston and what kind of deal should or will keep Torey Krug in Boston.

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