Spring is in the air, finally so it is time throw some stuff out. My own spring cleaning so to speak.
The NHL Department of Player Safety, (contradiction in terms) has come down with another head scratching decision after Brad Marchand delivered an intentional blow to the back of the head of Scott Harrington. No suspension, no fine, for the five time offender. The ironic part is that Bettman et al were in front of a Parliamentary Commission on concussions. The league permits fighting where the principle target is the head. Upon completion you get five minutes in the penalty box and stick taps from the boys for standing in and getting your brains scrambled. In 20 years the guys who stood in may not remember these guys because of the head trauma that was inflicted.
Hockey at the Pro level is not for the faint of heart, but is so beautiful watch when played at a high level and tough to watch when turns into a rodeo as it normally does in the playoffs. The NHL needs a new Sherriff for the DOPS to clean up the infestation of rats that are ruining the game. I nominate David Branch, the Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League.
Branch has been the Commissioner of the OHL since 1979. He has lived through the Gong Show eras of the 1980’and 1990’s. He has cleaned up the nonsense that was once rampant in the league and has been relentless in handing down suspensions that some people thought were excessive. In doing so players know that Branch is not fooling around. He has also added new franchises and secured television deals for the league and increased franchise values. The OHL is considerably safer for the young athletes who play. Although not perfect, he always seems to be moving the league forward.
The Department of Player Safety is comprised in a large part by ex-players who bring a player mentality to the decision making process and have little to no experience in levelling suspensions. What Dave Branch brings is 40 years of hockey executive experience to the table and a reputation for no bull crap. Commissioner Bettman said he likes the state of the game. So it is like the rodeo meeting UFC.
The NHL is not the most progressive organization and is more reactive based. If something goes wrong then they do something. In this case, bring in David Branch before something really goes wrong. He will piss off lot owners with the first few suspensions, but in the long run he will protect their million dollar assets.
Until next time!