Leo Komarov suspended 3 games for hit on McDonagh; Cracking down on dangerous hits

Bobby Bevilacqua

McDonagh hunched over

Ryan McDonagh being helped off of the ice after being hit in the head by Toronto forward Leo Komarov. Photo courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star.

Following his elbow to the head on New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, the NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto forward Leo Komarov for three games, his first offense in the league. He will also forfeit $47,580.66 based on his average annual salary and the terms of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Komarov was clearly targeting McDonagh’s upper body region, and took quite a few strides before reaching and extending his elbow and making contact with McDonagh’s head.

As a result of the play, McDonagh was removed from the game, and there was no update on his status. However, this could very likely be his second concussion in the past 12 days, which is a very serious and dangerous circumstance. I’d be surprised if he plays on Sunday.

Based on the current rules, I’m happy with the length of the suspension. Three games is about what I expected, so they got it right there.

However, the fact that three games is what many people expected for a hit as vicious as this one is very concerning. With the real impact of head injuries coming to light in leagues like the NFL, people are starting to see how concerning concussions and these types of hits are.

The NHL has said that they are cracking down on these types of hits and plays, but its total BS. There have been plenty of unpunished hits and plays over the course of this season where a very dangerous hit was made, usually around the head area, and the perpetrators were out on the ice the next game.

I’ll bring up the Flyers, not because I dislike them, but because these situations have come up in two games against the Rangers. Wayne Simmonds punched Ryan McDonagh with his glove on and concussed him. Those gloves are meant to protect someone’s hand from pucks and slashes, so it doesn’t exactly cushion the blow of a punch. Hitting someone with your gloves on is also a violation of the rules and a match penalty. That could have been worth of a suspension.

The cheap-shot artist/goon of a hockey player named Radko Gudas has been suspended just once, for a headshot to the Ottawa Senators’ Mika Zibanejad. But this season, he also has clipped Lucas Lessio (MTL), delivered a hit to the head of Daniel Catenacci (BUF), dropped Bobby Farnham (NJD) to the ice with a shoulder to the face, and even gave Viktor Stalberg a concussion with a headshot that didn’t even get a penalty.

Three games, for all of that. And that’s not counting the various high-sticking penalties and other dangerous plays and infractions he’s committed. Even a Philly sports writer agrees with my opinion (LINK).

The Flyers aren’t the only two teams to get away with it, it’s happened all around the league. And the NHL’s claims that they’re focusing on eliminating these hits and making the game safer is total nonsense.

A three game suspension isn’t going to deter someone from making that same play over and over again. Look at Radko Gudas. He’s still playing dirty and delivering cheap shots despite a three game suspension, and the league hasn’t penalized him again since then.

These kinds of hits and plays are no laughing matter. They can seriously injure a player, end their career and create life-long medical issues. A slap on the wrists and a short suspension isn’t going to do anything. If the NHL wants to make a change, start handing down 10-20 game suspensions and making sure that players know that if they make that kind of a hit, they will pay for it. Do it enough times and you’re out of the league.

The NHL’s concussion policy is a joke because it isn’t enforced enough (notice McDonagh stayed on the bench after the play for a bit?), and their punishment system for these kinds of hits isn’t doing nearly enough to deter perpetrators from doing it again and again. Make a change.

Posted on February 19, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree so strongly. A player that jeopardizes another’s career and life should be banned from the sport. A shot to the head of s recently concussed player who hadn’t even taken a stride no less is absolutely disgusting and they should be ashamed.


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