Dear NHL Players and Fans:
Here at the NHL Department of Player Safety, we are committed to ensuring that all of our players are complying with the rules set forth in the NHL Official Rule Book to the fullest extent possible. Any player who fails to adhere to these rules will be punished with supplemental discipline following the game on a case by case basis.
We will use the following criteria to determine if a player will serve a suspension or pay a fine:
Did the player make contact with the other player?
Did the player act with malice and/or intent to injure?
Does this player know Matt Cooke?
Has this player ever been suspended before?
Does the player play for Montreal?
Did the player injure another player?
Is this player on the same team as Matt Cooke?
Did this player involuntarily react to being assaulted by another player?
Is this just the way this player plays his game?
Did the player make contact with the other player’s head or just a part of his head?
Is this player Matt Cooke?
If the player in question did not meet at least 75% of the criteria prescribed above, then we will make no attempt to apply a suspension or fine. The harsh suspensions in the pre-season of Jody Shelly and James Wisniewski were not a warning shot as many had believed, but rather Shanahan flexing his muscles and practicing his acting skills in the opening weeks of the season. Everyone loves a good story, and we here at the Department of Player Safety know how to cause a buzz.
Here at the Department of Player Safety, we are 100% committed to the health and well being of our players. We promise that if Sidney Crosby never plays another game again because his brain is so fried you could serve it with ketchup on a bun that we will make it up to the Pittsburgh fan base by handing out free Garth Snow T-shirts to the first 150 fans through the door at Consol Energy Center in the next home game following the announcement of Crosby’s retirement. We know how important Mr. Crosby is to your team, your city and the league.
We know that after this occurs, that Mario Lemieux will leave the hockey world as well. Do not fret. We are prepared for this. The game following his selling of the team, all Kansas City Penguin fans will receive Kansas City Royals hats for just $10 per hat at the gate.
The families of Chris Pronger and Marc Savard will be handsomely compensated for their pain and suffering of dealing with the frustration of living with early retired hockey players who on some days cannot remember their own names. They will receive 10 game ticket packages for 5 seasons to the Bruins and Flyers as well as free popcorn for 5 games per season.
We understand the frustration of players and fans around this so called “concussion problem.” But what you do not understand is that this is an upper body injury that has yet to kill a player. The players are “day to day” and could return at any time. They could be back as early as tomorrow, unlike a torn ACL, which we know will leave a player stranded on his couch playing NHL 2012 for at least a few weeks before they are back on the ice.
This “problem” is hardly an epidemic. Until Patrick Kane, Marian Gaborik, Pavel Datsyuk, Marty St. Louis, Corey Perry, and Zdeno Chara have been concussed, we could not in good conscience label these upper body injuries as reaching an epidemic level.
Just because there is contact with a player’s head or some other part of his body (such as his chin which we have evidenced as not truly being a part of one’s head) it does not mean that it was a so called “head shot.” Accidents happen.
Until Matt Cooke has been hit in the head so many times that he sees spots and stars for 90% of his day, we have no reason to believe that head shots of all varieties should be banned from the NHL, thus taking away entertainment value and physical play. This is a contact sport. If players are not able to properly receive a hit, then they deserve to sit in the press box for as many games as necessary to teach them the importance of being aware of their surroundings at all times.
Once again, we will reiterate that safety is of the utmost importance here at the NHL. As long as at least one suspension video per week is released, we are doing our job. And come on. How cool is the term “Shanaban?”
Thank you, loyal fans and players for your time and attention.
The Department of Player Safety