When Boston Bruins winger Daniel Paille was suspended for his hit on Raymond Sawada of the Dallas Stars on Friday, the league's Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy said in a statement that Sawada's injuries played a factor in the length of Paille's four-game suspension.
"Paille delivered a lateral hit where the principal point of contact was his opponent's head," said Murphy in a statement. "Additionally, the injury suffered by the Dallas player was a factor in this decision."
Murphy's statement regarding Paille's suspension makes it apparent that the NHL considers the severity of the victimized player's injuries when deciding the severity of the offending player's suspension.
This leads to a topic that has been a hot button of late in hockey circles. How big of a role should the extent of an injury play in the length of a suspension?
One school of thought is to disregard the injuries and determine the severity of the suspension solely on the play itself. In other words, base the discipline decision on the illegal hit alone, and not the results of the hit.
Another option is go the other way entirely, and wait until the extent of the injury is discovered before handing out a suspension. If the player is out for a long time with severe injuries, then any suspension could reflect that. Conversely, if a player escapes a hit with only minor injuries or no injuries at all, then the offending player could be given a break.
And a third option is to meet somewhere in the middle and take into consideration the act and the resulting injuries, which the NHL has done in Paille's case.
Our question to hockey fans today is: How much should the extent of an injury play in the length of a suspension?
As always, it's Your! Call.