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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Crime But No Time?

I'm not a Vancouver Canucks fan, but I'm really starting to feel their pain. In particular, I'm feeling their anger towards losing David Booth for what appears to be a minimum of four weeks with a knee injury. Kevin Porter drove his knee into Booth's knee, and the end result was a four-game suspension for Porter while Booth sits out four weeks. David Booth was just catching fire in a Canucks uniform since being acquired, so does Porter's sentence fit the crime he committed when David Booth may not return until February? I feel that Porter may have gotten off a little easy here.

First, let's take a look at the video. Keep an eye on Porter's knee when Booth approaches.


Clearly, Porter stuck his knee out as Booth was cutting across the middle of the ice. I get that knee-on-knee hits can happen if one player leans out of the way of a hit, but Porter stuck his knee out in a way that can only have one result: injury.

Therefore, I must ask: if a player intentionally does something that can be construed as an attempt to injure another player, does it warrant more than a four-game suspension? Especially if that action results in a major injury resulting in considerable time lost to the victim and his team? I'm willing to concede that no one can ever predict intention, but if the action done by the offending player results in considerable injury to the victim through an action that appears to be intentional, why should the player who committed the act be granted some benefit of the doubt as to his intention?

I get that these are philosophical questions, but four games in exchange for four weeks is a pretty hefty price to pay for the victim. David Booth is a solid scoring threat for Vancouver, and they will miss his services for a month or more. Kevin Porter is a loyal foot soldier for the Avalanche, but his value to the Avalanche is, arguably, less than the value Booth is to the Canucks.

Four games is all Kevin Porter will miss. David Booth? There's no telling how long he'll be out with his knee injury, but standard timeframes point at this being a 4-6 week recovery time.

Does the time really fit the crime? In my mind, it does not. While I get that the CBA won't allow eye-for-eye suspensions, ten games would be more of a deterrent for players who want to stick a knee out the next time Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, or Claude Giroux skate by. Throwing a check doesn't have to include deliberate contact to a knee.

What say you, readers: is four games the right punishment for a grinder for putting a scorer on the shelf for a month or longer?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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