The three-game suspension David Backes received on Wednesday was absolutely ridiculous.
The NHL Department of Player Safety cannot be consistent with their fines and suspensions if their lives depended on it – especially when it comes to the Bruins, and the recent suspension of David Backes is just another example.
Three games for a guy who has never been fined or suspended in his entire career gets three games for a questionable hit? Give me a break.
Backes isn’t a rookie. He’s not a second-year player and he’s not Brad Marchand. He’s played 848 freaking games in the NHL and never once received any sort of punishment.
Look, I get it. Frans Nielsen didn’t have the puck when Backes made contact with him. Backes looks to have left his skates and Nielsen was knocked out of the game and it’s looking like he’ll miss the next two. He’s going to be okay which is obviously the most important part.
— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) March 7, 2018
I hate hits to the head in any sport. I’ll say it time and time again there is no room for cheap, dirty hits – but if the NHL wants to do away with these kinds of hits, they need to be consistent – and there lies my main issue with the Backes suspension.
I wouldn’t be so fired up if it was a fine or even a one-game suspension – but to give a guy who’s played almost 900-career games without any sort of fine or suspension on his record three games as a first-time offender?
Something’s wrong here.
Charlie McAvoy nearly had his head taken off by Patric Hornqvist of the Penguins and there was zero discipline handed down. Whether it was because the league doesn’t want to punish anyone of the precious Penguins or because McAvoy put his head down before the hit, they Department of Player Safety didn’t even entertain the idea of discipline.
There was no call on the initial hit to McAvoy that left him bloodied, so I was shocked to hear there would be no discipline whatsoever. I know the circumstances were different and comparing the two hits would be like comparing apples to oranges – but again, I’m asking, begging really, for consistency here.
Backes was called for roughing after his hit on Nielsen and now he’ll be out for the next three games. It’s excessive and it blows my mind how inconsistent the Department of Player Safety has been.
Number 42 was also knocked in the head earlier this season and there was no penalty called on the play. It was a late, high hit from Nick Ritchie and Backes didn’t return to the game.
Here’s the kicker: Ritchie wasn’t suspended…and he’s been suspended before – last season in fact for roughing. A different scenario than Backes, but nonetheless, a guy with a previous suspension.
There are players in the NHL who are repeat offenders and who want to hurt people on the ice. Fans saw it with Matt Cooke (who, mind you, wasn’t suspended for the hit to Marc Savard’s head), Raffi Torres and Sean Avery, just to name a few.
Hell, I’ll even put Brad Marchand on that list because non-Bruins fans love chirping at me every time I mention someone being a dirty player in the NHL.
David Backes is not one of those players.
But to give a guy who has played his entire NHL career without a single fine or suspension a three-game suspension is asinine. Backes is not a dirty player. That’s never been his style of play.
The Department of Player Safety needs to get their heads out of their asses and find some consistency in their discipline. Had that been Marchand who delivered that hit, a suspension would inevitable and expected.
But Backes? Give me a break.
By: Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren)