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article imageOp-Ed: NHL should stop pointlessly fining players for dirty hits

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 18, 2014 in Sports
Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes cross-checked David Booth of the Vancouver Canucks in the head Thursday. Booth went down, now seems all right, but it certainly could have been worse. It was the third stick infraction of the third period for Hanzal.
Earlier in that period Hanzal slashed Mike Santorelli under the shoulder and whacked Henrik Sedin in the ribs. Santorelli left for the rest of the game and he and Sedin, an NHL ironman, are questionable for the Canucks' next game.
Martin Hanzal: Stick-swinging x 3
Hanzal, all 6'6' and 230 pounds of him, was fined $5,000 for that cross-check to the head of Booth (for which he received a double minor). But the Coyotes forward makes an annual salary of about $3 million. To date in his career he's been paid over $10 million and for the next three seasons will make $9 million. He will only be 30 when his current contract expires so expect a few more seasons at a few more million per when it does.
Do you see where this is going? Yeah, it is heading directly for this word — pointless. Yup, it is absolutely pointless of NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to fine a man who makes that much, and has made that much, and will make that much more, so little. It makes a slap on the wrist seem like a hanging.
It does nothing to stop the flow of violence.
There are other instances of this absurdity and this season one that stands out is the case of Joffrey Lupul. The Toronto Maple Leaf winger was suspended last season for two games for a hit to the head. However, for a hit to the head of the Detroit Red Wings' Patrick Eaves in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 of this season, Lupul was given only a $10,000 fine.
In his career so far Lupul has made over $22 million and on his existing contract will rake in more than $15 million over the next three years. So he'll have made $37 million before going to sign his next NHL contract (if he keeps playing) and losing $10,000 of it will mean nothing. Indeed, given his $5,250,000 salary it takes him less than 10 minutes of an NHL game to make it.
So does a message get sent? How can one if in essence nothing has been lost? Arguably these shots to the head weren't as bad as others, but then arguably others should also have received greater penalty (Gary Suter, Matt Cooke, Chris Pronger, Matt Cooke again...etc. etc.).
The CBA only allows for trivial fines but the bottom line is that there's no message sent by the taking of such a meager amount from such incredibly rich NHL players. It serves only to rub the amount of money these guys make right into the face of NHL fans.
So no, don't bother with the fines.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about NHL, nhl fines, brendan shanahan, martin hanzal, henrik sedin
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