NY Islanders News

Mattias Ritola Receives a 2 Game Suspension For His Hit on Matt Moulson

By John Panarese

OK, call it my rather sardonic view on the NHL and, more precisely, Colin Campbell, so I was surprised to read this news on NHL.com.  Yes, for his charge and hit from behind on Matt Moulson on Wednesday, Mattias Ritola of the Lightning did get 2 games as a suspension from the league.  I confess that I didn’t expect there to be any disciplinary action taken based on previous episodes in which Islander players were on the “receiving” end of such hits..

Not to drift off in non-Islanders content here, but I am finding myself with mixed emotions in regard to this rash of suspensions and penalties that we have seen this season.  I do commend the NHL for taking action and attempting to “police” the game, yet I also am a bit disconcerted and disturbed by the fact that the league has to be so proactive and that, in some cases, the actions taken have been unwarranted or over reactions.  The fact that there has been a lack of consistency has also only clouded the issue to me.  We are simply seeing too many calls being too steep in that “clean”, “legal” hits are being penalized, as well as guys being tossed from games for hits that were clearly shown as being within the boundaries of the rules.

I’ve said it before, but to me, as a hockey fan who goes back some 35 years, it’s a “bad state of affairs” that the NHL has to be the one to really take the lead on this subject.  There was a day in which the players policed themselves, and there were simply unwritten or unstated “rules” which governed how unfortunate incidents were handled by the players themselves.  Personally, I’d like to see the NHLPA take a more pronounced stance on these “dangerous hits” and have the players not leave it up to the “league” to handle in an “official” capacity only.  Hockey is a physical game, it’s a game played at high speed, and it can get “violent” at times without a doubt.  However, that does not mean that it can’t be played with respect among the players and a complete understanding of what is and is not acceptable conduct on the ice.

Yet, again, though, I am “old school” in my philosophies and often politically incorrect, so what do I know?