If you’re an NHL fan, chances are you’ll watch the sport no matter what. If they take fighting away, it isn’t as if you’ll walk away from the sport. If they take away the blue line it isn’t going to change your world.
So why should you give a crap about what the league is doing in regard to goalie pants? Consistency. You should care because the league has no clue what the word consistency means. Any prior precedent it has set is normally met with a random ruling. In the case of Brad Marchand, for the past few weeks, he has slew-footed multiple players. He was fined once for $10,000 and after that his most recent transgression was largely ignored.
The Department of Player Safety is supposed to serve as oversight for the players. It feels like self-policing has been more prevalent than ever. The NHL knows that it wants some violence in the game but isn’t sure how much is acceptable. They’ll allow some fights and not allow others. While internally this may have already been a discussion between the league and the players, the optics from the outside make it look like they don’t know how to handle it.
That could very well be the case. Certain hits can be overlooked and certain players shouldn’t be fighting. It just doesn’t make the league a viable product.
All goalies must switch to new pants today. Any violation results in a 2-game suspension, $25k fine to team, $1k fine to equipment manager
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 4, 2017
Recently they sent down a mandate that goalies needed to switch their equipment mid-season to meet the new regulations. Goalies that don’t comply have to pay a $25,000 fine, more than double what Marchand paid.
Where does player safety fall on the spectrum of priorities? How can they in good faith try and make goalies pay double the amount in fines when the maximum fine under the CBA for Marchand’s hit was only $10,000.
It has long been a kangaroo court when trying to figure out where one stands with the NHL. Making an enemy with the league is taboo but if you play your cards right, you may just be able to get away with anything.
So why should fans care? Their team could be the one getting screwed over next.