The NHL has given Buffalo's John Scott a seven-game suspension for his hit to the head of Boston's Loui Eriksson back on October 23rd. The league determined that Scott's hit to Eriksson's head was severe enough to warrant a large punishment even though the forward has no previous history of NHL discipline. Scott has already served three games while waiting for his hearing and will forfeit a total of $26,923 in salary.
What do you think of the NHL's decision?
While it's always annoying to see the NHL use the health of the victim in their decision process (punish the action, not the result), they appear to have gotten this one right. Scott's hit was brutal and completely avoidable. He went out of his way and made no effort to avoid Eriksson's head. Some fans may have wanted a larger punishment, but Scott's relatively clean history certainly helped his cause.
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If the NHL truly wants to get rid of hits like this (and they should), they need to do the following two things:
1) Punish intent, determined by failure to avoid an avoidable hit, regardless of the injury outcome.
2) Make ten games the bare minimum. Maybe fifteen. Determine something serious enough as a base. And go up from there in multiples of two or three for repeat offenses.