2012 NHL Playoffs: NHL's Justice System Is An Embarrassment

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Filip Kuba #17 of the Ottawa Senators takes a penalty in the second period for high sticking Carl Hagelin #62 of the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The lunacy involving the NHL's "Wheel Of Justice" just gets better and better. Or maybe worse and worse would be more appropriate.

Brendan Shanahan came down with his rulings yesterday on two different incidents that occurred in the New York Rangers' 3-2 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators Saturday. Both were laughable.

First, he suspended rookie Carl Hagelin for a stunning three games for his incidental (but still illegal) elbow to Daniel Alfredsson. Then, he only suspended Matt Carkner for one game after jumping and then repeatedly sucker punching Brian Boyle over and over again while he was laying helpless on the ice.

Uhh, what?

So, just to clarify (which is usually needed when the NHL's Department of Justice is involved): That's three games for an accidental hit to the head and one game for a thug who walked into the game not only expecting to get tossed but sent in to INTENTIONALLY injury an opponent.

Join me after the jump for more.

Here's the thing: Hagelin should have been suspended. And while three games is excessive, it would have been fine if it was comparable to other playoff punishments. But Shea Weber got off with just a $2,500 fine after he decided to grab Henrik Zetterberg's head and smash it into the boards.

But that's OK apparently, because not only was Zetterberg not injured but Weber is a superstar. In Hagelin's case, he isn't a superstar. But he did injure one. Obviously this thought process went into Carkner's suspension as well, since Boyle wasn't injured not is he a superstar.

It's moronic. There's really no other way to describe it. It shows that the NHL has no idea what it's doing on a level that is truly staggering in this day and age.

This is a professional sports league, not a beer league taking place at the frozen pond behind your friend's house. It might be hard to tell the two apart after today though, where I'm sure many of the Pittsburgh Penguins who embarrassed the entire sport last night will get off with a slap on the wrist because, well, they're the Penguins. And no one was hurt.

The reality of the situation is intent has to be taken more seriously than the outcome. It just does. Hagelin didn't intend to injure Alfredsson. That senseless thug Carkner did intend to injury Boyle. So he gets one game? You have to look at what a player is trying to do. You have to see their intent, otherwise what is Shanahan even doing?

Shanahan, who was suppose to bring legitimacy and consistency to the NHL's justice system has done the exact opposite. He has clearly lost his way. I'm starting to question if he ever was on the right path in the first place.

He also didn't help his cause when he told Boomer And Carton that the suspension might be reduced if Alfredsson plays today. Which pretty much proves that not only does he have no idea what he is doing, he can't even stick to his guns when he does make a horrible decision. So who is really pulling the strings? Because it sure as hell isn't Shanahan. (UPDATE: As explained in the thread, the Rangers would need to appeal the suspension in order for this to happen. The Rangers released a statement saying they would not appeal. We'll see what happens.) (UPDATE: Katie Strang just tweeted that the suspension would remain three games even if Alfredsson plays tonight.)

It's laughable, it really is. But no one who loves this sport is laughing. Because it's not funny, it's sad.

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