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NHL Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Arbitrarily Not Punishing Carolina Hurricanes Forward Riley Nash

Tom Szczerbowski – USA Today Sports

Carolina Hurricanes forward Riley Nash did one of the dumbest things possible Tuesday night in the third period of an overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

In a play that honestly had no reason to end in a body check, Nash threw an incredibly dangerous hit on Oilers defenseman Corey Potter. To haphazardly slam a defenseless Potter into the boards is bad enough, yet to lift his hand and send Potter’s head into the boards first is just bad hockey.

In the game, Nash was assessed a five minute major for boarding and then slapped with a game misconduct which ended his night — as well it should have.  Potter had issues getting back up, but there are no reports of his injury.  On-ice officials needed only to review the replay a couple of times, and gave Nash the boot.  This is a good call because putting people’s faces into the glass is a bad policy in the long run.

Most would think that with a game misconduct being assessed, the NHL Department Of Player Safety would be taking a look at this with their morning coffee.  However, according to reports, the league is pursuing no further punishment.  Apparently the logic here is that the punishment for almost paralyzing another player for no good reason should be to spend the rest of the night in time out.  Seems legit.

Not pursuing further punishment against Nash is a bit of a scary thing.  While the league’s guru of player safety Brendan Shanahan does a great job of drawing a line in the sand on idiot plays, why does he constantly move the line?  Would it have been better if Potter was in a coma?  Does Shanahan need to see a broken nose in that situation?  What is not dangerous and punishment-worthy about that hit?

Do parents only punish a child when they break something or do they just not allow the kids to play ball in the house in the first place?  There’s no reason for Shanahan to wait for someone to break a nose, face, skull, or worse before telling players “you don’t do that, son.”

Nash doesn’t need books thrown at him or anything super severe.  However, he does need to be made an example out of.  There’s no reason to slam another player face-first into the glass — injury or not.

Michael Peckerar is a Hurricanes writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @peckrants, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.