After Brandon Dubinsky’s vicious hit from behind on Los Angeles’ Rob Scuderi last night, the NHL handed down its verdict: a $10,000 fine and no suspension. On TSN’s That’s Hockey Tonight following the game, the general consensus, which included host Steve Kouleas, analyst Craig Button and a plethora of Twitterusers, seemed to be to give Dubinsky a five-game ban for his act. In the risk of sounding bias, I agree.
For all I know, Brandon Dubinsky may not have meant to hurt Scuderi but the video does suggest otherwise. It was bad enough that the former Ranger hit him from behind but to drive the veteran defenseman’s head into the glass only makes the situation worse. While Scuderi was able to skate off under his power and return to the game being the warrior he is, he was left with a black eye. Hopefully the ramifications of said hit don’t affect Scuderi’s game but at this point, that has yet to be determined.
Having said that, I do have to give kudos to Mike Richards for stepping up for his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with Dubinsky and kudos to the officials for handing the Blue Jackets forward a five-minute major a game misconduct. But to end the punishment there just isn’t right. Yes, Dubinsky’s $10,000 lighter but given his salary, that’s peanuts.
How could the NHL be so irresponsible? With an issue as intractable as concussions and on a play where the end result could easily led to a concussion, next to nothing was done. Brandon Dubinsky had the sheer gall to pull a Peter Lorre (Google it) and in return, he gets a menial slap on the wrist. Something surely doesn’t add up here and the league’s chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan ought to have a viable explanation for letting Dubinsky off the hook. Being suspended for five games is harsh enough during an 82-game season so just imagine what kind of impact a ban of said length would have on a 48-game season. The NHL had a chance to really make a statement had they give Dubinsky a ban of five games but not even giving him a single game to think about his actions should leave them feeling disgraced.
Perhaps it was because Rob Scuderi was fine that resulted in Brandon Dubinsky not receiving further discipline. If that is the case, then how would the NHL have reacted had Scuderi suffered a concussion? Also, if that is the case, I don’t buy it because not punishing a player simply because the other player was okay is simply unacceptable.
Again, it was great of Mike Richards to step up for his teammate and I hope, if anything, the Kings can build a greater sense of camaraderie because of last night’s incident. So, while there is a potential silver lining, I am still very upset that Brandon Dubinsky got away with what he did especially considering how important Rob Scuderi is to the Los Angeles Kings.
While I’m not suggesting that any bad blood will boil over to the next meeting between the Kings and Jackets, I do find it appropriate to remind Brandon Dubinsky to keep his head up because if he thought he dodged a bullet today, he’ll be in for a rude awakening the next time he shares the ice with the silver-and-black.