Colin Campbell, Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League, today announced that Ed Jovanovski would be suspended for two games following the elbowing penalty he got for hitting John Tavares in the 1st period of the Coyotes - Islanders game this past Saturday. According to the official NHL press release:
Jovanovski, who was suspended for two games back in December, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He will forfeit $158,536.59 in salary based on the number of games (82) in a season, rather than the number of days (193). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
So now not only do we lose Jovanovski for the next two big games against the Sharks and the Devils, but everytime Jovo breathes on a guy the league will be taking a look at him. Now there's some argument over whether or not this one was warranted. Granted, Ed Jovanovski did make John Tavares bleed. And yes, his elbow made contact with what the press release also aptly describes as being delivered to "Tavares' head area", whatever that means. Isn't it the head or not?
My argument is that It wasn't necessarily an intentional shot to the head. Sure, the league, the players and even the fans want better policing of head shots, but the league's enforcement of the rules and handing out of suspensions has been spotty at best. Tavares wasn't seriously hurt. He was down for a few moments, but got up on his own, got attention and didn't miss any ice time. Jovanovski was off balance and avoiding his own player at the same time that he was trying to defend Tavares. Was it the smart play or a good play? No. Was it a malicious play or one that had long lasting effects? No. Well not other than costing us one of our top defensemen for the game and beyond. I just don't see that the extra suspensions were warranted or necessary.
What do you think? Take a look at the video of the elbow, draw your own conclusions and share in the comments...