And it was justified.
After all, supplementary discipline became an exercise in randomness a year ago.
It apparently is again in 2008-2009.
Thursday night, Colorado's Darcy Tucker, hardly a Lady Byng candidate at any point in his career, thought it would be a good idea to de-knee Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz. It didn't work, as Schultz wasn't hurt, but it was pretty obvious that Tucker was aiming low and behaving that way, too. Again.
The low blow by Tucker was spotted by the referees, who called him for clipping. But given Tucker's history (including the fact that the clipping penalty was put in because of his penchant for going after guys' knees), it was pretty obvious that he would get suspended.
Well, as we all know, you can never assume anything when you spin the NHL Wheel of Discipline.
I mean, even Avalanche beat writer Adrian Dater thought this was a slam dunk. He thought a suspension was warranted, and so did I. He intentionally went low and took a shot at Schultz. Were this Chris Pronger, the fans would be lined up outside NHL offices with their torches.
However, Dater reports that there will be no suspension handed out to Tucker.
The NHL flat-out blew it. This isn't the time for a warning. It's not the time for a reminder, or a fine, or a request for better behavior. Tucker is a repeat offender, and he needs to sit. Even if you only have the guts to suspend him for one game, it sends no message whatsoever for him to be available for his team tonight against Nashville.
Not only that, but don't forget that Schultz alleges premeditation on Tucker's part.
"My concern is at the end of the second, he tells me he's going to come and take out my knees, and then he actually does it," said Schultz, who got into a verbal exchange after a physical exchange late in the second. "It says everything you need to know about that guy.So we have a repeat offender taking a guy's knees out, allegedly with premeditation. Sounds like a good case for a suspension.
"In the game right now, we're lacking respect for each other and to go and do something like that I think is not respecting one of the guys you're playing against.
"He's been that type of player his whole career, and you don't need that in the game. It's something we're trying to get away from -- hits to the head and taking out guys' knees. It's just a gutless play."
Seriously, what more do you need, Colin? Put the Wheel of Discipline away and start using some common sense, if you have any.