Gary Bettman: Meter Maid

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In a disciplinary blunder undoubtedly designed to vividly illustrate their own inconsistency and ineptitude, the NHL has today rescinded the mandatory (see definition below) suspension of Scott Walker for receiving an instigator penalty with less than five minutes left in a game and, instead, merely levied a $2500 fine for his brutal sucker punch on Aaron Ward in the closing minutes of Game 5 of the Boston-Carolina quarterfinal series.

Take a moment and read that sentence again. Let it soak in. For your entertainment, feel free to also peruse the following definition.

    mandatory (man-də-ˌtȯr-ē) – obligatory; compulsory; required by rule

See also automatic.

Twenty five hundred dollars. Precisely 1/1000th of his current salary. The exact equivalent of a parking ticket to any ordinary working man.

For breaking the face of an opposing player who was not engaging him in a fight.

Render unto me a fucking break, Gary Bettman. Thou art the worst example of any human who hath ever managed a professional sports league, methinks. Forsooth.

It’s a ridiculous joke of a decision, of course, and a potentially dangerous one. Regardless that things were getting heated at the end of that game and there was a minor scrum going on, something that we all know happens constantly during games, Walker clearly crossed all reasonable and honorable boundaries as he threw a vicious punch into the face of a man that was not defending himself, potentially causing serious injury.

So, according to the NHL then, if some member of the Capitals, during an ordinary pushing match in front of the Washington goal decides to quickly shed his gloves and break Sidney Crosby’s jaw, so be it, as long as that player says “…it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation.” Write that dude out a warning slip. On with the game.

It’s yet another embarrassment to the game we all love, another example of the fumbling mismanagement that has marred Bettman’s entire, endless tenure at the helm of the NHL.

The only good news is that Scott Walker will be within easy reach of any number of Boston Bruins who, should the opportunity present itself, will likely serve the chap the sort of justice he deserves. Something tells me that there won’t be much of that grey area this time either, Scotty. You’re going to know you’re in an altercation this time.

And Bettman? Rock on, dude. Another gold star for your report card, brother. Keep up the good work.

Asshole.

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