Pictured above is the result of stupidity. Not a sudden rage, but pre-meditated stupidity. Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals lined Flyers forward Brayden Schenn up in his sites and steamrolled him into a boards that'd make a 12 year old playing NHL 14 proud:
There's no room for that in the game. None. Wilson'll probably get a lengthy suspension, especially since Schenn didn't know his own name afterwards.
And also, last night, Kyle Quincey decided to take out his frustrations on Ryan Getzlaf by ramming his face into the boards:
Thank goodness Getzlaf seems to be relatively all right, all things considered. If you asked him who the president of the US is, chances are good that he wouldn't respond "Four."
Both Wilson and Quincey got game misconducts and didn't return. Getzlaf came back and finished the game, Schenn headed off to the dark room. There is no way that both players don't get a call from Brendan Shananan, and it should be for an in-person interview at the very least for Wilson who went above and beyond the call of boarding.
In minor hockey, and in peewee/mite hockey leagues, there's a tiny stop sign on the back of the jerseys to remind players not to hit someone when their numbers are facing you. Shall we expand that to the NHL? Maybe a yield sign at the the very least?
I'm pretty sure that a friendly reminder to not try to break people won't make any difference. Unfortunately, as long as there are boards in the sport you're going to get hits like Quincey's. Someone who lines another player up in their sites and knocks them into the next decade isn't going to be deterred by the thought of a long suspension. You serve it, you come back, whatever. Will they be deterred by the threat of answering for their actions in a fight?
Someone asked me last night on Twitter when players'll realize that someone could get killed. They'll realize it when someone does.
The speed of the game, the employ of people with less than stellar judgment, and people who do not have a degree in geometry and physics guarantees that this is going to continue. We can hand wring all we want to, and we should – but this problem is not going to go away unless boards are made of Styrofoam and players are wrapped in bubble wrap. The most the NHL can do is mete out decent discipline and keep their fingers crossed that it'll soak in at least for one person.
I hate to be a fatalist, but just like there are those kids who continue to play in traffic despite knowing full and well what the dangers are, players are going to do stupid things regardless of what the consequences are.