I’m torn on this one. I don’t have a horse in the race in Florida or Vancouver, or Matheson (a former Boston College Eagle) or the NHL’s shiny new showcase piece in Elias Pettersson. So my feelings on this have nothing to do with playing favorites.
Watching the play at the time, and even in hindsight, I didn’t think it was actually anything suspendable. Yes, I thought it was stupid. Yes, I thought it was unnecessary. But I figured Matheson would just get tossed from the game and we’d move on from it. Pettersson had played with Matheson like a cat plays with a mouse before it kills it and Matheson didn’t enjoy the experience too much so he took out his frustration on the unsuspecting Swede.
But if there was going to be a suspension, which there was, I think 2 games makes the most sense. It’s one of those “don’t be stupid to players we want to promote, especially ones that have recently arrived on the scene in hot fashion” suspensions. Normally, if Pettersson had been a ho-hum rookie the first few weeks, I’m not sure Matheson gets more than a game. Obviously if there is no injury to Pettersson there probably is no suspension at all.
I get why the league did it. It’s what the league is now and there is nothing wrong with the suspension. Hopefully players learn from it going forward. Like, if you’re going to choke slam some one at least do it smart. Slam them through a table instead. It breaks the fall, minimizes injury, helps keep the head elevated:
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