If you haven’t been keeping up with the NHL playoffs, or if you’ve been living underneath a rock, there was an incident that occurred between the Nashville Predators’ captain Shea Weber and Red Wings’ star winger Henrik Zetterberg during game one of the western conference quarter-finals. It was at the end of the game, which the Preds won 3-2, where Zetterberg and Weber battled for a puck in the corner. Zetterberg came up and hit Weber along the boards, which caused Weber to almost punch Zetterberg in the head and grabbing his head and slamming it against the glass. It was a dangerous, violent and unnecessary act by Weber and many on the hockey blogs, Twitter, etc., all believed that Weber was going to get at least a one game suspension. However, that didn’t happen. Weber was given a minor penalty for roughing at the end of the game, which had zero impact on the game itself.
Instead, Weber was fined $2,500 by the league and will play in game two this evening. While most were surprised of the fine, it was mostly noted how insignificant the fine was compared to Weber’s current salary (of $7.5 million). According to Capgeek, the masters of all things when it comes to NHL salaries, the $2,500 fine to Weber was equivalent to fining someone who makes a salary of $50,000 per year a grand total of …. $16. That’s less than a parking ticket. Sure, Weber will be watched with the eyes of a hawk during the rest of the playoffs and if he does have another borderline incident, he might get a suspension. While a lot of heat was directed towards the league’s player safety for not protecting their players, I think there needs to be a discussion about fines levied out. Currently, the most that the NHL collective bargaining agreement allows a player to be fined is $2,500, which Weber received. While the $2,500 might be a bigger percentage to a player only earning $600,000 per year, it’s still less than 0.5% of the players’ salary. There have been few to suggest that the fines should be based on a players’ earnings … if you make more, you should pay more if you partake in an illegal act that the league determines should be worth fining. My suggestion would be to fine a player 0.25% of a players’ starting salary per incident. Using Capgeek’s model, if the 0.25% salary “fine” was used against a salary of $50,000 per year, the fine would be $125 compared to the $16 previously used. This would have made Weber’s fine $18,750 rather than the $2,500 that was levied by the league. Does it “hurt” Weber that much more? Well, no, not really. It does, however, balance out the fines between those players who make $8 million per year and those who make $600k per year. It would hold every player who plays in the NHL more accountable for their actions and hopefully diminish the number of occurrences that are happening in the league.
What do you think of the league’s methods of fines and suspensions? Do you think it’s equally fair across all players and all teams? Leave your comments below! Check us out on Facebook at CardiacCane. Also, be sure to follow Cardiac Cane writers on Twitter at: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @peacelovepuck, @caniaccaz and @caniac176