To suspend or not to suspend

Posted by: adamw
Rick Comley

Rick Comley

There were some swift reactions today to two incidents that everyone was talking about this weekend.

On the one hand, Denver reacted to coach George Gwozdecky’s on-ice tirade and subsequent ejection with a statement that said his behavior was not “condoned.” It took no further action. The WCHA then sent out a statement saying it endorsed the “serious tone” Denver took with its coach. “We appreciate the rapid response the University took in addressing the issue that occurred on January 24 and now consider this matter closed.”

In the other case, Michigan State — and the CCHA to some extent or another — suspended Corey Tropp and Andrew Conboy for the rest of the season for their malicious hit from behind and slash on Michigan’s Steve Kampfer near the end of Saturday’s game. That means 10 games, plus playoffs.

I’m not saying either one was right or wrong, but the difference is interesting.

Denver will get some criticism for not suspending Gwozdecky, the way North Dakota did when coach Dave Hakstol was caught on camera making an obscene gesture at officials. Hey, who hasn’t made obscene gestures at officials — especially the WCHA ones.

But what Gwozdecky did was not going to hurt anyone, so not by any means am I suggesting that what Gwozdecky did warrants a suspension like MSU’s. It’s just … interesting.

On the other hand, no one is really going to argue much with Comley’s decision to suspend his players. But taking a contrarian position — while not defending the play by any stretch — it is a very lengthy suspension when compared against other similar plays. Those things happen frequently, and it was just plain stupid. But as Comley said, it wasn’t pre-meditated. It doesn’t make it right — so please don’t anyone think I’m defending it … it just seems like a lot of games for something like that.

However, let’s say this: kudos to Rick Comley for showing yet again he is a man of integrity and of his word. He has always been quick to discipline his own players swiftly, and not deal kindly with “problem childs.”

I would say the MSU suspensi0ns are more about Comley sending a message to his own team, and keeping control, than it is about the “correct” punishment for the crime.

Which again, is fine. Neither way was right or wrong. It’s an inexact science.

Ironically, Gwozdecky has always been the type of coach similarly respected for doling out quick punishment to his players. He famously suspended Lukas Dora for the 2004 NCAA final, although that’s only the most well-known episode.

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