Zack Kassian, Dale Weise to receive disciplinary hearings

Word broke out of Toronto today that NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will conduct hearings with Canucks forwards Dale Weise and Zack Kassian for naughty conduct versus the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Weise was penalized two minutes for an illegal check to the head on Taylor Hall, while Kassian should probably have the book thrown at him—he wildly swung his stick around after missing a check and broke Sam Gagner’s jaw.

The Kassian infraction is above, if you missed it. Worth noting, his hearing will be in-person. Per Article 18.9 of the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with its Players Association, an in-person hearing is required for a suspension of six or more games.

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Note that the in-person hearing doesn’t carry a guaranteed suspension. Thomas Drance doesn’t think the precedent is there for a lengthy suspension, considering Shanahan’s record in that category:

That suspension belongs to Pierre-Marc Bouchard. As the videos show, there aren’t too many similarities between Bouchard’s and Kassian’s hits, other than they both involved a stick:

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Matt Calvert, the victim, didn’t miss a game, while Sam Gagner is out with a broken jaw. Shanahan often factors in injuries when making a decision on a suspension, so Kassian is going to need a slick tongue to get himself off. Regardless of intent, Kassian is responsible for his stick, although the NHL does have an odd provision in Rule 60.1, High-Sticking, that allows for contact with an opponent in the course of normal game flow:

However, a player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion, or accidental contact on the opposing center who is bent over during the course of a face-off. A wild swing at a bouncing puck would not be considered a normal windup or follow through and any contact to an opponent above the height of the shoulders shall be penalized accordingly.

I don’t think there’s a case to be made that Kassian’s stick would be considered a “normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion”. Kassian has no NHL disciplinary record, but he has been suspended by the American Hockey League, the International Ice Hockey Federation, and the Ontario Hockey League in the past.

If you want to get the blood boiling, read Oilers blogger and Canuck fan-favourite Tyler Dellow on the Kassian incident, comparing it to the slash former Oiler Marty McSorley delivered to Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear once upon a time: 

Unlike Gryba and Torres, Kassian has no defence that he was trying to perform a legal act and botched it. He was swinging his stick dangerously. Taylor Hall was quoted as saying “When your stick is flailing around like that, it’s your fault” but with all due respect to Hall, that wasn’t a stick flailing incident. It was a stick swinging incident. A stick flailing incident is where you don’t have control of your stick and you accidentally catch a guy, like if you’re trying to lift a stick and miss. Legal plays gone wrong. You don’t tend to hear about broken jaws or bones after those.

This was a stick swinging incident. That’s an important distinction. Kassian committed an illegal play in a reckless fashion and broke Gagner’s jaw. The NHL should have absolutely zero tolerance for that. If I ran the league, that’s the sort of stuff that would draw the huge suspensions. This is the sort of stuff that you can get out of the game by absolutely crucifying people who transgress, unlike with legal plays gone wrong.

I can see an argument for a long suspension, and I can see an argument for a short one. It may all be worth it—if the Oilers heed the advice of Journal columnist John MacKinnon and run with an extra heavyweight in their forward corps. Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish both appear to have a little bit more sense than that. There may be a bit of retribution against Kassian when he gets his first game against the Oilers this season, but probably little beyond that.

As for Dale Weise, who really cares how long he’s out for?

  • beloch

    Were I Shannahan, I’d throw the book at Kassian. He plays the pest game and has a history of suspensions in other leagues. It’d be doing him a favor to shake him up and give him some press-box time to develop some discipline. The fact that he busted a guys jaw in a zero-stakes preseason game also has to be considered. What might he do in game seven of the cup finals if he’s given a slap on the wrist today? He’s an embarrassment to the sport waiting to happen if nothing is done.

  • KleptoKlown

    With the Pierre-Marc Bouchard video, Shanahan only took Bouchard’s NHL history into consideration. Whatever happened in other leagues is out of the NHL’s control, and a player (Kassian) cannot logically be called a repeat offender.

    That being said Kassian is responsible for his stick and should get a 3-4 game suspension.

    As far as “Oiler retribution” goes, I’m sure Kassian will man up and face any Oiler challenger…and then we will all laugh as Ben Eager heads to the dressing room holding his bloody face.

    Weise took on (and out) Mike Brown last night after the Hall hit. Kassian will do the same.

  • acg5151

    It looked accidental to me. It looked like he wanted to avoid slamming front first into the boards and when he swung around he didn’t control his stick good enough and thwacked the guy. Too bad for the Oilers – pretty much kills their hopes at the playoffs.

    Too bad for Kassian. Looks like he’s going to get shanabanned. I don’t agree with it but whatever.

  • KleptoKlown

    Because there is no precedent for a long suspension it stands to reason that as per normal Shanaban will give a Canuck an extended suspension for no particular reason.

  • KleptoKlown

    Unbelievable.,.,,, Kassian has the best opportunity of his career and this is what happens. I for one was hoping that his knucklehead days were behind him, but it doesn’t seem like they are. Kid needs to smarten up. You are always responsible for your stick and it sucks for Gagne to have his jaw broken in ore-season

  • Big Cap

    @ KleptoKlown – If you think the Oilers are gonna even the score with Kassian, then your dead wrong.

    Tell the Twins to be ready, and to have their Heads on a swivel.

    See you October 5th.

    • Big Cap

      Not sure what you’re getting at here…

      Anyway, here’s one for ya. How many Oilers fans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. They all talk about how good the old one was.

    • KleptoKlown

      I never said the cOilers are going even the score with Kassian, I said Eager will try, and leave with another brain bruise compliments of Kassian’s left fist. So the the cOilers have Macintyre again…oooh scary. Sucks for Sesito, because there is no way Torts will have the Sedin’s on the ice with that plug.

      Eager had great success taking the twins out thus far. Look how great of a job he did while in San Jose.

      You may be threatening the Sedin’s, but don’t forget Hall and Eberle will have the exact same targets on them. Maybe this time Weise will give Hall the Clutterbuck treatment instead of elbow.

      I hope the cOilers get into a physical game with the Canucks, I could use a laugh watching that.

      • Peachy

        It’s crap like this that gives any team’s fans a bad name.

        Hall’s a fantastic player. Were anyone to take him out, hockey, as a sport, would be worse for it. (Yes, Hall has had moments of reckless play that may have bordered on intent to injure in his young career. No, it doesn’t mean that he’s therefore a fair target.)

        • KleptoKlown

          I guess the Sedin’s are useless plugs and it’s acceptable to have them as targets…

          You have cOiler fans screaming for the Sedin’s to be laid out in the hospital, and you say my crap gives fan bases a bad name? Get your head out of your ass.

          If the cOilers want to play that sort of game, they will lose points and battles to the Canucks every time. The Canucks will need all the points they can get in the re-aligned divisions, and an Oilers team with useless goons like Macintyre/Eager/Brown focused on revenge should be easy pickings for points.

          • Peachy

            Oilers fans are embarrassing themselves. Exhibit A, Gkpoil. Cool. His vitriol is disgusting, misogynistic and implies that he suffers from mental illness and / or has difficulty interacting with the world on a daily basis. But he’s an Oilers fan. I couldn’t care less about their reputation.

            It’d just be kinda nice if Canucks fans were better. Imagine?

            Totally agree with you regarding a Mac/Eager/Brown line. I hope the Oilers ice a line like that in every single game this year and play them 10 minutes a night. Or “skate” Mac on a line with Hall and Eberle for their protection, neutering their talents because they’re stuck playing effectively short-handed.

          • Gkpoil

            Please enlighten me as to how my posts reflect hatred toward women?

            Did that riot a few years back cause you to become delusional?

            A canuck fan talking about oiler fans embarrassing themselves? That’s priceless.

            Why are the canucks the most hated team in the league? Hint: most of it comes from canuck fans.
            But you keep telling yourself it’s because the canucks are so good and we’re all jealous….. Just remember in the last decade the oil have made just as close the the cup as your ‘superior’ canucks have.

          • KleptoKlown

            “Please enlighten me as to how my posts reflect hatred toward women?”

            See Mike Milbury.

            And to be fair, the hate towards the Canucks is about to turn into apathy…

      • Gkpoil

        1. Torts won’t have a choice if Smack is out against the sisters during road games (home team gets last change)

        2. You take about tageting Hall and Eberle IF Smack goons one of your stars? Your team already sent a goon squad out (in the preseason no less) to target our stars.

        Payback is a bitch and hopefully Kesler and a Sister realize that soon

        • KleptoKlown

          1. Sedins take a majority of O-Zone faceoffs. Having Macintyre out against the Sedin’s in Edmonton’s end? I’ll take that all day every day. I should have been clearer. If a game turns to gooning like the one on Oct 5th appears to be, then you’ll see the Sedin’s sitting on the bench a bit more often, but through the course of a competitive game? Sedin’s will rack up the points with Macintyre as there competition.

          2. Kassian, Weise and Alberts are hardly goons. Kassian looks to start the season on the 1st line, so he has skill. His physical tools are only part of his game. Weise is a 4th liner. He has speed on his side, and scored a bunch in a European league during the lockout. I’m not saying Weise is talented, but he is a serviceable 4th liner, and does more than just fight. Alberts is the teams 7th or 8th dman. He is reliable in his own end. He’s more than a puncher. Macintyre’s job is to fight, and that’s it. He’s the real goon here.

  • Big Cap

    Dumb dumb dumb play by Kassian. Regardless of intent (which it clearly wasn’t) that was reckless, undisciplined and made him look like an idiot (you miss a check by three feet so you swing your stick around wildly?). He’ll get 5 games I’m guessing. It’s too bad that so much of the discipline gets tied to effect — Kessel probably won’t get more than 2 games for tomahawking Scott and then lamely spearing him (though Scott shouldn’t even be in the league and the idea of going after Kessel because Devane jumped the Sabres little guy is idiotic too) while Clarkson sits for his brainfart of jumping off the bench and not even going after Scott. Kessel’s was so clearly an attempt to injure but he’s going to get so much less than either Clarkson or Kassian.

  • BrudnySeaby

    I bet Kassian (careless but not intentional) gets more games than Kessel, who was most definitely using his stick as a weapon with intent. Just another example of the league hating on the Canucks.

    • Peachy

      It would seem like it, but the league has proven that injuries are a strong determining factor in suspensions. Kessel won’t get much because John Scott can still play hockey, or whatever it’s called when he’s on the ice trying to skate.

      (For the record, suspending based on injury is stupid; suspending based on the nature of the infraction is a much better way to mete out justice. And I generally agree that the Canucks have gotten a raw deal from the NHL when it comes to suspensions.)

  • BrudnySeaby

    Some of the garbage some people spill on here is unbelievable.

    I hope there was no intent on Kassian’s behalf because that would be garbage also. And then some. It was a dangerous play through reckless stick handling (or lack thereof).

    Regardless of the fact whether or not he get’s suspended by the NHL, I wish the Canucks would take a pro-active stand on this and ban him internally. Teach him a lesson and show him he cannot behave on the ice like that.

    Why always look to the league for disciplinary behaviour!?

    If you really want to clean up some of the dirty garbage in the game of hockey, set an example yourself.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Moreover, I hope someone really gets to work with Kassian and teaches him how to hit properly. Last season you could see that he is uncomfortable throwing hits. It’s almost as if he is a gentle soul in a hulking body, asked to do things (be physical) that his soul cannot get itself to do. And hence his reluctance and awkwardness in throwing hits. Which in turn results in mistimed hits (and injuries).