At maybe the worst possible time of the season, the Chilliwack Bruins find themselves without the services of captain Brandon Manning.
The 20-year-old was suspended seven games for a hit on Kamloops Blazer D-man Austin Madaisky, and that is the subject of this week’s column by Bruins radio colour man Jacob Bestebroer.
Manning was given a seven game suspension on Wednesday for a play in last Friday’s game that left Madaisky with a fractured C-7 vertebrae. Madaisky is expected to make a full recovery but will not play again this season.
Now, the debate begins.
Too much, or too little?
If you haven’t seen the hit, I encourage you to watch it on Youtube.com (search Manning suspension) because explaining it in words is difficult. The wrong word at any point in the explanation could easily imply guilt on one of the two parties involved and that wouldn’t be fair.
Here’s an admittedly simple version of the play.
Manning dumped the puck into the Blazers zone and continued in on the forecheck.
Madaisky headed for the corner as well.
The two made contact right around the goal line as they headed into the corner. Madaisky spun around awkwardly and hit the boards upright back first.
On any play like this the order of concern is obviously first for the condition of the player who is hurt. Then you move on to what (if any) the penalty should be.
Madaisky stayed down for a few minutes before heading to the dressing room. The severity of the injury was not discovered till the next day.
The penalty to Manning was a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.
As with all non-fighting majors, the league reviews to decide if further punishment is deserved.
That took five days.
Was the contact between the two players before they reached the general area of the puck against the rules?
Possibly, but we see it all the time. Ironically, it happened on the very first shift of the next game.
You could make the argument that no contact between players should be allowed in a situation like this until one player has possession of the puck. Agreed, but again, we see it happen without any penalty called all the time.
Of course, thankfully these plays usually do not end like this one did.
Was it a hit from behind? Definitely not. Was there intent to injure? Absolutely not. Was the severity of the injury factored in? I don’t know.
Some people think Manning got off easy. Some think he was dealt with too harshly. My wish is that with every suspension of three or more games the league would issue a statement explaining the process that led to determining the length of suspension.
Unfortunately that is not the case so we are left to form opinions without all the needed information.