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PLAYER SAFETY DIRECTOR RAY WHITNEY MAKES INTERESTING STATEMENT ON HOW SUSPENSIONS ARE DETERMINED

Feb 21, 2021 à 16h33      TIM TUCKER
A lot has been said about the NHL's Department of Player Safety over the last couple of seasons. Inconsistency seems to be the key complaint from fans when it comes to how suspensions are handed out. Two incidents that appear very similar in nature can receive completely different rulings from the Department, including one resulting in a suspension and the other nothing at all.

After retiring in 2014 following a career that included more than 1300 regular season NHL games, Ray Whitney accepted the position of Director of Player Safety with DoPS, helping to determine which plays are dirty and clean and which deserve a suspension. The Department is run by former enforcer George Parros, who has stated he brought Whitney on board because of his clean play and impeccable record during his career. Whitney recently did an interview with Ryan Larkin of The Hockey News to discuss his position. A statement he made during that interview has some fans scratching their heads.

Whitney was talking about reviewing plays to determine which ones are worthy of a suspension. Here's what he had to say:
"A lot of times, and more often than not, I put the onus on the guys getting contact and getting hit, strictly because, when I played the game, I played half my career in the trenches, in the hook and hold '90s with the fighting and the meanness."

"...I really take pride in putting the onus on skill players to be able to take contact and be prepared for contact, to expect to be hit.
The odd thing about this statement is that the league has said repeatedly that the onus is on the hitter to ensure they are delivering a clean hit. Whether a player has their head down or not, if a hit to the head is intentional and/or could have been avoided in any way, it is supposed to be a suspendable play. Also, it's impossible for a player to be ready to take contact he doesn't see coming, unless he spends each shift constantly bracing himself for a hit. It is certainly interesting to read Whitney, who has a major role in determining suspensions, say that he puts the onus on the person being hit to ensure they are expecting to get one. The statement was not well received by many.











I get Whitney's perspective. However, it seems like a complete contradiction to the way fans were told suspensions are determined. I'm sure Whitney wasn't attempting to say that players should take the blame for a dirty hit but, quite frankly, I can see how some would take it that way.

Should the onus be on the person being hit to expect to take contact?
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