The CHL has suspended Rio Grande Valley's Aaron Boogard six games for punching Robert Keith: Click here.
That's right -- six games.
I don't care if Keith is a blogger, reporter, fan, whatever you want to consider him, this type of stuff cannot be tolerated. I don't care if Keith was mouthing off or not. Players have to be smarter than this. When you consider the various setups of arenas around the league, as well as the different ideas of professionalism in various cities, this easily could have been a nearby fan, off-ice official, statistician, trainer, mascot or peanut vendor.
What kind of precedent does this send? Don't worry about clocking someone; it'll cost you two weeks of game time.
So a coach disrobing is worse? Brad MacMillan going after a player in a preseason game is more than three times worse?
Leagues like the CHL make a big deal about being "family friendly." If that's the case, then when unfortunate incidents like this come up, you scream to the rafters: "This will not be tolerated." You do that by coming down hard with a suspension. You send out a huge press release and explain that your players will be held accountable for actions on and off the ice. You don't give out six games, which, by the way, is only two more than Nick Boucher of the Komets got for coming the length of the ice to get at a defenseless Brian Mahoney-Wilson on Friday.
So, basically, on the same day that Boucher's suspension was handed out -- a suspension most people believe was just -- the CHL said that hitting a guy not actually employed by the league is only marginally worse than hitting a guy that signed on to get hit.
Again, I know the guy was mouthing off. And I know the Killer Bees allegedly informed the on-ice officials that there was situation brewing, and they didn't do anything. But what if Keith got injured? What if he's in the hospital? Yeah, I know, there are a lot of what ifs, but that's the point. You crack down on these things so people don't think about doing them again.
- OK, in other news, here's today's story on the Komets.