note-once again this is NOT the view of the Coventry Blaze. Just me.
So, Brad Leeb’s ban has been ruled upon by the EIHL.
And, unsurprisingly, it’s once again caused an outpouring of wailing and gnashing of teeth in Sheffield.
The Blaze forward has been banned for three games by the EIHL for his sucker-punch on Jason Hewitt on Saturday. Ryan Finnerty said yesterday in the Star article that he “expected” a three game ban, and a mandatory three game ban is the tariff from the EIHL disciplinary committee. The ban, as is consistent with EIHL policy, will take immediate effect. Also consistent with EIHL policy, the “match penalty” served by Leeb missing Sunday’s game with Sheffield the day after the incident will count towards the ban.
This means that the Blaze forward will have missed Sunday v Sheffield, tomorrow’s game against Cardiff at the Skydome and Blaze’s trip to Dundee on Saturday. Which makes three games.
Ah, but wait. It seems that actually what’s happened is, once again, us mere mortals have been fooled and only Dave Simms, that great hockey mind, has realised.
He tweeted today:
The ban for Brad Leeb isnt 3 games at all – it’s 1 (one) game. Next time you get a player suspended arrange a couple of exhibition games.
Right. So not only does Simmsey claim to know more about hockey than everyone else, he also appears to have invented a new counting system where three actually equals one. The man’s a genius.
Let’s get this straight once again. Leeb deserved a ban for his sucker punch. And was given one.
But, for those who are hard of counting, let’s also get this straight. The ban comes into immediate effect from the offence and covers the NEXT THREE GAMES. It doesn’t say “next three league games”, “next three games on alternate Sundays” or “next three games that the team against whom the offence was committed pick”. That’s the way it’s always been under EIHL policy.
(The EIHL policy, by the way, that Dave Simms attends the meetings to make).
What Simmsey is basically saying is “exhibition games aren’t a thing, and can’t count towards bans”.
Except under EIHL policy of “bans under immediate effect”, they do. So basically what’s going on here is the town of Sheffield stamping its feet and going “The nasty man did a nasty thing to us we want to decide his punishment too!”. If they’re not careful the River Don will flood through all the saltwater being put into it.
Funny how they didn’t think of this loophole before it happened, given that their tone is all “The EIHL are wrong and Coventry are taking advantage of the system!”.
No, they’re not. Blaze will still not be icing Brad Leeb for three games. The fact that two of those games are exhibition games are because THEY’RE THE ONES FOLLOWING THE OFFENCE, not because of any nefarious plan from the Elite League. The status of the game is, in the eyes of the EIHL disciplinary committee, irrelevant. As it always has been.
Now, whether or not the system needs changing is another question, and a valid debate to be had. But Simms doesn’t actually say that-just criticises the effect it has in this particular instance.
Presumably, Simmsey would be equally outraged if Jason Hewitt had been banned for his part in the Leeb melée (or the check on Chalmers) and served his match penalties during the exhibition game Sheffield had on Sunday.
In fact, I’m sure such an arbiter of fair play would have been STRAIGHT on the phone to Simon Kirkham going “hang on, we don’t think exhibition games should count in bans so what we’ll do is play Hewy for the exhibition v a Coventry side missing three imports, but leave him out for our first league game against a very tough full-strength Cardiff Devils side out of the goodness of our hearts. That way we lose one of our key Brits for the start of the season and we’re properly punished.”
In fact, I can’t work out the Steelers’ logic for trying to change the system all of a su…oh, wait. If exhibition games don’t count as they wish, then the third and final game of Leeb’s ban would have involved Coventry being without one of their most dangerous offensive threats against…Sheffield.
But I’m sure that that advantage NEVER entered into the thinking of Mr. Simms at all. After all, he’s a completely impartial arbiter of fair play in the Elite League whose comments on social media today are motivated purely by a desire to see fair play throughout the league.
And if you believe that, then I’ve got a bridge in New York you might be interested in.