This article is part of our Blue Line Buzz series.
Hits and suspensions have dominated much of the discussion early in the NHL season through various hockey media outlets and it seems that dissecting hits is a nightly segment for NHL's On the Fly. Unfortunately, dirty hits and other reprehensible on-ice incidents are the only occasions where the mainstream sports media lowers itself to discuss hockey, railing against the violence of the NHL in between the segments that essentially are police blotters for the NFL and NBA.
In these nascent weeks of the season, NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan has shed much needed light on the process of how a player comes to be suspended, as his predecessor, Colin Campbell, disclosed slightly less than jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial. Shanahan's videos posted on NHL.com have given fans and players alike a more clear explanation of what is acceptable and what isn't, along with other criteria used in deciding a suspension length, such as past transgressions and the injury sustained. These details are usually presented in a tidy and informative power-point like fashion.
One of the more discussed suspensions of the last week was levied to Pittsburgh's Kris Letang for a check on Winnipeg's Alex Burmistrov this past Monday. Burmistrov was hit into the boards by the blue line in the defensive zone, turned as Letang was approaching him and braced for the hit. The Pittsburgh broadcasting team did not feel it was a check worthy of a suspension and there is some argument to be made.