What The Hell Is A Match Penalty? Hockey's Red Card?

DC Sports Nexus ---- Wednesday, April 18, 2012

After Game 3 ended and I was driving home, I heard on the radio (over the sounds of my sobs) that Nick Backstrom was going to be assessed a possible suspension for doing something bad after the game ended.  Now from my seats in the upper upper upper deck, I couldn't see the corner of the ice where the incident took place (never knew some seats had blocked views) and I was very surprised to hear this news.

Then I learned that this suspension was "automatic" because the refs called a "match penalty" on Backy.  What in the HELL is a match penalty?  Did the referees confuse this game with soccer?  Is that an actual hockey thing?  Did this happen ever during the regular season?  Can it happen in the regular season?

After some crack research (googling "match penalty") it appears that this is the equivalent to a red card in soccer.  The player is thrown out of the game.  In the NBA we just call it an ejection.  You get it for horrible offenses like giving wet willies and laughing on the bench.

In hockey however, it is given when you intend to injure someone on purpose.  It also comes with an automatic suspension (i think like a Red Card?)   Laughing on the bench, trying to kill someone.  NBA vs NHL.

Now if that penalty is designed to eject someone from a game, it appears to be a terrible call.  I have seen highlights of at least 10 other plays where the players didn't get ejected OR suspended.  How do you give a "hockey red card" for that?

I can understand a possible suspension, or a review of the play due to the nature of the hit, but the fact that the refs called it the match penalty is insane.  Let the league office review it, don't make a call that is an auto-suspension.  The players are supposed to decide the series, not the refs.

The words "intent to injure" are haunting my thoughts after i watch the replay of Backstrom.  Suspension could possibly make sense (if you look at it as a single incident and don't compare it to the 40 other plays around the league that were worse) but calling it an "intent to injure" is nuts.

Anyways I'm glad the NBA doesn't have automatic suspensions.  Oh wait they do!  For trying to kill someone of course...right?  Nope.  For putting one foot on the court during an altercation if you are on the bench.  Even if you don't move the 2nd step.  Hockey vs Bball...

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