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Jake Dotchin suspended: Is it enough?

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What is egregious abuse of players going for in the AHL, these days — wow, that little.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Dotchin of the Syracuse Crunch has been suspended for three games for his dirty hit behind the play on Frederik Gauthier of the Toronto Marlies.

With Syracuse leading two games to none, Dotchin will miss Games 3 and 4 of the teams’ North Division Finals playoff series tonight (May 9) and Wednesday (May 10), as well as either Game 5 of the series on Saturday (May 13) or Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

We know a leg gets you less than a head. But the extenuating circumstances here are interesting. And infuriating. When Dan Kelly hit Andreas Johnsson last year, Johnsson had the puck and was the focus of the play:

Gauthier was out of camera range by the time Dotchin stapled him to the boards and put him out of action for six months. The play was moving up ice already. That’s not a perfectly legal hit that you made dirty with a chicken wing. That’s running a guy. That’s running a guy who was playing very well in the game you blasted him out of.

I’m not a Gauthier fan. And everybody and their Uncle Bob is spinning this as something keeping back a real sure thing of a prospect:

Here’s the thing. I don’t care. I don’t care if Dotchin had decided to take out the pluggiest plugger that ever plugged. I don’t care if the guy was the worst player on the team, and I don’t care if he was some AHLer no one had ever given a cute nickname to. It doesn’t matter.

The hit was filthy.

The hit was weird too. I get that Gauthier was really playing well, and I called him the best guy on the Marlies a few minutes before it happened. But, that’s not a compliment to the rest of the team. They were getting the pants beat off them. Their pants, their suspenders, their underarmour, their shoulder pads...they were bad.

So when you’re winning 6-2, and you run a guy, what the hell are you doing? You aren’t all upset, which seems to be the excuse that gets trotted out. Oh, look at me, my emotions are too much for me to handle, so it’s okay I killed that guy.

It wasn’t a hockey play; it wasn’t merely late; it was so far away from the play as to be absurd, and it wasn’t all about the losing. It was intent to injure. Intently.

So what the hell is this timid suspension? The AHL is a timid league that is more worried about their image or their owners or their NHL overlords—something anyway—than their players. This is a timid response. And in hockey, you know what looking timid gets you?


Maybe the issue here is not Gauthier’s imaginary future career in the NHL, maybe it’s the perps. Maybe because Dotchin played well on the Tampa Bay Lightning, he gets a timid suspension. Maybe because the Crunch are a top team, roaring through the playoffs in a market area where other teams are folding (Albany) or changing affiliates (Binghamton), maybe the timid response is out of fear of the repercussions if they take a key player out of the playoffs for too long.

Maybe they should think about the repercussions if NHL teams get antsy about putting their prospects in this so-called development league.

We’ll find out what the rest of the Marlies think of this tonight as they face the Crunch at home.

What do you think? How close to enough is 3 games for this hit?


How far from fair is Dotchin’s three games?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    About six month’s worth of games.
    (274 votes)
  • 5%
    At least they’re playoff games.
    (39 votes)
  • 50%
    He needs to be out for the rest of the playoffs.
    (376 votes)
  • 7%
    Forget him, fine the team, only money talks.
    (55 votes)
744 votes total Vote Now