Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu, who plays an abrasive style of game, also approves of the suspensions but adds a caveat.
"My thing is that it has to be fair for everybody," he said. "If the bar is set where it is, it should be every player — whether it's a star or a plugger. As long as it's fair I have no problem (with stiff suspensions)."
But Ruutu's point is, in my opinion, the most important one voiced here, and really can't been said enough. Until the league will suspend stars, and even just 'good' players, in these kind of incidents, the crackdown means diddly. This is a league with a long, long history of soft punishments, but you only need to look back to Gary Suter's ridiculous crosscheck on Paul Kariya in 1998 — and the resultant four-game suspension — to see one instance where a Jesse Boulerice-like faux pas was met with a very different ban.
Sure, we've evolved since then, and stick-to-head incidents could even be (thankfully) deemed 'rare' these days. But four games?
Even during last year's playoffs, we saw one of the league's stars, Chris Pronger, suspended twice (!) for two separate one-game stints. Both dangerous plays that, when weighed against the sort of suspensions dealt to Steve Downie and Boulerice, weren't penalized nearly enough.
It's really only a matter of time before a big name gets caught.