What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

NHL draft prospect’s Josh Ho-Sang’s OHL suspension handled curiously

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Ho-Sang is ranked No. 22 by NHL Central Scouting Service (OHL Images)

The Ontario Hockey League, generally doesn't have a double standard for suspending players for crossing the line on the ice, contrary to what is often stated by "the OHL hates [insert team here]" crowd. One could put together a formidable lineup with players who have received a stiff suspension for a check to the head or another type of dangerous, reckless play. The who's-who from the past two seasons includes marquee NHL first-round picks Sean Monahan, Max Domi, Scott Laughton and Robby Fabbri.

Star status typically has not, nor should it be a factor with supplemental discipline. One might think, then, it would follow when the league, following "further consideration of the incident," decides the suitably chastened player has learned his lesson. This week, two days after the end of the Memorial Cup of course, the OHL did the right thing by reducing Windsor Spitfires star Josh Ho-Sang suspension for a shove that caused London's Zach Bell to break his right fibula from 15 games to six. It was the right call, but it could have interesting consequences for the league, if not for players whose NHL draft stock is not so high.

One should keep in mind that Ho-Sang had a couple of aces of up his sleeves. One is that his agent, Ian Pulver, in Spitfires coach Bob Boughner's phrasing, "stuck his neck out" to take up the appeal. (Under OHL rules, a player's team can only appeal a ban of 20 games or more.) The second, as Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir noted, was the scuttlebutt "that Ho-Sang might play in Europe next season to avoid losing a quarter of a key developmental season." The playing-in-Europe talk sounded like an obvious smokescreen; the Spitfires would have had to provide a release for that to occur.

That is all well and good, but what about the players that don't have similar blessings? Ho-Sang, after his 85-point sophomore season that put him in range to be a first or second-rounder in the NHL draft, is a high priority client for his agency.

Many other players in the OHL, especially those who are 19 or 20 and deemed to no longer be showing high NHL potential, aren't as high on their advisers' speed dials. Who advocates for the 19-year-old who plays on the third line, or the player who's too young to have become an asset to a NHL organization?

One convenience sample here is Ottawa 67's defenceman Troy Henley. The 17-year-old, who is not in his NHL draft season and not in position to take his talents to Europe, was suspended indefinitely for a match penalty during a game on March 11. The OHL website still lists his suspension as "TBA." Henley is also headed into a key developmental season where he's trying to get drafted.

One cannot prove those were factors; it's just that the league should be conscious of the optics.

Commissioner David Branch told the Windsor Star, "It’s not the first time we’ve been asked to reconsider and I suspect it may not be the last." Credit the OHL for realizing the initial 15-game ban was over the top; don't get too hung up on how that elicited great media hue and cry and then it was quietly reduced two days after the season ended.

The OHL got this right eventually. May it do right by all the players when it comes to giving leniency on suspensions.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

View Comments (3)
  • Bayern boss says rejected 'very high' Mueller offer

    Bayern boss says rejected 'very high' Mueller offer

    (Reuters) - Bayern Munich rejected a "very high" offer for versatile attacking midfielder Thomas Mueller this summer, president of the German club Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said. The 25-year-old Mueller, who worked with Manchester United manager … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Hamilton fastest as Mercedes dominate at Monza

    Hamilton fastest as Mercedes dominate at Monza

    By Alan Baldwin MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton set the pace in first practice for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday with Mercedes team mate and closest rival Nico Rosberg nearly half a second slower. The Briton, … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Mercedes dominates opening Italian GP practice; Vettel spins

    Mercedes dominates opening Italian GP practice; Vettel spins

    MONZA, Italy (AP) -- Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated the opening practice session for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday, while Sebastian Vettel spun out at low speed after setting the third-fastest time in his Ferrari. … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Debuchy mulled Arsenal exit after losing place to Bellerin

    Debuchy mulled Arsenal exit after losing place to Bellerin

    Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy has said he considered leaving the Gunners after losing his place in their starting line-up to Spaniard Hector Bellerin, French sports daily L'Equipe reported. Arsene Wenger signed the France international for a … More »

    Reuters - 41 minutes ago
  • NYPD: Teacher arrested for allegedly flying drone at US Open

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City teacher has been arrested for allegedly crashing a drone into an empty section of seats at the U.S Open. … More »

    AP - Sports - 46 minutes ago