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Why Embach shouldn't be suspended

OK, I've thought long and hard about the Mike Embach incident in the 2-1 double overtime victory by the Komets on Sunday. I think the appropriate call was made -- a major for clipping -- and I don't think further discipline is warranted from the league.

You can see the hit here: Click here.

Embach came from a long distance, with a lot of speed, and hit the knee. It could be a catastrophic injury. If it were a regular-season game, I don't think people would have blinked had it been a major.

When the call was made, it seemed harsh, because it was a tied playoff game, late in regulation. A major penalty at that point is, in all likelihood, going to decide the game. And it could have, if you take it to its extreme, decided the series by giving Reading a victory and the next two games at home.

The punishment for the Komets within the confines of the game was severe: They lost one of their best players for two overtimes and some of regulation, and had to play two men short because Sy Nutkevitch had already gone down with an injury.

This is where me and league disciplinarians -- in this case, Joe Ernst, who was at the game -- don't usually see eye to eye.

He will sit down today and decide if further discipline is warranted in the form of a fine or a suspension that will carry on into the next series. I believe you have to consider the punishment the Komets endured within the game, which, again, was pretty severe. While I'm not naive to the fact the Kevin Walrod was injured, to make Embach sit in the next series on top of already having the Komets play a considerable amount of time without him against Reading, well, that would seem too much. The right call was made on the ice; I'd leave it at that.

That being said, I do see the other side. If a Reading player hit Embach like that, Fort Wayne fans would be saying that guy should be suspended, even if it's not until they begin play again -- next season. Seriously, if this had been Les Reaney on Colin Chaulk, you'd be yelling for a suspension.

But I'd like to think I'm objective on the issue. If Embach had only sat for a couple minutes, maybe I'd feel differently. But given time already served, I don't think Ernst should dole out anything more than a fine.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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