By Michael Donovan

All of a sudden, the National Hockey League has reverted to goon-like play.

And the question is:

When will the league do something about it?

Until Flyers bad boy Radko Gudas was suspended for the first six games of the NHL regular season for his late, high hit on Bruins prospect Austin Czarnik in a preseason game, the dangerous, reckless play of Gudas, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Tanner Pearson and Andrew Shaw somehow managed to net a total of just three regular-season games in suspensions.

Better yet, why aren’t NHL GMs watching those games and breaking into a cold sweat?

ESPN.com suggests that they should demand at the fall meeting that the department of player safety stop making the league the subject of regular ridicule for its flaccid approach to supplemental discipline for on-ice infractions.

Start with a five-game ban for a first offense on a dangerous hit to the head or boarding from behind and go from there.

The NHL Players’ Association should be in lockstep with the GMs on this, demanding greater suspensions so players can play the game the way it should be played without worrying about morons like Shaw (who is fast becoming the least likable player in the league, especially after his suspension last season for being caught uttering a homophobic slur) potentially ending their career. Not that we’re holding our breath on that one.

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