They are not the same. Actually, they have nothing, really, in common.
Different players. Different games. Different actions, one actually part of the play, one after the whistle.
Other than the fact James Wisniewski and Niklas Hjalmarsson are both NHL defencemen, and neither a star, the crime/misdemeanor each committed during Columbus Day matinee games on Monday have nothing in common.
Still, it will be fascinating to see which player gets a bigger punishment.
Does the NHL value class or safety more? Does is despise vulgarity more, or actions which put other players in unnecessary physical danger?
Will one action deserve only a slap on the wrist, or both? Will Colin Campbell decide enough is enough and hammer both Wisnewski and Hjalmarsson?
Only Campbell knows, and as he awakes this morning, he probably doesn't know, either.
After 20 years of seeing various nefarious misdeeds on the rink, I can't tell you with any honesty what will transpire in either case.
Hjalmarsson executed a dangerous hit-from-behind on Buffalo's Jason Pominville that was certainly suspendable, but falls short in terms of sheer recklessness of Matt Cooke's skull-crusher on Marc Savard, which of course drew no punishment at all.
Wisniewski, meanwhile, pretended to be engaging in a specific sexual act in the Islanders game against the Rangers, ostensibly to taunt Sean Avery, although it's unclear why Wisniewski thought he would get under Avery's skin by his actions.
At any rate, have never seen anything quite so vulgar and blatant on the ice, although perhaps years of lip-reading has desensitized me to the way in which NHL players choose to disrespect one another in the heat of the moment. The vile hand gesture most comparable to Wisniewski's would be the old standard, throat slashing, for which Nick Boynton was suspended a game last month. Not sure whether a gesture that suggests murder is worse than one that depicts an act not permitted in public, but I'm sure Campbell and Gary Bettman have an opinion on this one.
At any rate, while the actions of Wisniewski and Hjalmarsson shared no common ground, they happened on the same afternoon of the same day and will thus be dealt with by the league at about the same time.
Which means the punishment will be compared, just as if you had an assault case up before a judge on the same morning as an arson suspect.
In this case, it will be an intriguing look into the mind of the NHL, an expression of what the league values most.