By Dan Bernstein– senior columnist

(CBS) Nobody deserves to be punished for contracting an illness, like what is happening to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

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The guy gets sick, is prescribed rest and then is suspended by the NHL for a regular-season game because now he can’t play in the stupid All-Star Game. I understand that the league wants to avoid the embarrassment of last-minute no-shows, with players claiming to be under the weather in an effort to carve out a little personal downtime, but this isn’t that.

The team doctor, Michael Terry, released a statement confirming that Toews “remains symptomatic” and that “rest over the break is most important.” Players are expected to follow such recommendations.

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Anywhere else in the working world, a note from the doctor is sufficient confirmation that one’s absence isn’t some kind of dodge to avoid responsibility, but indeed medically necessitated.

If the NHL thinks Toews is lying, it should explain why. Otherwise he shouldn’t be penalized for something beyond his control.

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Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Boers and Bernstein Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.