Suspend him or suspend him: Vancouver’s Alex Burrows ejected after head shot on Preds’ Paul Gaustad

Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa stands near Preds center Paul Gaustad, who had just been hit by Vancouver's Alex Burrows. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just about every NHL media person working today will tell you it’s easy and often unfair to judge players’ actions from the comforts of the press box or our living rooms. We always have to bear that in mind when we’re talking about supplemental discipline. The game moves faster than any sport not contested on wheels, and there are times when players will seriously injure an opponent with no malice intended.

Then there are NHLers who “just happen” to be involved with an annually-increasing number of borderline dirty incidents in the same way Jason Statham just happens to make essentially the same action movie time and again. Which brings me to Alex Burrows.

The Canucks’ agitator was back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons Tuesday after this blindside hit to the head of Predators center Paul Gaustad got him a five-minute major and an ejection from Vancouver’s game against Nashville: Read more

Suspend him or not: Jets star Dustin Byfuglien cross-checks Rangers’ J.T. Miller in back of the head

Adam Proteau
Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Winnipeg Jets are in the midst of a brutally tough playoff race and need all hands on deck the rest of the way if they’re going to continue playing after mid-April. That’s why the decision of star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to cross-check Rangers center J.T. Miller in the head Tuesday – while Miller was sitting on the ice with his back to him – is so dubious: in essence, Byfuglien is risking suspension on a nothing play, and considering how everyone knows the NHL is more sensitive about headshots, there’s no justification for it.

The play took place in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, and it materialized after Miller was looking to jar the puck loose from Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec and took a couple whacks with his stick at him. He’s unsuccessful in his scoring attempt and Miller falls over into a seated position by himself, but at that point Byfuglien, who hadn’t been anywhere near him, keeps both hands on his stick and drills it into Miller’s head and the back of his neck, pushing his head toward the ice: Read more

Ex-NHLer Andre Deveaux faces criminal charges in Sweden, proving hockey can’t always protect its “protectors”

Adam Proteau
Andre Deveaux as a member of the New York Rangers in November of 2011. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

The news former NHLer Andre Deveaux would face criminal charges in Sweden for a blind-side, stick-swinging attack on an opponent prior to a playoff game last week isn’t entirely unexpected. Once video of the incident surfaced, there were bound to be severe repercussions for the 31-year-old, and it’s looking like being released from his contract (as he was Monday) will be the least of Deveaux’s concerns.

The day after his release from Swedish League team Rogle BK, Deveaux had a warrant issued for his arrest, the TT news agency reported. Swedish prosecutors saw what we all saw – Deveaux inexplicably charging VIK Vasteras HK player Per Helmersson as his back was turned in warmups, winding up with his stick, swinging it baseball-style at Helmersson’s ankles, then clubbing him in the head – and decided a hockey punishment wasn’t nearly enough. And they were right. There was no major injury on the play, but what if that massive slash had shattered Helmersson’s ankle and decimated his ability to play at peak form for the rest of his career? In effect, Deveaux was gambling with an opponent’s career – and as it turns out, his own career.

You can argue whatever you like about whether or not Deveaux had been provoked in an earlier playoff game between his team and Helmersson’s, but that is missing the point. This is another cautionary tale, and it’s the one hockey’s fundamentalist old-schoolers don’t like to talk much about: the culture of the game can push you to levels of hyper-aggression you never thought possible, but there’s a Rubicon you can cross – and once you do cross it, the game’s gatekeepers won’t always be there to protect you. Read more

Former NHLer Andre Deveaux goes haywire, attacks opponent in ugly Swedish League incident

Adam Proteau
Andre Deveaux in his brief stint as a New York Ranger in the 2011-12 season. (Mike Stobe/NHL via Getty Images)

Well-traveled center Andre Deveaux played 31 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers from 2008-2012, but he will likely be known from this point on as the man who snapped before a Swedish League game and brutally attacked an opponent with a blind-side attack that included a baseball-type swing of his stick.

Deveaux’s Rogle BK team was set to take on VIK Vasteras HK Thursday in Game 4 of a playoff series that would determine which team would go on to play in Sweden’s top division. But in warmup, Deveaux suddenly went after Vasteras captain Per Helmersson from behind, slashing him viciously in the leg, and then taking another clubbing swing at Helmersson’s head before he tackled him and pushed him to the ice: (video via Reddit user kaugesaar) Read more

Suspend him or not: Kings’ Toffoli boards Canucks’ Burrows

Jared Clinton
Tyler Toffoli

For the first time in his young career, Tyler Toffoli may be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety.

During Saturday afternoon’s game between the Kings and Canucks, Toffoli sent Vancouver Canucks winger Alex Burrows head first into the boards with a crosscheck to the back. Burrows stayed down on the ice for several moments before being helped from the ice.

You can see the play, which resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct for Toffoli, below: Read more

P.K. Subban hit with $3,000 fine for third diving infraction

Jared Clinton
P.K. Subban (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Fines for diving and embellishment have been dished out to several players this season, but Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has become the first player to be publicly shamed twice under the new anti-embellishment rules. As such, the NHL has hit his wallet for $3,000.

Subban’s third disciplined embellishment comes little more than a month after he was tagged for diving in a contest against the New York Rangers and fined $2,000, the first punishable amount under the guidelines outlined by Rule 64.

The $3,000 dive came in a March 12 contest against the Ottawa Senators after Subban got tangled up with Erik Condra. Condra’s stick got caught in Subban’s midsection and he fell to the ice. There was no call on the play, and Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan nearly went the other way to score. You can see the incident below: Read more

Nazem Kadri suspended four games for head hit on Matt Fraser

Jared Clinton
Nazem Kadri (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

Three games after Nazem Kadri got back into the Maple Leafs’ lineup following a three-game disciplinary benching, he’ll be back on the sidelines after receiving a four-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

The suspension comes two days after Kadri caught Edmonton Oilers winger Matt Fraser in the head with a blindside check to the head. Fraser, who stayed down following the hit, had to be helped from the ice and did not return to the game. While Fraser has not been officially sidelined, he has been undergoing concussion protocol and may be forced to miss time.

Sitting for four games will mean Kadri will have played in only seven of the Maple Leafs final 11 games of the season, and will have missed seven of their last 16 outings in 2014-15. Read more

Suspend him or not: Andrew Shaw headbutts Brock Nelson

Jared Clinton
Andrew Shaw (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw might be watching a few games from the sidelines after a headbutt to the face of New York Islanders sophomore center Brock Nelson.

Little more than five minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s game between the Blackhawks and Islanders, Shaw and Nelson tangled up along the boards and remained engaged for a few seconds after the puck had left the area. That’s when Shaw caught Nelson in the face with the top of his helmet. As Shaw skated away, the referee blew the play dead and Shaw was escorted to the penalty box: Read more