Marchand off the hook for Kulikov hit

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
Brad Marchand (Getty Images)

Boston Bruins left winger Brad Marchand has avoided supplementary discipline for a hit on Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Comcast SportNet New England’s Joe Haggerty reports that Marchand will not be suspended after being assessed a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct with 2:06 remaining in Boston’s 3-1 win on Friday.

Kulikov left the game and reportedly sustained a broken nose on the play. However, he is expected to play Saturday when the Panthers host the Washington Capitals. He has three assists in 10 games this season.

Marchand scored twice in the victory against Florida, giving him four goals and seven points in as many games this season.

The 5-foot-9, 181-pound winger has been suspended twice over his seven-year NHL career. He was banned five games for clipping Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo in 2011-12. He also sat our two games for slew-footing New York Rangers center Derick Brassard last season.

Was Shawn Horcoff’s hit on Vladimir Tarasenko clean?

Matt Larkin
Horcoff Tarasenko

How many more injuries to star players can the St. Louis Blues take if they want to remain competitive in the cutthroat Central Division?

Patrik Berglund’s shoulder surgery has him out until the New Year. Young gun Robby Fabbri is concussed. Paul Stastny broke his foot. Jaden Schwartz broke his ankle.

And yet, none of those significant injuries holds a candle to the potential dagger the Blues were dealt Thursday night.

In the second period of St. Louis’ home tilt with Anaheim, checking center Shawn Horcoff collided with the Blues’ prized asset, the $7.5-million dollar man: Vladimir Tarasenko. Gulp. The scariest part about the blow is that the impact got Tarasenko high, near the head, and low, knee on knee, all at once.

Thanks to GIF dynamo Stephanie Vail, we have multiple angles of the hit. Here’s one:

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Stars’ Jason Demers suspended two games for elbowing Penguins’ Nick Bonino

Jared Clinton
Jason Demers elbow on Nick Bonino (via Streamable)

The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Dallas Stars blueliner Jason Demers two games for his elbowing major on Pittsburgh Penguins center Nick Bonino.

Demers’ elbow on Bonino occurred late in Thursday’s contest between the Stars and Penguins. With the Stars up 4-1 over the Penguins in the third period, Bonino came towards Demers, who was chasing a loose puck into the corner following an empty-net attempt. As Bonino came near, Demers lunged backwards with his body and caught Bonino in the face with an elbow: Read more

Zac Rinaldo should not be suspended for being Zac Rinaldo

Ken Campbell
Zac Rinaldo's hit on Sean Couturier (via Streamable)

The easy and convenient thing to do with a guy like Zac Rinaldo when he gets ejected for a questionable hit is to that assume that since he’s a goon – and let’s not kid ourselves on that description – he’s guilty of a transgression (again) and will have the book tossed at him by the NHL.

Rinaldo kind of makes it easy. He’s been suspended for a total of 14 games over his career, the most recent coming just 10 months ago when he picked up an eight-game sentence for hunting down Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and applying a predatorial hit when Letang was completely vulnerable. And as a vocal proponent of guys of Rinaldo’s ilk being removed from the game as soon as possible, your trusty correspondent has no problem seeing those kinds of guys pay dearly for the carnage they inflict.

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Long suspensions, not fighting, will put players like Raffi Torres in their place

Ken Campbell
Raffi Torres (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

Make no mistake, the NHL created the Raffi Torres who drilled his shoulder into Jakob Silfverberg’s head over the weekend. It created this player by continually slapping him on the wrist for being the kind of predatorial player he became. It created this player by enveloping itself in a culture of violence and hate, and justified his behavior with ridiculous “hitting zones” and encouraged it with its “finishing his check” mentality.

In that respect, it definitely has blood on its hands here. The league’s department of player safety is being lauded, as it should, for handing down a 41-game suspension to Torres for his most recent transgression. It was a long time coming and few would have complained if it had even been more. Torres will lose the right to play the game he loves for half a season and will miss out on almost $441,000 in salary. (Shockingly, even though this is the fifth suspension of Torres’ career, he’s not considered a repeat offender.) It’s a steep price to pay to be sure, and maybe, just maybe, Torres will get the message this time.

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Why suspending Raffi Torres 41 games was the right decision

Matt Larkin
Raffi Torres (Getty Images).

We had a feeling Raffi Torres wouldn’t play hockey again for a long, long time the minute Jakob Silfverberg fell to the ice Saturday night.

Torres had every conceivable strike against him. He’d run up a significant tab of suspensions in recent seasons. He got 25 games, appealed down to 21, for a devastating head shot that knocked Marian Hossa out of the 2011-12 post-season. Torres also earned a rest-of-playoffs ban for a head shot on Jarret Stoll in 2012-13. So Torres was in trouble the second he caught Silfverberg with a questionable hit Oct. 3. If the league deemed the play suspendable, Torres’ history of repeatedly violating one particular rule – 48.1, illegal check to the head – would greatly expand his sentence length.

But did anyone expect 41 games? Half a season? It’s a staggering punishment – and a staggeringly strong decision by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

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