It’s reasonable to expect that a suspension given for an on-ice crime that was committed more than 20 years ago would be a lot different than one of a similar nature in today’s game. And that was certainly the case when Milan Lucic of the Los Angeles Kings was sentenced for his gratuitous punch to the head of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton, but not in the way you’d think.
Lucic served one measly, meaningless and inconsequential game for slashing and drilling an unsuspecting opponent in the head with a sucker punch and forfeited 0.1 percent of his salary this season. It was literally the least the NHL could do. Yes, Connauton slashed Lucic across the wrists and made a boo-boo, for which he was penalized two minutes for slashing. Which players such like Lucic seem to think should be just cause for losing your mind and taking matters into your own hands.
Anyone who prefers on-ice justice to the official, league-mandated kind of justice can rejoice at what happened Monday night between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers.
On Jan. 10 Oilers left winger Matt Hendricks caught the Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad with a hit from behind. Ekblad returned to the game but wound up in concussion protocol and was forced out of the lineup the following night. He hasn’t played since, though he’s expected to return later this week.
Hendricks earned a three-game suspension for the hit but returned just in time for his Oilers to face the Panthers again Monday. It didn’t take a genius to know what was coming, though it was hardly the Claude Lemieux treatment for Hendricks, who stood tall. Rugged Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson, all 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds of him, challenged the six-foot, 207-pound Hendricks. Fists flew just 4:16 into the game. Check it out:
The past week hasn’t been kind to New Jersey Devils winger Jordin Tootoo.
During Tuesday’s fracas with St. Louis, Tootoo suffered an injury when fighting with Blues tough guy Ryan Reaves that will keep him out of Thursday’s game. On top of the injury, though, Tootoo also learned Thursday that he’s been hit with a $2,000 fine for diving.
Tootoo’s second citation for diving came following a Jan. 4 game against the Detroit Red Wings. When skating into the Red Wings zone, Tootoo came into contact with Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who gave Tootoo a slight shove in the side. Tootoo went sprawling to the ice, but neither player was whistled on the play: Read more
New Jersey Devils left winger Bobby Farnham is a smart guy. He went to an Ivy League school after all, where he studied Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship, whatever the heck that is.
So Farnham will conceivably learn something over the next four games, for which he’ll have a seat in the press box instead of on the ice with the New Jersey Devils. What earned him his four-game vacation was his “violent and predatory hit to the defenseless Dmitrij Jaskin,” (the NHL’s words) in the Devils 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night.
And what Farnham will learn is what the NHL just might be trying to teach its players after all these years – that it’s simply not acceptable to respond to clean hits by losing your mind. When people complain that there’s not enough hitting in the NHL these days, part of it might be because every time a player hits an opponent with a clean check, for some reason it has been ingrained in players’ minds that there absolutely has to be some sort of retribution meted out. Read more
It doesn’t matter how piping hot the Florida Panthers are. Losing their Clydesdale sophomore defenseman, Aaron Ekblad, is a devastating blow. He was scratched from the Cats’ lineup Monday night with an upper-body injury entering their game against the Vancouver Canucks.
A night earlier, Ekblad took this massive hit from behind from the Edmonton Oilers’ Matt Hendricks. Another look, if you haven’t seen it:
Hurricanes winger Brad Malone has had trouble finding a big role in Carolina’s lineup, but he may not have much of a choice whether or not he suits up for the next couple of games after he dropped Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno with a high hit.
With the Hurricanes leading 2-1 in the third period, Foligno took a stretch pass from Seth Jones and cut across the blueline before putting a pass towards the slot area. As Foligno made the pass, Malone caught Foligno with a high hit that left the Blue Jackets captain down on the ice: Read more
One night after receiving just a minor penalty for drilling an unsuspecting opponent headfirst into the boards, Roman Polak of the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t lucky when he did the same thing Wednesday night.
Polak took a major penalty and game misconduct, and possible supplemental discipline, when he hit Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period of Wednesday night’s game. The funny thing is, the hit that earned him a minor penalty the night before for a hit on Mike Santorelli of the Anaheim Ducks looked worse than the one that got him kicked out against the Kings.
Canucks winger Jannik Hansen is the third player to be handed a fine for diving this season as the NHL announced Thursday the 29-year-old has been fined $2,000 for embellishing a call.
The incident in question came during a Dec. 22 game against Tampa Bay when Hansen drew a call when he was run into by Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov while forechecking on a penalty kill. Hansen was trying to slip the check of Nesterov, and instead of driving around him, Hansen instead left his feet in order to sell the call: Read more