Zac Rinaldo suspended four games for high hit – what was he thinking?

Rory Boylen
Zac Rinaldo

What in the world was Zac Rinaldo thinking?

With a little more than 15 minutes left in the third period of Sunday’s Philadelphia-Buffalo game, and with his Flyers holding a dominating 4-0 lead at the time, Rinaldo decided to launch his shoulder into Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel’s head in open ice. Ruhwedel suffered a concussion on the play.

Rinaldo, who has been suspended once before and fined twice in his NHL career, was ejected with a match penalty on the play and suspended four games on Monday. Read more

Open-and-shut-case: suspend Douglas Murray for hit on Michael Kostka

Matt Larkin
kostka hurt

What a buzzy night for the NHL. We saw Sidney Crosby’s 100th point, a warm, fuzzy game-winning goal by David Clarkson to keep Toronto’s playoff hopes alive, a surprisingly competitive game between the Sabres and Devils…and oh, boy, the Canadiens and Lightning.

The story should be the continuously inspired play of Tampa’s Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson, or Carey Price’s spectacular effort in defeat. Unfortunately, hulking Habs blueliner Douglas Murray did this to Bolts defenseman Michael Kosta:

Eek. Hard to defend this one, and I won’t. Murray takes a good look at Kostka, leaves his feet (better angles around the 1:10 mark), and extends his elbow into Kostka’s chin. Murray was assessed a match penalty for the hit and Tampa Bay scored on the ensuing power play to put the game out of reach. Though Kostka spurned the stretcher, got up and left the ice under his own power afterwards, he will undoubtedly receive concussion tests.

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NHL suspends Dmitry Orlov two games for hit from behind on Brayden Schenn

Rory Boylen
Dmitry Orlov

Brendan Shanahan may have one of the most thankless jobs in hockey, but sometimes he has the easiest one as well.

Take, for instance, Dmitry Orlov’s foolish hit on Brayden Schenn Sunday. The Washington defenseman not only leaped into his check, which is bad enough, but he did it to a defenseless player who had his back completely turned on the play.

A suspension for Orlov was the only decision that could have been made on this play. So on Monday, Shanahan and the league handed down a two-gamer to Orlov. Read more

Dustin Brown hit on Ryan Murray: suspension or not?

Rory Boylen
Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown is known for his intensity. He’s one of the most physically active forwards going, remembered everywhere for his viciously clean hits that can borderline on something worse from time to time. But he’s only been suspended once in his career: a two-game ban last April for a hit on Jason Pominville.

For an NHLer on an opposing team, that’s important information to remember.

Thursday night, Brown’s Kings played host to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Brown was his usual pesky self. But in the middle of the second period, he levelled Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray up the middle. The 20-year-old left the game, but returned later and ended up with only 12:05 of ice time.

You be the judge: suspension or no suspension? Read more

Two dangerous hits last night by Wilson and Quincey: are suspensions looming?

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

I hope Brendan Shanahan didn’t have any Christmas shopping planned for today because he has some movie-watching to do. Sadly, neither of the flicks are very festive; they’re more of the horror variety.

The first involves Kyle Quincey of Detroit, who cross-checked Ducks star Ryan Getzlaf from behind and into the boards last night.

Getzlaf, who required some medical attention but returned to action, said after the game he takes some responsibility for his positioning on the play, but still believes the play was reckless by Quincey.

Quincey, who has a previous one-game suspension on his record, received five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct for the infraction.

In Philadelphia, meantime, Tom Wilson pulled a Pink Floyd on Flyers center Brayden Schenn, launching himself from the dark side of the moon. Schenn, who immediately staggered to his feet after the hit, only to go down again, left the game with an upper-body injury.

Capitals coach Adam Oates told reporters he thought the hit was clean, but Wilson received a five-minute major for charging, a fighting major for his ensuing punch-up, and a game misconduct.

How much coal do you think Shanahan will distribute over these hits, if any?

Revenge, retribution long-standing NHL problems

Ken Campbell

During the Nashville broadcast of the game against San Jose Saturday night, the Predators broadcasters showed each of the four goals Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl scored against the New York Rangers early in the season. After marveling at the skill level Hertl showed on his fourth goal, where he roofed the puck after putting it between his legs, Predators broadcaster Terry Crisp felt he had to give Hertl some valuable advice.

“Let me tell you young man,” Crisp said. “You pull that move too often and somebody’s going to want retribution on you.”

It boggles the mind how the hockey establishment thinks sometimes. Crisp’s comments came just hours after the NHL handed down a 15-game suspension to Shawn Thornton, essentially for taking out his own form of retribution on Brooks Orpik exactly one week earlier.

“This cannot be described as a hockey play that went bad, nor do we consider this a spontaneous reaction to an incident that just occurred,” NHL vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said in his ruling. “It is our view that this was an act of retribution for an incident that occurred earlier in the game, the result of this action by Thornton was a serious injury to Orpik.” Read more

Alex Emelin faces suspension, Brendan Gallagher tackles Steve Mason

Rory Boylen

Montreal defenseman Alex Emelin will likely get a look from Brendan Shanahan Friday after the Russian received a five minute major and a game misconduct for an elbow on Philadelphia’s Steve Downie.

Emelin, one of the more devastating hitters in the league, came barrelling in on Downie, who saw him and tried to avoid the check. By stopping short, Downie unwittingly put himself into a vulnerable position with Emelin already locked on. Whether or not this play warrants a suspension depends on if you see Emelin’s elbow flail out as he comes forward.

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