Blog Entry

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

Posted on: October 9, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 8:22 pm

By Brian Stubits

Pierre-Marc Bouchard is the latest to be served a suspension from Brendan Shanahan, getting a two-game ban for his high stick last night against Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert. Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported it and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune confirmed.

Here's a description of the infraction from Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch.

Calvert lost at least a couple of teeth and needed stitches to close a cut on the left side of his upper lip, but he was able to return to the game in the third period.

The Blue Jackets were outraged that Bouchard was able to finish the game. They wanted a major penalty and a game misconduct, and coach Scott Arniel was quite animated in his argument on the bench. Instead, Bouchard was given a double-minor, the standard call when a high-stick results in bloodshed.

Shanahan released the explanation video, describing the decision.

Columbus coach Scott Arniel was less than pleased about it after the game.

"It's definitely an attempt to injure Arniel said. "Our whole bench saw it. Their whole bench saw it.

"We want to talk about getting hit from behind and shots to the head, but we allow a guy to stay in the game after taking a baseball swing at a guy's face? That's a joke."

You might remember during the preseason the Wild and Blue Jackets had a testy affair. That game saw Brad Staubitz of the Wild receive a suspension for a hit from behind and a later play from Columbus' James Wisniewski led to a heavy eight-game regular-season suspension. I'd say these teams are building up some bad blood.

But after watching the video, I do wonder: As the announcer points out, did Calvert almost hit himself in the face with Bouchard's stick? Notice the two are jostling back and forth when Calvert lifts Bouchard's stick and it seems like he shoots it right into his own face. You are responsible for your own stick, so the penalty in the game is justified still, but should he have received further punishment?

“It was just a bad accident. It was just a battle there on the faceoff," Bouchard said earlier on Sunday. "He comes after me before the puck drops and we go at it. He lifts my stick and it hits him in the mouth. I’m not that kind of player. I was not aiming for his mouth.”

I have to say, this is the first of the suspensions that I really disagree with. Obviously it is subjective, but it really looks like an accident to me. It sure seems Calvert unintentionally lifts Bouchard's stick into his own face to me. Even Shanahan admits to that being the situation. But as always, he is ultimately responsible for where his stick goes and no matter if Bouchard intended to hit him in the hands or not. I just can't see this suspension being the right call. The penalty he took in the game and maybe a supplemental fine would have sufficed.

Apparently Bouchard's agent Allan Walsh feels the same way. Here's part of a scathing email he sent to Russo about the whole situation.

"What message is Brendan Shanahan sending with this unwarranted suspension? All perennial Lady Byng candidates should now be on notice that when an opponent high sticks himself in the mouth, he can expect a minimum suspension of 2 regular season NHL games. This result is a shameful farce for the League.

"All in all, these 20 minute disciplinary hearings are nothing more than kangaroo courts. More League effort goes into writing scripts and producing slick video's than in getting to the real facts of what occurred on the ice. It's an inherent conflict of interest for an employee of the NHL to be conducting these hearings and imposing suspensions on players. It's time for a neutral 3rd party not associated with the league or the players to take over supplementary discipline as this system clearly does not work."

Wow. There has been some criticism already, but this is easily the most scathing. Now the discussion is really on.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:50 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:42 pm

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

If you honestly thought he was aiming for his head you either need glasses or are just a hater.  Yes, he tried to slash him back, but even Shanahan said that Calvert diverted PMB's stick into his own face.  He tried to slash his hands plain and simple.  It was an accident and the 4 minutes he got should have been it. 

Since: Feb 16, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:27 pm

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

I love the game of hockey and am exited it is working itself back to the homes of Americans (after being almsot impossible to watch after the lockout), but hockey is going to quickly take a step back with all these videos and suspensions. The Wisnewski 8 games is a joke, as a lot of these suspesnsions are. I tired of the headlines every morning being about who else was suspended in the NHL and what video Shanahan put out. I respect Shanahan and thought he would do a great job in this role, being a former player familiar with the recent adaptions to the game (having retired not very long ago). But to look to suspend someone every night is becoming old already, and we haven't even been playing real games for a week yet..... 

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:36 am

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

wow, and wisniewski gets the rest of the preseason and 8 regular season games for a hit that didnt even hurt cal clutterbuck.  This was clearly done on purpose, he was aiming for his face, with a "weapon".

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:16 am

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

worst part about this Shanaham video is that he ends it with "from now on, he will be considered a repeat offender"  

Since: Dec 2, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 8:49 am

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

I have to say he was reckless with his stick and a fine would probably be in line with the infraction. The thing that is so sad is that while I watched many games this weekend there was VIRTUALLY no hitting in any of these games. The player's almost seem to feel they cant check without the risk of a suspension. I understand Brendan Shanahan is trying to make a point with this but where does it stop. I watch the NHL not only for the skill of the player's who play but also the PHYSICAL aspect also.

MEMO to Gare Bettman..PLEASE stop BRENDAN SHANAHAN before he RUINS the game of hockey...sincerely your FAN"S..

Since: Jun 23, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:38 am

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

Its time to put these ARROGANT PRICKS that think there bigger than the game in a fucking BOX! P.S IF I ever catch a ref that is paid off in any sport its over for them!!  And i'm not talking about the players. Love the players good or bad.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:55 pm

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

PMB was dangerous and reckless with the stick.   2 games is too much though, raise the amount of allowed fines and hit him with that instead of 2 games, because of the player and the circumstances.    Plenty of worse stick play than this, just bad results with this one..   I guess we're seeing a shift to the punishment trying to match the injury.   Confuusing stuff.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:17 pm

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

Shanahan is turning the NHL into a wussy league.   These are grown men out there who understand the risks of playing the game. Unless it is obviously done on purpose, incidental injuries or contact should not deem suspensions.  A 4 minute double minor was sufficient enough...As for the Blue Jackets and their coach demanding a game misconduct.  Grow up, grow a pair, stop relying on a panzy such as Carter to lead you anywhere and Man up and plays some damn hockey the way it was should be!!!!!!!

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:12 pm

Wild's Bouchard banned 2 games, agent rips system

Wow you have to be a pretty big homer to deny that pierre hit him on purpose. that being said it is in his genes to slash to the head. because original pierre bouchard swung at bobby clarks head back in the day as well. but bobby probably deserved it.

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