Blog Entry

Rene Bourque gets two games for boarding Seabrook

Posted on: December 19, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:49 pm
 

By Brian Stubits

Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque was suspended two games by Brendan Shanahan on Monday for his boarding of Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook on Sunday night.

The hit came in the opening period of the game when Seabrook got stalled a little bit by the referee, losing the puck on the ref's skates. A moment later he was heading face first into the boards as a result of a Bourque check. Bourque was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit.

Seabrook left the game and didn't return, although the Blackhawks said it was more precautionary (we also heard that with Marc Staal and Sidney Crosby at points this season, so keep your fingers crossed, Chicago).

As is the case with most every suspension, the problem here is that Bourque delivers the hit squarely from behind, staring right at Seabrook's number. Every player in the NHL has to know by now that that is as good as a big red X -- don't hit!

One of the questionable parts about this hit was the role that Seabrook losing the puck in the referee's skates played. Shanahan explained why that didn't impact the decision.

"Seabrook loses control of the puck and then his stick makes contact with the skate of the referee," Shanahan said. "However, neither cause him to significantly turn his body immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit from Bourque. Despite the fact that Seabrook is looking back and to his right, Bourque continues his pursuit and finishes Seabrook high and forcefully from behind, driving Seabrook's head into the boards.

"Although losing the puck in the referee's feet may cause Seabrook to look back and might eventually cause him to turn, contact is made before he does. Seabrook is neither falling nor turning to any degree to absolve Bourque of responsibility."

Last night I had originally said that my call would be for no suspension as bad as the hit might have looked. Well I must have been tired because looking at the slow-motion replays, it does look pretty bad. I was sort of taking it for granted that Seabrook had turned back for the puck already, but as Shanny points out, he really hadn't turned yet.

Fair ruling?

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Comments

Since: Dec 20, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Rene Bourque gets two games for boarding Seabrook

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Since: Aug 4, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 7:13 pm
 

Rene Bourque gets two games for boarding Seabrook

It's a fair ruling insofar as players with no prior disciplinary history receive the benefit of the doubt.  However, at some point Shanahan and the NHL should be comfortable that there has been enough precedent to justify harsher discipline, even for those who have not been summoned before the tribunal in the past.  This was about as dangerous as a hit can be considering the distance Seabrook was from the boards - he easily could have sustained a much more severe injury.


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