Tag:NHL Player Discipline
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Sabres' Myers avoids suspension for hit on Zubrus

By Brian Stubits

Welcome back to the ice, Tyler Myers.

The Buffalo Sabres defenseman who was struggling so much to start this season that he was a healthy scratch two games ago apparently received the message. In Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Devils, Myers had without question his best offensive performance of the season with two of Buffalo's three goals.

He also put his name on the list of debatable hits with a shot on Dainius Zubrus.

Every hit that is questionable is scrutinized now, that's the climate of the NHL under Brendan Shanahan's rule. So this is today's debatable hit: suspension or not?

The answer is no. After reviewing the hit, Shanahan elected no further discipline was needed on Myers, according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York.

After review, the NHL's Department of Player Safety determined that while Zubrus' head was the principal point of contact, it was not targeted. The disciplinary team, led by Brendan Shanahan, felt Myers attempted a full body-check but caught Zubrus while he was reaching low to play the puck.

Shanahan still plans on calling Myers to explain his decision since the call was considered borderline.
Consider, too, that Myers is not in the repeat offender category. That weighs in Shanahan's decisions, as does the fact that Zubrus was not injured as a result of the hit, just a little shaken. Thus, we end at the result of no discipline.

"I didn't like the look of it," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "It looked to me like one of the head shots they are trying to get out of the game."

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff saw it differently.

"If you want to play physical, and the guy's stretched out and bent over, sometimes bad things can happen," he said.

More NHL Discipline News Here

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 5:20 pm
 

Blues' Chris Stewart suspended three games

By Brian Stubits

Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues was suspended three games for his boarding hit on Niklas Kronwall in Tuesday night's 2-1 Blues win.

Here is the video from Brendan Shanahan explaining the decision.

When the hit was made, everybody immediately jumped to the question of how many games? There didn't seem to be much if on the suspension question, just how much. Now we have our answer.

In Shanahan's explanation he notes the primary fact that Stewart saw Kronwall's number for some time before delivering the hit. Heading into the boards with a player on his back, Shanny said it was his belief that Kronwall was defenseless and it was then on Stewart to avoid or at least minimize the hit. Instead, he shoved Kronwall, resulting in a dangerous-looking colision with the wall.

"It's a situation that we accept and we move on with," Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "But I just want to be 100 percent crystal clear that our support for the type of player Stewart is hasn't wavered. He's a very honest, hard player. This is a hockey play that went awry."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock defended his player, explaining that Stewart was anticipating a reverse check from Kronwall on the play and that there was no intent for him to injure Kronwall. That's not how the sherriff saw it.

In an interesting twist, Kronwall actually took blame for the hit from Stewart. According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free-Press, Kronwall absolved Stewart of blame on the play.

"I think it was more of an accidental thing than anything," Kronwall said after practice this afternoon at HP Pavilion. "I think everyone knows that he is not that kind of player. He is an honest, hardworking guy.

"I put myself a little bit in a bad spot. I think he was anticipating me doing something else. But it was bad, absolutely."

The other big points that Shanahan has taken into consideration in the past -- i.e. whether or not an injury resulted from the hit and any past record of the offender -- weren't even met in this case. Kronwall was OK after the hit and Stewart has nothing to speak of in his past to qualify him as a repeat offender. Yet he still received three games.

Imagine if Stewart did have any priors on his resume or if Kronwall were hit from the check. We could have been looking at more than five games for this same act. The call for three games is right where I thought it'd be. It was a bad hit from start to finish and not even a clean record was going to save Stewart here.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 7:08 pm
 

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

By Brian Stubits

The weekend got worse for the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday when GM Darcy Regier told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News that his top goaltender, Ryan Miller, suffered a concussion in the team's 6-2 loss to the Bruins on Saturday night.

The play has already been discussed plenty. Miller went to the open ice to play a puck and took a big hit from Milan Lucic.

Miller remained in the game but was removed after the second period. Harrington reports Miller is feeling better the day after the hit.

The next question in this equation is if Lucic will be suspended. That's what the Sabres are looking for. There has been a lot of discussion on this call, whether or not Lucic even did anything wrong. But according to the letter of the law, goaltenders are not "fair game" when outside of the crease. Lucic was not in the right to hit Miller.

UPDATE: Lucic will have a hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Monday at 1 ET according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Again, here is what Rule 69.4 has to say specifically.

69.4 Contact Outside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent.

"If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury," Regier said sternly to Harrington. "And not just injury, but concussion. ... When I look at the position of goaltending. in a lot of ways it's not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished.

"The last thing we need to do in the NHL is to be losing our Stars to concussions on plays like this."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas gave his opinion on the matter on Sunday, from Jimmy Murphy at ESPN Boston:

"Basically from my perspective, I was just trying to, after that happened, make sure that I was on my toes. I didn’t know if there would be a kind of retribution hit. That’s kind of the old school way. That’s really all I’ve got to say about it. I will say that as a goalie, you’re not even prepared for people to hit you in a situation like that. You’ve been trained over the course of your whole career that you’re not going to get hit in situations like that. So it must have taken him by surprise."

That sounds about as sympathetic as Thomas can be for his fellow goalie while still toeing the party, or in this case team, line.

I wouldn't be surprised if Lucic does face some discipline for the hit. Whether you like the rule or not, that's what it says, that a goalie is not fair game and the fact that Lucic followed through high increases the chances of further penalty. And you know Shanahan will consider the fact that Miller was concussed on the play too.

It's worth noting that another goalie this season have already sustained concussions. Rick DiPietro was out for a very short time before returning to his place in the three-headed goalie monster for the Islanders. James Reimer of the Ducks was also hit high to the head by an opponent and has been out since mid-October with what the team is calling "concussion-like symptoms" but refuses to call a concussion.

The Sabres will recall Drew MacIntyre to fill in while Miller is out. Luckily for Buffalo, Jhonas Enroth has played very well this season as Miller's backup, getting a lot of action with Miller's recent struggles.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Wild's Johnson won't be punished for head-butt

By Brian Stubits

Minnesota Wild forward Nick Johnson will not face any more discipline following his head-butt of Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla during a fight on Tuesday night. This according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The reaction by most was "What head-butt?" Well Iginla surely noticed one as during the scrap he began calling the official's attention to the perceived dirty move.

In case you missed it (the incident itself, not the head-butt, a lot of people watched and still missed that) here is the video again.

“I disagree with the call,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said after the game. “Jarome Iginla starts the thing, and then he calls it. He tells everybody on the ice that he head-butted him. All I saw was a guy trying to protect himself.”

Johnson was given a game misconduct after the fight.

“I just felt I got head-butted," Iginla said. "I haven't had that very often in a fight. I thought the refs made the right call and that was pretty much the end of it. You get fired up in a fight, and I felt like he got me a couple of times there in the head.”

This was the right call by Brendan Shanahan, and probably the easiest call he has had to make since taking over from Colin Campbell. I can see the head-butt, but it looks like a pure accident. Johnson is bobbing and weaving trying to avoid the fists of Iggy during a fight. In no way does that appear intentional. Unless maybe you live in Calgary.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 6:35 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 7:52 pm
 

Kings' Moreau fined for hit, sounds off on system

By Brian Stubits

Los Angeles Kings forward Ethan Moreau was called for boarding over the weekend when he hit Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unlike a lot of the boarding calls we've seen this season, it didn't result in a suspension for Moreau, but he was still fined. The NHL hit him with a $2,500 penalty, the largest a player can receive under the current CBA.

The hit happened about midway through the first period of the Penguins' 3-2 shootout victory in Los Angeles. Here is the play.

Clearly boarding, but it doesn't seem like a particularly vicious hit. Couple that with the fact that Moreau really doesn't have a history to speak of and you see why there is no suspension forthcoming.

Moreau will take the penalty in stride, but he first wanted to share his feelings on the matter. And share he did. Here is what he told Rich Hammond of LAKingsInsider.com.

"I've noticed a big difference in the last couple years, especially with D-men going back to get pucks," Moreau said Monday. "I think they just show their back to you now, and they're off the hook. It would be better if they just squared up to the hit, took the hit and moved on. I don't think protecting yourself by putting yourself in a vulnerable position is the way to play. I can't imagine. I would never do that, but it seems like it's almost something that's acceptable now.

"There has to be some repercussion, there has to be some penalty, either for embellishing on a questionable hit or not protecting yourself. What happened with me, it looks bad, I admit it. It looks like it is a penalty, but players definitely embellish it."

Moreau didn't call out Kunitz personally, but Moreau clearly didn't think his punishment fit the crime.

"I definitely hit him from behind, but it wasn't excessive," Moreau said. "I was just trying to finish my hit and it happened so fast. He's looking for the puck and I'm just trying to knock him off the puck. He's a strong guy. It didn't seem like he braced (for the hit). He went down pretty easy. He was out for that shift.

"So I understand their philosophy, and what they're trying to crack down on, but it's difficult. It's a really difficult read. My job is to play physical, and if you pass up every questionable position on the ice, you're not going to be very physical."

Moreau certainly is not the first player to share these feelings. He grows an increasingly louder chorus of critics on players intentionally trying to draw these penalties. This will remain an issue as long as the boarding penalties are under such a microscope.

And while Moreau does not call out Kunitz, it sure seems that's where this rant was born, out of the frustration from this particular play. It should be noted that for a very similar play, Kunitz's teammate Kris Letang was actually suspended earlier this season for being the deliverer, not the recipient of such a hit. Letang, however, had a background that wasn't pristine like Moreau's.

I still can't quite comprehend how players can view an extra couple of minutes of power play time in a regular-season game can be worth rising serious injury by putting their self in harm's way. Now the falling down a little easier part that Moreau brings up, that's understandable. We all know that diving, while not as prevalent as it is in soccer, is present in our beloved sport of hockey.

Personally, I'm wondering what happened to just a regular old boarding call? It hardly seems to exist anymore. This one seems rather mundane, certainly no worse than this play from Marco Sturm of the Panthers on Jordan Leopold of the Sabres, a play that resulted in no supplementary discipline from the NHL.

So I pose two questions to you: First, did the punishment fit the crime in this case? Second, does the NHL have a chronic problem here or is this just frustration from the offending players?

More NHL Discipline News Here

Video: The Score

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com