Tag:Player Discipline
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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Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: November 3, 2011 3:57 pm

Sabres' Kaleta given four-game ban for head-butt

By Brian Stubits

Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres was suspended four games by Brendan Shanahan on Thursday for head-butting. The play in question came on Wednesday night early in the first period when Kaleta hit Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek.

As has become standard procedure, Shanahan released a video explaining his decision in detail.

While using the term head-butt is certainly applicable, I'd like to describe it more as a battering ram. With a scrum on the boards about five minutes into the game, it appears as if Kaleta just became impatient. He doesn't have time to wait for the puck to be jarred free. So he essentially powers his head straight into Voracek's face.

The video clearly shows ... Shanahan notes that Kaleta has been penalized for thinking he was a torpedo before. One of the big contributing factors in these suspensions or lack thereof is prior history, and, well, Kaleta has a history.

Also, the new in word from Shanahan is intent. Judging Kaleta's past actions and Kaleta seemingly stepping back and addressing the situation with Voracek before the head-butt led him to conclude this was intentional.

It might seem rather innocuous at first. It was so indiscreet, fans were trying to guess what Kaleta did before the NHL officially announced what the hearing was for. I saw some guess a slashing, another for elbowing. For the vast majority of players, this might get them a stern warning or a one-game suspension/fine. Kaleta isn't in the vast majority.

I feel pretty safe in saying that Kaleta might now be the most hated player in hockey with Matt Cooke having turned a corner. With Shanahan calling for a hearing on the matter, it's only a matter of hours before Kaleta gets his first feel of the Shanahammer.

More NHL Discipline News Here

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 8:03 pm

Wolski, Beauchemin won't face punishment for hits

By Brian Stubits

Wojtek Wolski and Francois Beauchemin? You are safe. Neither player will face further discipline for their hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher respectively over the weekend.

Wolski's hit in question came in Saturday's tilt with the Senators in New York. In the play, Wolski hits Alfredsson high on the play away from the puck and drew a minor penalty for the hit that left Alfredsson down on the ice.

Alfredsson missed Sunday night's game against the Maple Leafs because of the hit.

So what was the reasoning the league isn't acting further on the hit? Here's the explanation from Kevin Allen at USA Today: "The league view on the Wolski hit was that Wolski was bracing for impact when Alfredsson skated into him."

Plays like this one not getting more discipline will likely only confuse people as to what is and is not a bad hit. The line seemed to be coming into clarity, but this will only blur it once again. This seemed like a textbook suspension hit at first glance.

The Beauchemin hit on Fisher is much easier to see as not being worthy of discipline.

Here is the hit for your digestion.

Here is the reasoning from Allen in Beauchemin's case: "The league's view was that Beauchemin's hit was a full body check with incidental head contact."

Now this one I can agree with. It is a vicious-looking hit, especially with Beauchemin going airborne on the hit. However, the main contact definitely looks to be on the body, not the head.

For his two cents, Beauchemin said after the game he wasn't concerned about a suspension.

“I’m only concerned about his health," Beauchemin said. "I’m just hoping he’s OK because I think that was just a clean hit shoulder to shoulder. Looking at the replay myself, I think his head might have hit the ice when he fell down. And that’s probably how he got hurt.”

Like Alfredsson, Fisher is going to miss some time after taking the blow.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 11:54 am

Shea Weber's hit on Hansen draws hearing with NHL

By Brian Stubits

Nashville Predators star defenseman Shea Weber might be the next player to experience the Shanahammer. He has been called to a hearing in front of Brendan Shanahan regarding his hit on Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. His hearing is set for 2 p.m. on Friday.

At 5:12 of the Preds' 5-1 loss, Weber was sent to the box for boarding Hansen and was also given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play.

Have a look for yourselves.

Weber is not going to have much of a defense on this one. About the only thing going for him is that Hansen wasn't hurt on the play and it didn't seem to be an incredibly violent hit.

With that said, though, it was a lazy play from Weber. The puck passed Hansen by on the boards and is well past him by the time Weber arrives. Moreover, Hansen had his back to Weber for some time before the hit, which was delivered square to the back of the jersey.

I have no doubt Weber will be facing punishment from this hit in the form of a suspension. How long is anybody's guess, but the Predators sure hope not for long. They have a ship to get straightened.

Video courtesy of The Score

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 4:07 pm

Grimson, Nilan respond to Cherry's criticism

By Brian Stubits

Oh, that Don Cherry. It took him all but 20 minutes into the hockey season to get people all riled up. That's not a reference to his Christmas-party Red Green plaid outfit last night.

While sporting the hideous color combination, Grapes went on a rant during Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner segment about the new hitting rules in hockey and took some shots at former fighters like Chris Nilan and Stu Grimson, who he called "turncoats and hypocrites" and "pukes." You can read the whole thing (and see Cherry's outfit) here.

Well neither Grimson nor Nilan were very appreciative. Both took to their defenses, principally stating they never advocated the removal of fighting. First, here was Grimson, who seemingly created a Twitter account just to post this, his first tweet:

Maybe Don forgot ol' Stu is a laywer these days.

Nilan also took to defending himself while also reitterating he has no desire to see fighting removed from the game. In an interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto, Nilan got a bit off his chest in regards to Cherry and fighting.

I was very angry considering I never had any problem with Don Cherry. ... I've always been friends with Don Cherry.

If I have an opinion on something and he doesn't agree with it, to call me a hypocrite and a puke, that's totally uncalled for. I could see if he had an opinion about me and I said the things he insinuated I said ... now at no time have I ever said alcohol and drug addiction is linked to fighting. You won't see it in print. You won't see it on any radio interview I've ever done. You won't see it on any TV interview I've ever done.

As far as a puke for saying I didn't want fighting in the National Hockey League, I never said that. I'll clarify my statemes I made about fighting once again. I believe, they are in a temperance movement. They really don't like fighting and I believe they don't want it in the game. I've said if they don't want it in the game, why don't they just take it out? I never said I wanted it out, I never said I'm against fighting. I said if they're that much against it, if they put the instigator rule, if they put linesmen who get in and try and break up before they start. The linesmen do that because they feel like getting punched in the head today? Or do they do it because the league asked them to because they don't want to see it on TV?

Now if the league does take it out and they realize it effects their bottom line, which is dollars and cents, then how, in God's name, do they put it back in? I never said I don't want fighting in the game. I've always said there is nothing wrong with two guys dropping their gloves and going at it.

Now, do I believe there is something wrong when a guy calls the guy a week before a game and says 'Hey, we're gonna go next Tuesday night?' I think that's total bull[bleep] and it's foolishness. Do I believe a spontaneous fight that happens after an incident in a game where, either one of your players is attacked by someone, or given a cheap shot by someone, or you yourself receive a cheap shot, or someone calls you out for a fight? Do I think there's anything wrong with that? I don't think there's anything wrong with that whatsoever. It's within the rules of the game. I don't think they should take fighting out and I never said it. So what he said about me last night caught me totally of guard and honestly I feel he owes me an apology next on Hockey Night in Canada in Coach's Corner.

Then he was asked by the hosts if he regrets his career as a fighter and enforcer.

Never. Never. I suffer from the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. I never once blamed it on my hockey career. Yes, I had injuries where I ended up having surgeries after my career, more than a few. I did take pain medication that helped get through the pain that I still suffer from on a daily basis. I don't whine about and so, 'Oh, it's because of hockey.' No, I got addicted innocently enough, I took pain killers and I had a problem. I've taken care of it. The National Hockey League helped me and backed me. I take care of that problem every day, on a daily basis. I have never, ever made any statements he alludes to.

This is something hockey fans just can't agree on right now. According to a poll we had on the site over the summer, an overwhelming majority want fighting to stay, and right now it's not endangered. But some are supportive of Cherry's point of view on hitting, others think he's dead wrong. While it gets frustrating, I think this is a great discussion to be having. As long as the dialogue continues, hopefully the desired end can be reached: a game still with hitting and fighting but sans head-shots. Most agree on the destination, but few can agree on which roads to take.

I don't begrudge Cherry's right to share his point of view whatsoever. Hey, CBC gives the man airtime to do just that. He just might want to think a little bit longer before next week's edition of Coach's Corner.

While he's at it, he should rethink that outfit. I don't mind many of his crazy color schemes, but that was just rough on the eyes.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:26 am

Shanahan releases video showing legal hits

By Brian Stubits

So far this preseason, Brendan Shanahan has been like a school principal ... any time he has made a call, you know it's bad news. He had done numerous videos detailing why players were suspended with only one, Ryan Malone of the Lightning, not being suspended and still getting a video breakdown.

But to show it's not all bad, Shanahan made another video, one detailing all the good hits in the NHL the past few weeks. Nothing like some positive reinforcement.

The first half of the video, the hits are very tame. The words love taps came to mind. It was really loading up to give more ammo to the people out there like Mike Milbury, who think the way the game is being called right now "sucks."

But about halfway through the video, the reel stops and returns to Shanahan. He then proceeds to flip a verbal bird at the critics complaining he is taking hitting out of the game. It seems obvious enough that he has heard the cries of opposition and is showing that it is in no way his intention to remove hitting.

From there it's back to the hitting, big hitting.

I have been a fan of nearly everything Shanahan has done in this role, and this is no exception. There has remained some confusion on what has been a legal hit and is no longer legal under the new rules. As people have pointed out, it's a work in progress. So to give players a video showing them what is OK should further help giving players a clear idea what they can and can't do.

This is really as necessary a teaching tool as the videos showing what's not legal. It reminds players that they can still hit, and hit big, they just need to be responsible.

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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