Tag:NHL Discipline
Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 9:59 pm
 

Raffi Torres suspended 2 games



By: Adam Gretz

Not even a day dominated by the Winter Classic can stop NHL discipline from sneaking into the news.

The NHL announced on Monday evening that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended two games for a charging incident that took place during their 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, not long after he was fined for a hit in his previous game. There was no penalty called on the play, but Brendan Shanahan determined that it was worth him missing the next two games against St. Louis and Los Angeles.

He'll be eligible to return to the lineup on January 7 when the Coyotes host the New York Islanders.

The hit took place midway through the first period when he hit Minnesota's Nate Prosser.

"As the video shows, Torres approaches Prosser just inside the Minnesota blue line as Prosser is making a pass up the ice," said Shanahan. 'Torres is in position to make a clean, full body check. However, rather than drive through his opponents chest or shoulder, Torres rises up and leaves his feet prior to contact, launching himself into Prosser and making significant contact with Prosser's head. While players skates often come off the ice after impact on clean body checks, that is not the case here."

Along with that description, Shanahan also made it known that this was the third game in a row that a hit from Torres has drawn the attention of NHL player safety. Earlier in the week he was fined $2,500 (the maximum fine allowed) for elbowing Colorado's Jan Hejda, a hit that many felt should have resulted in a suspension of its own.

"It is important to note that this is the third game in a row that Torres has gotten the attention of the department of player safety for contact to the head," said Shanahan. "In fact, only hours before the Minnesota game Torres was fined and warned against such actions. In addition, Torres has been fined twice before and was suspended nine months ago for a similar play."

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Raffi Torres fined for elbow on Jan Hejda

By: Adam Gretz

One of the most common complaints about NHL discipline, whether it was under Colin Campbell in previous years or the current leadership of Brendan Shanahan, is the sometimes overwhelming lack of consistency from one incident to another. If you're going to call it one way for one play, make it the same way across the board.

It rarely, if ever, seems to work out that way.

The NHL's disciplinary committee was busy on Saturday announcing a couple of fines, and along with the surprising non-suspensions of Tomas Kopecky and Mike Rupp following Friday's Rangers-Panthers game, the NHL also announced that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has also avoided the Shanaban for his blindside elbow to the head of Colorado's Jan Hejda earlier in the week (Here's the play, in case you missed it the first time around).

Instead of missing any games, Torres was simply given the maximum fine of $2,500.

Message: not sent.
Hejda is expected to be in the lineup for the Avalanche on Saturday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

There was also no penalty called on the play, and it recieved little attention in the aftermath. It almost seems that unless a player is seriously injured (or injured at all) and it's a play that's shown on highlight reels across the league the NHL has no interest in handing out a stiff punishment.

More NHL Discipline News

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:10 pm
 

No suspension for Kopecky



By: Adam Gretz

The NHL determined on Saturday morning that the incident at the end of Friday's Rangers-Panthers game was worth nothing more than a couple of $2,500 fines.

In the closing seconds Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky and Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto werei involved in a skirmish in front of the New York net. After Del Zotto gave Kopecky a shot up high with his stick, Kopecky responded by dropping Del Zotto with what was basically a sucker punch to the face.

Kopecky was then pulled out of the ensuing scrum by Mike Rupp, who then started to throw some punches of his own at the Panthers forward.

Kopecky received a match penalty for his punch on Del Zotto (Rupp was also given a game misconduct and a five-minute major for fighting), and it seemed like a pretty good bet that Kopecky would sit out at least a couple of games for his actions. Not the case. The league announced on Saturday that Kopecky and Del Zotto have each been fined $2,500, the maximum fine allowed, and both will be eligible to play in their team's next game.

The Panthers host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, while the Rangers will play the Flyers on Monday during the Winter Classic.

Of course, all parties involved will also be eligible to play when these two teams face off again next Thursday in New York, a meeting that could get ugly with some sort of vigilante justice if the post-game comments from Friday are any indication.

Following Friday's game Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said that Del Zotto deserved to get smashed in the face for his stick work on Kopecky, while Panthers forward Krys Barch said "You can’t allow that stuff to happen. That’s just not allowed to go on in terms of a teammate getting jumped like that. We’ll take care of that next week."

Mark your calendars.

More From Eye On Hockey

Kopecky sucker punches Del Zotto
More NHL Discipline News

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Looking ahead to 2012

CrosbyBy: Adam Gretz

The new year is right around the corner, and now that 2011 is almost in our rear view mirror, it's time to look ahead to what might be for the NHL in 2012.

1) What, if anything, will (or can) the NHL do about its concussion problem?

The NHL has a problem, and it's been highlighted throughout this season as some of the league's best and brightest players have been sidelined with head injuries at various times. And in many cases, an extended period of time.

Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger, Milan Michalek, Mike Richards, David Perron, Marc Staal … the list goes on and on, and it doesn't seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. You can't go a week in the NHL, sometimes even a day, without hearing that another player has been diagnosed with a concussion or has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms.

With the NHL's collective bargaining agreement expiring after this season it's worth asking what the league and the NHLPA can do to help combat this problem. A complete banishment on all head shots will always be talked about it, but it seems unlikely to happen as long as the NHL's old guard remains in charge.

Perhaps my favorite suggestion, and one that would probably please most everybody, including the goaltenders, is to eliminate the ridiculous and nonsensical trapezoid rule and allow goaltenders to play more pucks in the corners. That would potentially reduce the number of times defensemen have to be subjected to violent hits from oncoming forecheckers in the corners.  Reintroducing the red line to slow the pace through the neutral zone has been brought up, as well as possible the addition of no-touch icing.

And speaking of player safety...

2) Will we get any closer to mandatory visors?

As we've talked about before, there are still enough players that view visors as their own personal choice (which it currently is) and something that they shouldn't be forced to wear.

But that was also once true for helmets and goalie masks, and they've now become an accepted (and common sense) piece of equipment. The issue seems to be getting more and more attention than it has in recent seasons, and the first reaction that comes up anytime somebody takes a puck or a stick near the face is to automatically look to see if said player is wearing a protective visor. Like the addition of helmets, it's likely a rule that will be grandfathered in. Perhaps making matters easier is the fact that many of the young players entering the league today are already wearing visors given that they're mandatory at the sports lower levels (the Canadian Junior Leagues, the American Hockey League).

3) Will the 2012 NHL season start on time?

The NFL went through a dreadful lockout that eliminated its offseason and threatened the start of its regular season, which was then followed by the NBA missing a large chunk of its regular season due to its own completely pointless work stoppage. Major League Baseball, suddenly the model of long-term labor peace in professional sports, quietly and quickly went about its business and had everything settled before anybody even realized their agreement was up for discussion.

And now it's the NHL's turn. Panic? Fire and brimstone?

Will the league and the NHLPA be able to come to some sort of an agreement like MLB did, or will it be more along the lines of the NFL and NBA where it's a long, drawn out process with maddening twists and turns that leaves fans pulling out their hair?

The last time we were in this position we lost an entire season and came back to a completely different league.

4) Will the Coyotes remain in Phoenix?

Until the team actually moves to a new home or a long-term, viable ownership situation is in place in Phoenix this question will not be going away. And if the former is what happens, what does that do to the NHL's new conference alignment?

The league went through a franchise relocation in 2011 that resulted in a radical realignment as the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, leading to the NHL overhauling its divisions and playoff format.

But what happens if the Coyotes, after surviving another season in the desert, don't remain in Phoenix and relocate, as has been talked about and expected for years? Do we have to go through another realignment discussion and re-do everything that was just settled?

5) How many more turns for the NHL's coaching Carousel?

Nearly half of the league went through some sort of head coaching change during 2011, and let's face it, with way NHL teams dismiss coaches there is no doubt the coaching carousel will continue to spin out of control. It's already kind of amazing that, with all of the changes that have taken place this season, Columbus' Scott Arniel has made it as long as he has given the worst start in franchise history. Toronto's Ron Wilson is in the final year of his contract and has recently taken to Twitter asking Santa Claus for a certain piece of paper (presumably a contract) for Christmas.

6) Will Nashville be able to keep its prized defensemen?

When Nashville signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to his massive contract extension earlier this season it produced one of two possibilities going forward: A) The team will now be a "cap team" and spend more money than it's ever spent before in an effort to keep its best homegrown players, or B) the signing of Rinne means one (or both) of their two No. 1 defenseman, Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, will eventually be lost to free agency.

Weber still has one more year before he hits the unrestricted market, and will once again be up for restricted free agency after this season. Suter, on the other hand, if he hasn't signed before July 1, will be eligible to sign with the highest bidder.

7) Who will host the next Winter Classic?

Technically this game won't be played until 2013, but the decision will be made long before then and every team wants an opportunity to host what has become the NHL's signature regular season event. Gary Bettman has already all but promised Washington D.C. the game in the very near future, so that's on the table.

I'm a fan of taking the game to Michigan, perhaps the Big House in Ann Arbor, for a Red Wings game, or even to the State of Hockey and allowing the Minnesota Wild to play host to the game for its passionate fan base at perhaps either Target Field (home of the Minnesota Twins) or TCF Bank Stadium (University of Minnesota stadium).

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 9:27 pm
 

Nick Foligno ejected; Should he have been?

By: Adam Gretz

Senators forward Nick Foligno was ejected early in the second period of his team's game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night for charging Keaton Ellerby.



Is that a good call? I think it's tough, and at first glance that appears to be more of a nasty collision than a dirty hit, especially when you watch the second and third angles in slow motion.

Foligno has found himself in the middle of a few controverial plays this season, most of which he was on the receivin end of, including the elbow from Sidney Crosby that sparked a near month-long debate, as well as a recent knee-on-knee hit from Boston's Adam McQuaid.

In a game against Vancouver earlier this month he delivered a pair of huge hits, one of which resulted in a boarding call and a game misconduct.

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

Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Deryk Engelland's hit on Marcus Kruger (Video)



By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- One of the most talked about plays during Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night was Deryk Engelland's hit (as seen in the above video) on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger in the first period. Even though Engelland was not penalized, it turned out to be a huge play in the game, and perhaps a decisive play.

Not only was it a questionable hit that will probably get a second look from the NHL, but the Penguins actually came away with a power play in the aftermath due to a fight between Engelland and Blackhawks forward John Scott, arguably the toughest and most intimidating heavyweight in the NHL. Both players were assessed five minute majors for fighting, while Scott picked up an additional instigator penalty as well as a 10-minute misconduct. The Penguins eventually scored on the ensuing power play thanks to Chris Kunitz's 12th goal of the season, and in a game that was decided by a single goal, that's an early (and huge) turning point.

Kruger was able to return to the game briefly, taking a couple of shifts throughout the remainder of the first period, but did not get a single shift over the final 40 minutes of regulation. After the game Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "He's doing OK now, but we'll see tomorrow, we'll have a better idea of how he's doing. Tough hit, high hit. Tough area, tough spot."

Even though Scott's instigator penalty put the Blackhawks down a man and resulted in a goal against, his teammates were quite accepting of the additional penalty he took in an effort to stick up for his teammate.

"We have to find a way to kill that off for him," said forward Viktor Stalberg. "That's why we have him in the lineup some nights, he did what he's supposed to do."

"I'm always going to stand up for my teammates," said Scott. "I'm going to do that everytime, no matter who it is. I think anybody else on the team would have done the same thing."

The question now becomes whether or not the NHL has an issue with Engelland's hit. The first angle is difficult to see how much, if any, contact was made with the head, but when you look at the second and third angles it becomes a little more clear that Kruger took a hit to the head.

"I'm sure they'll take a look at it," said Stalberg. "I think we felt like he left his feet a little bit there."

More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Milan Lucic suspended 1 game



By: Adam Gretz


Zac Rinaldo said he was fine with the hit from Boston's Milan Lucic over the weekend. The NHL, however, was not fine with it.

The league announced on Monday afternoon that the Bruins forward has been suspended one game for his hit from behind during his team's 6-0 win over the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. Lucic will miss Monday's home game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Lucic was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting Rinaldo into the boards from behind late in the second period, which was part of an extremely physical game that Boston dominated on the scoreboard from the opening faceoff.

Even though Lucic was ejected for the hit, Rinaldo was quick to come to his defense.

“It’s hockey, you hit and go into the boards, I don’t think it was dirty at all,” said Rinaldo via Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly. “Shoulder-to-shoulder and just momentum. He’s big guy, maybe double my weight. His momentum carried him into the boards awkwardly. I don’t think it was dirty at all.”

Lucic responded again on Monday after the suspension was announced, taking his medicine.

"I don't think anyone's ever happy when they get suspended," Lucic said. "But you have to respect any decision they make. I do everything my power to keep it clean out there. I try my full-on best to follow [the NHL's] rules [on hitting].

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's disciplinary czar, did not agree.

"In spite of the fact Lucic sees Rinaldo's numbers and proximity to the boards, Lucic delivers a dangerous check from behind," said Shanahan. "Rinaldo makes no sudden movement either just prior to or simultaneous with the hit that contributes to making this an illegal check. Therefore, the onus is on Lucic to avoid this hit completely, or at the very least minimize it to a greater degree. Instead, Lucic follows through with his check driving Rinaldo high and hard into the glass."

Shanahan also added that Lucic's history of similar infractions, warnings and fines went into the decision to suspend him, as did the fact that Rinaldo suffered no apparent injury as a result of the play.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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

Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Couturier hit in head with puck; Lucic ejected

By: Adam Gretz

The Boston Bruins completely dismantled the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, cruising to a 6-0 win in a game that featured the type of physical play that is to be expected anytime these two teams are on the same ice surface.

It wasn't a physical hockey play, however, that resulted in the latest head injury for a Flyers player. With time ticking down in the opening period, and the Flyers already facing a four-goal deficit, rookie forward Sean Couturier was involved in a rather scary incident in front of the net when he was hit in the side of the head with a puck following a shot from his own teammate, defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

He left the game and did not return with what general manager Paul Holmgren described as "a head injury."



That's the type of month it's been for the Flyers, a team that's already lost forwards Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn, as well as defenseman Chris Pronger, to concussions. It was announced this past week that Pronger is expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, while there is no immediate timetable for Giroux or Schenn to return.

Of course, that wasn't the only noteworthy development during Saturday's game.

Late in the second period Bruins forward Milan Lucic was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting Zac Rinaldo from behind, setting off one of the game's three fights.



Given that there was an ejection it's sure to get at least another look from the NHL's disciplinary czar, Brendan Shanahan, even if nothing comes of it. Over the past week we've seen Toronto's Dion Phaneuf and Winnipeg's Zach Bogosian be ejected for hits from behind with no supplemental discipline handed out by the league.

Saturday's game also marked the return of defenseman Zdeno Chara to the Boston lineup and he responded with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, scoring a goal, recording an assist and fighting Philadelphia's Jody Shelley.

For the Bruins, it's their fourth in a row, a stretch that's seen them outscore their opponents 19-5, as they continue their dominant run that started over a month ago that's seen them post an 18-2-1 record since November 1.

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

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