By Allan Muir
Joffrey Lupul has played brilliantly in his first two games back with the Maple Leafs since missing most of the season with a broken arm.
We’ll have to wait a while to see if that hot streak continues into game three.
Lupul was handed a two-game suspension today by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a wildly blatant head shot on Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in last night’s 4-2 Toronto win.
“As the video shows, after Hedman passes the puck, Lupul approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman’s head by elevating and making it the principal point of contact,” Rob Blake said in the DPS’ explanatory video.
By “elevating,” Blake means Lupul left the ice prior to making contact, which he pretty much had to do to avoid slamming into the 6-foot-6 Hedman’s elbow. But once a player “leaves his feet,” he’s asking for trouble from DPS.
Fortunately, Hedman wasn’t hurt on the play and that, combined with Lupul’s absence from the league’s Big Book O’ Mug Shots, added up to the two-gamer and the forfeiture of more than $45,000 in salary.
Was it a fair call? As the season goes on, it’s getting tougher and tougher to compare one suspension to another, but taken on it’s own merits, this one passes the smell test.