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SHANABANNED! Habs’ Douglas Murray suspended three games for head shot

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By Allan Muir

The post-assault apology was appreciated by his victim, but it didn’t earn Douglas Murray any leniency from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. The DoPS cops dinged the Montreal Canadiens defenseman three games for his ridiculous head shot on Tampa Bay’s Mike Kostka on Tuesday night.

Kostka was concussed by the hit and has no return date in sight. Both factors played into the ruling. According to Lightning beat writer Missy Zielinski, it took Kostka 20 minutes to realize what was going on around him and he had no recollection of the hit.

He did, however, appreciate Murray’s apology. “Classy move,” Kostka said. “I don’t think he had malicious intent, but … it was a pretty nasty scary looking hit. I’m thankful I’m standing today.”

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  • Published On Apr 03, 2014
  • NHL fines Penguins’ Neal and Red Wings’ Legwand $5,000 apiece

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    By Nick Stoico

    Fines have been dealt out to Detroit forward David Legwand and Pittsburgh forward James Neal for violations in Thursday night’s game between the Red Wings and the Penguins. Both players were charged with $5,000 fines by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

    At 5:19 of the second period, James Neal threw a high cross-check on Red Wings forward Luke Glendening. Neal’s stick connected with Glendening on the side of his helmet and the Pens forward was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking.

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  • Published On Mar 22, 2014
  • SHANABANNED! Columbus’ Blake Comeau gets two games for boarding

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    By Allan Muir

    Columbus Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau was handed the two-game special today by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.

    The video from Tuesday night’s game made for a pretty clear cut case for the DOPS boys. Comeau was tracking Smith from halfway across the ice and finished him off directly in the numbers about three feet from the boards. As Patrick Burke explains, the onus is on Comeau to avoid or at least minimize the contact when Smith is in a vulnerable position like that.

    The hit looked ugly, especially the way Smith’s head was driven into the boards, but since he was uninjured and able to finish the game, Comeau caught a break on the suspension.

    He will, however, have to fork over a serious chunk of change. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he’ll forfeit $10,256.42 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


  • Published On Mar 12, 2014
  • VIDEO: Canucks’ Kassian suspended three games for boarding penalty

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    By Nick Stoico

    Due to a dangerous boarding penalty inflicted on Dallas Stars defensemen Brenden Dillon, Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian has been suspended for three games, without pay, by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

    Kassian will miss home games against the Calgary Flames and the New York Islanders, as well as the first of a four-game road trip for Vancouver. Kassian will be eligible to return Friday, March 14 when the Canucks travel to Washington to face the Capitals.

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  • Published On Mar 07, 2014
  • The NHL’s 13 biggest hits of 2013

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    Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings Kronwalls Cory Conacher of the Ottawa Senators.

    The NHL still packed plenty of crunch despite growing concerns about player safety. (Icon SMI)

    By Michael Blinn

    Many fans worry that the NHL is slowly but steadily legislating physicality out of the game, and this year delivered plenty of fuel for debate about player safety in the form of  big, thundering checks that sent players end-over-end, tumbling into benches, and, on rare occasions, through the glass. Most of the hits were well within the rules, while others were cause for supplemental discipline as the NHL continued to place added emphasis on preventing head injuries. After sorting through nine-plus months of game highlights, we present  the 13 most bone-rattling hits of 2013:

    MORE: 13 best players | Goals | Games | Memes | Tweets | Weird moments | Most painful | Front office moves

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  • Published On Dec 24, 2013
  • SHANABANNED! Shawn Thornton gets 15 games for attack on Brooks Orpik

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    Shawn Thornton's punches on Brooks Orpik landed him the second-longest suspension of the Brendan Shanahan era.  (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    Shawn Thornton’ was handed the second-longest suspension of the Brendan Shanahan era. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The NHL sent a clear message in giving Boston Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton a 15-game suspension for “pulling [Brooks] Orpik out of a scrum, yanking him to the ice and punching him multiple times, leading to a serious injury.”

    The message is not so much to one player (Thornton) who had crossed the line, though. This suspension was all about letting lawyers and ex-players and anyone else who is inclined to take the league to task for its approach to violence know that it is capable of policing itself and is serious about eliminating these incidents.

    In handing down the second-longest suspension of the Brendan Shanahan-era, it didn’t matter that Thornton was a highly respected player who has assayed the role of enforcer with honor for more than 500 games. This wasn’t a hockey play gone wrong. It was a dangerous act of premeditated retribution. With this sentence, the league made it clear that kind of incident will be severely punished, regardless of a player’s motivation or reputation.

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  • Published On Dec 14, 2013
  • SHANABANNED! Dion Phaneuf to sit out two games for boarding Kevan Miller

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    By Allan Muir

    Apparently, roaring in from the hash marks to blast a player between the numbers and drive him headfirst into the boards is still frowned upon by the NHL.

    After reviewing the evidence of Dion Phaneuf’s cheapshot on Boston’s Kevan Miller on Sunday, the Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto’s captain for a pair of games. He’ll also forfeit more than $66,000 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Relief Fund.

    Interestingly, Brendan Shanahan lays some of the blame on Phaneuf’s teammate, David Clarkson, noting that his slash buckled Miller’s plant leg, contributing to the awkwardness and violence of his contact with the boards. Of course, it wouldn’t have been an issue if Phaneuf laid off when he only saw numbers.

    “The onus is on him to avoid the hit completely, or at least minimize it more than he does,” Shanahan said. “Miller was never eligible to be hit like this in the first place.”

    This is the sort of hit we’ve seen routinely over the years and, more often than not, the player is sore but relatively unscathed from the contact. But it’s also the kind of impact that has the potential to cause serious harm, including concussions and facial or back injuries. There are smarter decisions to be made in this situation, and suspensions like this should help reinforce that point.

    Miller was clearly fouled, but not seriously injured on the play, so two games sends a message of non-tolerance while it leaves the league some room to lay the hammer down the next time this happens and the victim doesn’t bounce up as readily as did Miller.

    CAZENEUVE: NHL rules, The Code, and fighting meeting in dark place


  • Published On Dec 10, 2013
  • SHANABANNED! Kevin Westgarth suspended two games for boarding

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    By Allan Muir

    Kevin Westgarth couldn’t have made it any easier for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

    The Carolina forward was suspended two games today for a breathtakingly stupid hit on Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki on Sunday.

    The Senators defenseman had just blown a tire on the corner and was trying to regain his feet when Westgarth barreled in from the face-off circle and planted Borowiecki head first into the boards.

    It certainly wasn’t the hardest or cheapest hit we’ve seen this season, but, as Brendan Shanahan explains in the suspension video, “at no point, from the moment Westgarth changes direction, is Borowiecki ever eligible to be checked. Borowiecki is completely vulnerable…[and] Westgarth never stops or makes an attempt to slow down. This is a time when Westgarth should completely avoid contact.”

    That’s what common sense would dictate, anyway. This is one of those cases where respect for the safety of his opponent should have slammed the brakes on Westgarth. Since it didn’t, and since Borowiecki was injured on the play, this was the call Shanahan had to make.

    MUIR: Players face uphill fight in concussion lawsuit against NHL


  • Published On Nov 26, 2013
  • SHANABANNED! Sabres’ John Scott suspended seven games for head shot

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    By Allan Muir

    Brendan Shanahan took his sweet time deciding what to do with John Scott after the Sabres’ lunkhead nearly decapitated Boston’s Loui Eriksson more than a week ago.

    At least he used it wisely, deciding to suspend Scott a total of seven games.

    He made it clear that Eriksson was hit directly in the head and that Scott, who cut across the ice to take him out, had other plays to make that would have been effective and legal.

    “On this play,” Shanahan said, “the onus is entirely on Scott to ensure that Eriksson’s head is not the main point of contact.”

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  • Published On Oct 31, 2013
  • SHANABANNED! Michael Grabner gets two games for elbowing Nathan Gerbe

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    By Allan Muir

    The NHL sent a strong and clear message with the five-game suspension handed to Colorado forward Cody McLeod this afternoon: hits from behind won’t be tolerated.

    Blindside head shots though? Eh, not so bad . . . at least, if you’re a first-time offender.

    That’s the takeaway from the two-game sentence handed to New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner on Monday evening.

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  • Published On Oct 21, 2013


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