Alexei Ponikarovsky received plenty of hype during a star-starved trade deadline this year, but he’s been just mediocre-to-OK for the Penguins so far with 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 17 games. The Ukrainian forward might have to wait a while to improve on those point totals, though, because the league might need to take at his boarding check on New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey. Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times wonders if the forward should receive a suspension for the hit.
(Click here for the video, which includes a really weird and awkward euphemism from one of the Penguins’ announcers.)
There are a few factors working both ways in this one.
It certainly seemed like Ponikarovsky took advantage of a vulnerable player in this one. The league is trying to clean up its image regarding these kinds of hits, so this could be one of those “making an example” moments.
On the other hand, we’re on the verge of starting the playoffs so that might discourage the league from taking action. Also, it doesn’t appear that he’s ever been suspended for dirty hits before, so the “no prior offenses” argument will help him. And, as usual, the league might go with its faulty and unofficial “no harm no foul” policy since Bailey was able to leave the ice under his own power.
What do you think? Should Ponikarovsky receive a suspension for the hit? Or will it get brushed under the rug since the spotlight was on Mellon Arena’s final regular season home game?