The NHL has suspended Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul two games for hitting Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in the head during Wednesday night’s game.
“After Hedman passes the puck, Lupul approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman’s head by elevating and making it the principle point of contact,” said Rob Blake of the NHL’s disciplinary department.
Here’s the full video explanation:
Lupul was given a two-minute minor for illegal check to the head on the play, while Hedman left momentarily before returning to action.
Following the game, Lupul said targeting Hedman’s head was unintentional and tried to defend the hit.
“I didn’t realize I got him in the head,” he told reporters. “I saw he was hurt — again, I gotta see the replay but by no means did I go after and try and hit him in the head.
“I wasn’t even over there to hit him, he kinda came back towards the middle at the last second, and it’s unfortunate.”
Blake said Hedman being uninjured played a role in the ruling, as did the fact Lupul had no past disciplinary incidents during his nine-year NHL career.
Lupul will now miss Toronto’s next two games — Thursday in Buffalo, Saturday vs. Boston — and will fork over $45,945.94 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: