Blues’ Lapierre suspended five games for boarding Boyle


St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre has been suspended five games for boarding Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle during a 6-2 loss on Tuesday, the NHL has announced.

Lapierre, 28, was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit, and has already served one game of his suspension (Thursday night’s 3-2 shootout win over Chicago), as he was prevented from playing until his in-person hearing with the NHL’s Player Safety Department, which occurred on Friday.

In his explanatory video, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan noted that Boyle’s loss of balance contributed to the collision, which ended in a “violent result” causing “serious injury.”

That said, Lapierre didn’t escape culpability.

“Lapierre uses his arms to finish [Boyle] high and in the back, causing Boyle’s jaw to hit the blue dasher on top of the boards, and knocking him unconscious,” Shanahan explained. “At no point does Lapierre see anything other than Boyle’s numbers when he decides to finish him on this check.”

Here’s the video. It’s worth a watch, given Shanahan goes into great detail about what constitutes boarding and how the hitter (in this case, Lapierre) bears responsibility, especially if the hit “causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously.”

It’s also worth noting that Lapierre’s history was taken into account — he was suspended in 2010 for a similar boarding incident against Scot Nichol.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Lapierre will forfeit $28,205, money that will go the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Lapierre is eligible to return to the St. Louis lineup on Nov. 1, against the Florida Panthers.

Update 6:31 p.m. ET

Interesting note here from TVA’s Louis Jean about Lapierre’s meeting at NHL headquarters:

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

1 Comment

There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.