Colorado forward Cody McLeod has been suspended five games for boarding Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall on Thursday night, the NHL has announced.
McLeod, 29, was given a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for the hit, which knocked Kronwall out and forced him from the game on a stretcher.
In his explanatory video, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan notes that the Department of Player Safety took into account Kronwall’s actions just prior to the hit — quickly changing direction “against the grain.”
That said, Kronwall’s sudden movement didn’t absolve McLeod of blame.
“Although Kronwall might’ve put himself in a more vulnerable position, the key to this play is that we’re convinced McLeod has time to avoid or minimize checking Kronwall from behind,” Shanahan explained. “Although Kronwall cuts back, McLeod actually makes an adjustment to his own path and is responsible for the violent collision that results.”
Here’s the video:
Shanahan also notes that, while Kronwall has resumed skating with the Wings, he suffered a serious injury on the play. McLeod had no supplemental discipline history — fines or suspensions — so that did not play a role in the punishment.
McLeod missed Colorado’s win on Saturday over Buffalo and won’t play tonight against Pittsburgh. He’ll proceed to sit out games against Carolina, Winnipeg and Dallas before being eligible to return on Nov. 2 against Montreal.
MacLeod will also forfeit $29,487.20 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.
Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes–Ryan Spooner–Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly–Joonas Kemppainen–Zac Rinaldo
The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.
So, where is Krejci’s game now?
Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.
So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?
On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.
So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?
“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks