Video: ‘The message is not being heard’ when it comes to illegal hits, suspensions


The number of suspensions keeps piling up, as do the number of games players are getting banned, and the ugly, illegal hits that cause this.

December has not been a month to remember for the NHL when it comes to supplemental discipline. A total of nine suspensions have been handed down as of Thursday morning, totaling 38 games. That’s after just 18 days this month.

More is expected, with Washington Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson scheduled to have a phone hearing with the league’s Department of Player Safety on Thursday for this hit on Philadelphia Flyers’ forward Brayden Schenn on Tuesday.

Wilson was given a major penalty for charging and was ejected from the game.

On Wednesday, the NHL on NBCSN panel, including Mike Milbury and Keith Jones, discussed this recent plague of illegal and dangerous hits that are not only resulting in players getting suspended, but others getting injured.

“We got a problem because they’re not getting it. The message is not being heard here,” said Milbury.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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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’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.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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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: