Tag: blindside hit

Craig Anderson, Tom Kostopoulos

Tom Kostopoulos handed six-game suspension for blindside hit; was it the right call?

1 Comment

The NHL’s crackdown on blindside hits has gotten plenty of discussion this year thanks to the addition of Rule 48 to the NHL rulebook. Calgary’s Tom Kostopoulos got to find out just how serious the NHL is taking things regarding things as he’s been given a six-game suspension for delivering a blindside shot to the head of Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart. Stuart’s jaw was broken by the hit and he’s out for 6-8 weeks.

In the NHL’s statement on why they levied such a harsh punishment on Kostopoulos, there’s a snippet in there that’s making our collective eyebrows raise. From the NHL’s press release:

“A number of factors were considered in reaching this decision,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.

“Kostopoulos delivered a blow to the head of an unsuspecting and vulnerable player. As well, he targeted the head of his opponent and, while the hit was not from the blindside, the head was the principle point of contact. The fact that Brad Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered and the serious nature of the player’s injury were also considered in my decision.”

The key for any and all punishment handed out by the NHL is that it’s the action that should be punished and not the result. The result in this case was a heinous injury to an unsuspecting player. The action, of course, was a disgusting act of gross negligence on the part of Tom Kostopoulos in taking a run at a player that had no way of protecting himself from the hit during the course of play.

Considering that the league made it apparent that they took Stuart’s injury into account when handing down this action is just mind-numbing when you consider previous instances where players suffered a horrible injury and the offending players came away with a slap on the wrist because taking the after effects into account wasn’t fair to make a clear judgment.

So which is it then? The NHL can’t have their cake and eat it too when it comes to these sorts of things. We all want the league to be able to get things right when punishing players that run afoul of the law, but when you see guys like Matt Cooke get away with knocking Marc Savard out for months without so much as a one-game punishment and then see a hit like this on Stuart and Kostopoulos get hammered for it you have to wonder just how smokey the smokey room is where Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy make these decisions.

Again, it’s tough to get crazy about how the NHL goes about making these decisions because it’s always something new and different in each situation. After all, we’ve seen three different players sucker punch an opponent and all three players received different punishment from the league. All we’re looking for is consistency from the front office on these matters and the fact is that there is none. In this case, Calgary loses a fourth line player for six games while the Red Wings are without a top four defenseman for up to two months. The NHL may think they’re sending a message on this punishment, but it might not be the one they’re intending.

Tale of two hits: Thornton to have hearing with league, Carcillo apparently won’t be punished

San Jose Sharks v St. Louis Blues

Last night was what you’d call a feisty night in the NHL. With plenty of tough hits, some bordering on illegal, the NHL offices likely spent most of the morning reviewing tapes of questionable hits. We saw a tough hit from Sharks forward Joe Thornton as he leveled Blues forwards David Perron as Thornton was exiting the penalty box. Thornton was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. As it turns out, that’s enough to get noticed by the NHL as Thornton has a phone call scheduled with the NHL this afternoon to find out if he’ll have any other punishment.

Our guess here is that Thornton getting sat down during the game should end up being punishment enough for his hit and there’s no need for a suspension here at all. If you’re looking to try and make sense of anything, Shane Doan of the Coyotes got a three-game suspension for a similar brand of hit that didn’t injure Dan Sexton of the Ducks.

Speaking of things that don’t make sense, it appears that Dan Carcillo won’t have a meeting with the NHL. Carcillo hit Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko with what appeared to be a flying elbow in the head reminiscent of something out of the WWE. Carcillo wasn’t called for a penalty and it’s not because referee Marc Joannette didn’t see it, it’s because he felt that Fedotenko could save himself some trouble and “not duck” next time.

Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull tweets that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t expect the league to talk to Carcillo.  Now, let’s make this clear here.  If Carcillo doesn’t get any action taken against him here you can consider us completely off the bandwagon when it comes to Rule 48 regarding head shots. If hits like what Carcillo made on Fedotenko aren’t worthy of being addressed after the fact, then what’s the point? Reviewing these kinds of hits after the fact is supposed to be one of the big parts of Rule 48. Looking past a hit like this involving a guy with a past littered with questionable hits is insanity. After all, if the league isn’t going to take this sort of thing seriously, why should we?

Joe Thornton ejected for blindside hit on David Perron


Sharks captain Joe Thornton might be getting a call from NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell this weekend. At 5:29 of the second period of the Sharks game against the Blues in St. Louis, Thornton exited the penalty box after serving a minor penalty for boarding and caught Blues forward David Perron with a blindside hit to the head. Thornton received a five-minute major for an illegal check to the head, and a game misconduct.

Meanwhile, the teams started scrapping with each other and Logan Couture and Alex Pietrangelo squared off in a fight. Perron would get some revenge later in the period as he scored his fifth goal of the year to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

Update: Here’s video of the hit on YouTube. (Courtesy of HockeyFights.com)