Tag: cheap shots


NHL suspends Brad Marchand two games for elbowing R.J. Umberger

The NHL handed down their decision on Boston’s Brad Marchand concerning his cheap shot elbow to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger. League disciplinarian Colin Campbell handed down what’s the customary punishment for violations to Rule 48 and gave Marchand a two game suspension for the hit.

Yesterday we saw Dany Heatley earn a similar two game ban for his cheap shot on Dallas’ Steve Ott. With these plays coming during the conclusion of the GM meetings in Florida and with head shots and concussions being a major topic of discussion, including the instant enforcement of new in-game concussion treatment protocols, it’s curious that the league would stay consistent with their seemingly light punishment.

In these two situations in particular, it appeared to be very obvious what both Marchand and Heatley intended to do and they most certainly seemed to be targeting their heads, yet they’re given the same punishment that a player would get for accidentally doing the same. We know that the cries for consistency with punishment are loud with the NHL, but I’m doubting anyone other than the offending teams would be upset if the NHL followed their own lead with the concussion protocol and handed out stiffer punishments.

As it is, the league will have to deal with looking hypocritical in the wake of these hits and that appears to be something they’re comfortable with in doing whether it makes sense or not.

Marchand will lose $6,330.64 in salary for the two games and see that money donated to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund for his transgressions. At least every dirty hit and suspension has this positive turn on it.

Dany Heatley and Brad Marchand to have disciplinary hearings over separate cheap shots


With what’s going on at the GM meetings regarding the burning league issue regarding concussions and the institution of a new concussion protocol, it only makes sense that last night’s action on the ice saw more than a few incidents worthy of attention from the league. Boston’s Brad Marchand and San Jose’s Dany Heatley each have hearings scheduled with the NHL tomorrow regarding their reckless and dangerous hits.

It started off with Boston’s Brad Marchand delivering a textbook blindside shot to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger (video). Marchand skated in from behind Umberger as he was skating through the neutral zone, sticking out his elbow connecting with the back of Umberger’s head. If ever there was a prime example for the brand of hit that Rule 48 (and common sense) intends to eliminate it’s this one and Marchand’s date with the league shows that they intend to do something about that. Marchand’s hit should likely earn him a three-game suspension from the league as similar hits this season have done.

Heatley’s chicken wing elbow to the face of Dallas agitator Steve Ott earned Heatley a meeting with the NHL and had Ott plenty steamed after last night’s game. Today he wasn’t any happier and Working The Corners’ Mark Emmons got Ott’s thoughts on what went down in last night’s game. If you missed it, Heatley’s elbow wasn’t the only one that caught Dallas’ ire as two hits from Douglas Murray delivered to Loui Eriksson and Tomas Vincour also got the ire of the team.

On what kind of hit crosses the line: “If you’re targeting a guy’s head, that’s my big issue. There’s no room for that. But if you hit a guy with a good, clean hit and he gets a head problem from that . . . that’s part of our game. I definitely don’t want to see hitting or fighting out of the game. Our game is what it is, and it’s a tough, tough game.”

On seeing players injured: “The worst part of the game is seeing a guy laying down on the ice and getting stretchered off. And nobody wants to be in that situation. So something has to be done.”

If it sounds a little backwards having Steve Ott, a player with a checkered past of his own sounding off on these sorts of plays, Ott’s well aware of where he’s coming from on these matters.

“I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because, yes, I do have a past myself. I’ve been suspended and everything else. But there’s still a time and place for it all. Players still have to put an onus on each other, and you gotta draw the line somewhere.”

Give Ott some respect here as he gets where he’s coming from and understands that it comes off screwy having him be the voice of reason. If nothing else, the rest of Emmons’ article shows that Ott is starting to change his tune. Whether he’s honest about it or not remains to be seen in how he plays.

These two hits give the NHL an opportunity to, again, send a message that these kinds of hits won’t be tolerated. They’ve fanned on these opportunities in the past but now with the GM meetings wrapping up and hits to the head being in such focus, as well as Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy’s ability to mete out punishment, you wonder if now they’ll find a way to act out on their power to set an example.

NHL hands Ben Eager four-game suspension for cheap shot on Colby Armstrong


There wasn’t much of a chance for Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong to defend himself from a sucker punch by Atlanta Thrashers forward Ben Eager. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay provided no defense for Eager in post-game chatter. Thankfully, there’s plenty of logic to defend the NHL’s decision to suspend Eager for four games, as they did today.

The Thrashers were already down 5-1 to the Leafs when the senseless punch was landed, but Toronto really made them pay on the resulting five minute power play. They scored four power-play goals to get a considerable measure of revenge for the cheap shot.

Eager will lose $20,752.68 in salary due to the four-game suspension and won’t be eligible to play again until the Thrashers’ January 20th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Overall, it seems like the punishment fits the crime pretty well. There’s just no reason for the punch so, honestly, an even stiffer bit of discipline would have been fine with me. Yet with previous precedents, this seems about right.

Click here for video of Eager’s regrettable act.