Is it panic time in Toronto? Starting goalie James Reimer was knocked out of tonight’s game against Montreal with what appeared to be a head injury after Canadiens forward Brian Gionta came storming through his crease. Gionta connected with Reimer’s head knocking him down and knocking his helmet off. Reimer appeared to be dazed but finished playing the first period.
When the second period started, however, it was Jonas Gustavsson taking over for Toronto and giving up a goal on the first shot he saw. Whoops.
If Reimer is hurt for an extended amount of time, the less-than-impressive Gustavsson ascends to the starting job while AHL starter, and former Cornell standout, Ben Scrivens would get the call to back up The Monster. It’s a less-than ideal situation for the Leafs if they have to do that as Reimer has proven himself worthy of being a top starter in the league. He’s been the key to the Leafs’ success so far this season so if he’s out, the confidence in Leafs Nation will be shaken to the core.
We’ll find out later how badly, if at all, Reimer is hurt. If it proves to be a concussion, the worries over his return will be more than justified.
Update: Now with video of the play.
Earlier today, the NHL’s Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan handed down a two-game suspension to Buffalo Sabres forward Brad Boyes for his hit to the head of Leafs’ forward Joe Colborne. Two pre-season games may not sound like much, but suspending a player for a borderline hit was just another consistent decision during the young preseason. Shanahan has been swift and tough while delivering his justice in his first week as league disciplinarian—the Boyes penalty for a seemingly unintentional hit to the head is just another example.
In the video released by Shanahan and the NHL, the league’s hammer explains in detail his reasoning for suspending the Sabres’ forward for the next two preseason games. Missing a couple of meaningless games in September may not sound like a huge deal, but it’s a symbolic statement punishing a player for a hit that would have been a borderline play last season. He leaves no gray area:
“Colborne’s head is the principle point of contact of Boyes’ hit. While the play develops quickly, Colborne makes no sudden movements just prior to, or simultaneous with, the hit; placing the onus on Boyes not to hit him in the head. While I believe Boyes’ assertion that he did not intentionally target the head, this is a reckless hit and is now illegal.”
He goes on to explain that Boyes has no prior history with dirty hits and Colborne was not injured on the play—both of which played into his ruling. While it’s a slippery slope Shanahan is walking when he includes that the lack of injury played into his decision, at least he’s giving a full explanation to fans, the players, and the organizations around the league.
Now that you’ve seen the play and heard the full explanation, what do you think of the two-game suspension? Do you think it a good precedent to set early in the season or do you think it was just an accidental hit that should have been let go? You make the call in the comments.
During last night’s Lightning shootout win over the Blackhawks, Chicago’s Dave Bolland left last night’s game after playing just 4:51. It wasn’t immediately known what happened to Bolland, but replays showed that Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina caught him with an elbow to the head with 2:09 left in the first period.
Today, Kubina heard from the NHL for his reckless shot to the head and he’s been suspended for three games for the infraction. The Lightning defense will have to do without the well-rounded veteran until March 17 when he’s eligible to return. Kubina will give up $60,096.76 in salary to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund for running afoul of the law.
As for Bolland’s condition, it hasn’t been updated as of yet but we’re hoping he escaped any sort of concussion from the hit. Tampa Bay will now have to figure out who takes Kubina’s spot in the lineup for the next three games and replace his three goals and 19 assists as well as his nearly 20 minutes per game of ice time.