In case you haven’t been paying attention, the NHL handed Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos a six game suspension for his brutal hit on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart. The hit will sideline Stuart for six to eight weeks with a broken jaw.
To some, it’s a harsh punishment for a reprehensible hit. For others, it’s almost not enough because people believe that the league should make an example of players like Kostopoulos.
Yet there’s also another, smaller group of people who think that Kostopoulos didn’t deserve a suspension at all. On the Forecheck’s Dirk Hoag made a detailed argument against the decision based on the application of Rule 48.
Of course, the Flames aren’t very happy about the decision either, though I wonder how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot. Both Flames general manager Jay Feaster and Kostopoulos disagreed that the hit was illegal.
“We strongly disagree, not only with the length of the suspension, but also with the fact that Tom was suspended,” said Jay Feaster, acting general manager of the Flames.
“While we are sorry the player was injured, we maintained in the hearing the hit was a legal check. The player was batting at the puck and Tom hit him in the chest and finished his check through him.
He did not target the head, and we do not believe the head was the initial point of contact. We respect the difficult job Colin Campbell has to do in these situations, and we appreciate the opportunity we were afforded to present our case; however, we simply do not agree with the decision.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in the League’s ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal,” said Kostopoulos. “I’m sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head. I maintain that I delivered a legal check to an opponent playing the puck. While I am upset with the League’s decision, I will serve the suspension in preparation for my return to the line-up to help my team.”
So, what do you think? Did Kostopoulos hit Stuart in the head or lead into his chest? Was the check suspension-worthy or even too lightly punished?
Take a look at the hit in the video below and let us know how you feel in the comments.