Much like the Anaheim Ducks’ other top forwards, Bobby Ryan made a big impact on their series-tying Game 2 win. He won’t be able to make an impact until the series returns to Anaheim in Game 5, however, because the NHL handed him a two-game suspension for stomping on Jonathan Blum’s foot, according to Eric Stephens of the OC Register.
Missing two playoff games will be a harsh lesson for the budding superstar, especially since Game 3 and 4 will take place in Nashville. Ryan will regret that mistake that much more if the Predators take a 3-1 series lead in his absence.
(For video footage of the stomp, check out the clip at the bottom of this post.)
As we discussed before, there are precedents for some significant suspensions regarding stomping motions, although Chris Simon and Chris Pronger’s incidents were more egregious examples of dangerous skate usage. (Simon received a 30-game suspension and Pronger was sidelined eight games, but both players were repeat offenders, which also factored into their hefty punishments.)
Here’s what league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said about the decision, via TSN.
“The actions by Ryan were both reckless and dangerous,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “While it was fortunate there was no injury to Blum on the play, the act of using your skate in this manner is unacceptable.”
It didn’t appear to be a malicious move, but on the other hand, the league needs to discourage players from using their skate blades in dangerous ways. The league’s justice system is still a bit on the nebulous side, but I’d say that they got this one about right, especially since this wasn’t a moment that could be attributed to the speed of the game (at least compared to controversial open-ice hits).
Ducks fans obviously won’t be happy with this decision, but the NHL’s message is clear: players must acknowledge the fact that their skates can double as weapons and must be careful to use them properly. Something tells me Ryan won’t make that mistake again.