Here is one you do not hear very often.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Friday afternoon that San Jose Sharks forward Kevin Labanc has been suspended one-game for slew-footing St. Louis Blues forward Tyler Bozak on Thursday night.
The incident happened early in the first period of the Blues’ 4-1 win.
Labanc was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping on the play.
Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.
What is so noteworthy about this suspension is slew-footing is not one of the more common plays we see in the NHL, or see get suspended. Prior to Labanc’s suspension, the NHL had not issued even a fine for slew-footing since the 2015-16 season, and has not actually suspended a player for it since the 2014-15 season when Brad Marchand was suspended three games for slew-footing Derick Brassard.
While slew-footing punishments have become rare, we have seen an increase in fines for tripping or “dangerous trips.” (P.K. Subban has had a couple of those lately.)
The NHL rule for slew-footing is worded as follows:
Slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.
There is no minor or major penalty specified as part of the rule, and if called as a slew-foot during the game it is supposed to be a match penalty.
The NHL points out in its video that is common during the course of a game where a player uses the skates or upper body to restrain an impede opponents or gain leverage during a puck battle. The league states that in most cases those players are adequately punished during games with penalties. What causes this play to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is the speed the two players are traveling as well as their proximity to the boards.
This is the first time Labanc has been disciplined by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety in his career.
He will miss the Sharks’ home game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
He will be eligible to return to the lineup on Monday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.