Will Bruin Brad Marchand Actually Face NHL Justice for Dirty Hit? Not Likely
On Saturday, Jan. 7th, the Bruins and Canucks played for the first (and only) time since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver. The Canucks would score four power-play goals against the undisciplined Bruins to win 4-3.
It was a physical, chippy game, highlighted by a line brawl in the first period, and a dirty hit by Brad Marchand that injured Canucks defenceman Sami Salo late in the second. Marchand would get called for a five-minute major for clipping, and a game misconduct, for taking Salo out at the knees.
Salo would leave the game with an "upper-body injury," but it was confirmed this morning by Canucks general manager Mike Gillis that it was actually a concussion.
As reported on Twitter by Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province newspaper:
#Canucks GM Gillis confirms Salo suffered a concussion on Marchand clipping major/game misconduct. Has a hearing with Shanahan.
After the game, the questions were about whether the NHL would suspend Marchand for his low hit, and if Milan Lucic would be suspended for the automatic 10 games after being assessed a game misconduct for leaving the bench to join the line brawl in the first period.
Well, we know now that the NHL has decided to overrule the veteran on-ice officials and ignore video evidence to rescind Lucic's game misconduct and subsequent penalty.
So the question is now whether or not Marchand will be suspended, and if so, for how long.
The Bruins have a recent history of not being suspended for acts that would get other players suspended.
To refresh your memory, here are a few incidents where the Bruins got away either without even a hearing, or the hearing with NHL brass exonerated them.
Zdeno Chara on Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty, of course, was taken off on a stretcher. Chara got off without a suspension.
Nathan Horton throwing a water bottle at Tampa fans after Game 6 of the Eastern Finals. This one is extremely interesting when you consider that there is a precedent for a one-game playoff suspension for this sort of thing, and that Horton would go on to score the only goal in Game 7 to put the Bruins into the Stanley Cup Final.
Milan Lucic got a major and game misconduct for boarding in the first round of the playoffs. No suspension, of course, despite the emphasis on removing head shots.
Milan Lucic running Ryan Miller earlier this year. This one is funny because the only defence that Lucic offered in the hearing was, "I didn't mean to do it," and Shanahan thought that was OK. If that is actually an acceptable defence, every penalty ever contested (which is 99 percent of them) would be rescinded by the on-ice officials.
Milan Lucic and his game misconduct for illegally coming on the ice for a line brawl in Saturday's game.
Will Marchand actually be suspended?
So four incidents that either resulted in serious injury (Chara, Lucic twice, Boychuk) and were swept under the carpet by the NHL, and a pair of incidents (Horton, Lucic again)—with video evidence, clear rules in the NHL rulebook and past precedents for suspension—that resulted in no suspension because the acts were committed by Bruins players.
So I guess it can be considered a victory for justice that Marchand is even getting a hearing with Shanahan?
But will he actually be suspended?
I'd say that, given the nature of the hit itself, two or three games would be appropriate.
Factor in that Marchand is a repeat offender (he was suspended two games on March 22nd, 2011 for a blindside elbow to the head), that should double to four to six games.
However, he is a Bruin, so the wheel of justice (and past history) tells us that he most likely will get off scot-free. It might come down to what sort of Christmas present he got Gregory Campbell.
What do you think would be an appropriate suspension?
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