Sometimes, it's best to just accept your punishment and this is one of those times for Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton.
This isn't far from the norm for Sutton, as he hits players hard and quite often on the regular (Sutton is in a three way tie for ninth in hits on the Islanders with 44 and is six shy of the team lead). However, this time he caught Dupuis in the numbers and in a vulnerable position.
The hit occurred late in the third period last night as Dupuis chased down the puck behind the Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Dupuis gathered in the puck, and turned in order to protect the puck from the approaching Sutton.
You could tell Sutton had his sights on Dupuis and even anticipated him turning with the puck—which is why he followed through. Dupuis' face hit the top of the boards and he lay crumpled on the ice dazed and bloody.
Sutton was given a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for the hit.
Clearly, the hit was not intentional and Sutton was extremely remorseful during the post game interviews. It is important to note that the pair has played together in the past and have remained friends.
Sutton has been playing great for the Islanders as of late. He scored his fourth goal of the season last night in Pittsburgh and as I said previously has been quite a physical force.
What's more, Sutton has not been penalized prior to last night for one of his big hits as they have been relatively clean.
I am sure NHL Czar of discipline Colin Campbell took Sutton's record into consideration this afternoon during the disciplinary hearing when he handed down a two game suspension for the hit.
In my opinion, Sutton received what I felt he would recieve—a two-game suspension for a hit that left Dupuis injured. It was not an hit that had ill-intent or something that was premeditated—merely a bad play and unfortunate accident.
Nobody needs to be reminded that the sport we all love and respect is a fast and dangerous one, that often requires lightning fast decisions and has the potential to leave players injured.
Certainly an unfortunate bi-product of the game, but it's still a part of it.
What do you think?
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