Starting tomorrow afternoon against the San Jose Sharks, Bruins forward Daniel Paille will once again watch his team play from afar. But instead of being a healthy scratch, Paille will begin his four-game suspension which handed down to him from the NHL this morning in Toronto, Canada.
Midway through the second period in last night’s 6-3 romp of the Dallas Stars, Paille received a major penalty and a game misconduct for an illegal hit to the head — Rule 48 — on Stars’ forward Raymond Sawada.
Sawada was helped off the ice, played just 5:50 of ice time, and is considered out with a shoulder injury and broken nose due to the blindside hit.
Removing hits like these were under fire league-wide last year, after the Matt Cooke/Marc Savard incident. What was a direct result of that hit, and major concussion, was the new Rule 48:
Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head
48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.
It didn’t take me long to immediately tweet my prediction for that hit, because that hit was in fact, not only very dangerous, but very dirty. Bruins’ defenseman Andrew Ference — who should be applauded in his remarks — had the same things on his mind as everyone else in hockey.
“”I mean it’s a bad hit, right? That’s what they’re trying to get rid of and you can’t be hypocritical about it when it happens to you,” said Ference. “And say it’s fine when your teammate does it. It’s a hit they’re trying to get rid of.”
Not only was the four-game suspension merited, but it could have, and possible should have, been more. A great blog, DefendingBigD.com has an article today about the hit; how the NHL continues to drop the ball with handing out proper suspensions with these types of hits to the head, and that Paille should have been suspended much longer than four games. In fact, according to their viewer poll, over 65-percent of the fans voted that the NHL should have suspsended Paille even longer (5-7 games) or ‘thrown the book at him’ (8-10 games).
If the NHL threw the book at Paille, even just to make an example of him, I’d be completely OK with it.
Paille will forfeit his salary for the next four games — vs. San Jose 2/5; vs. Montreal 2/9; vs. Detroit 2/11; at Detroit 2/11 — which will go towards the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.