The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins on Thursday for his spear to the groin on Jake Dotchin of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
In the least surprising news of the week, Marchand was suspended for two games, i.e. the last two games of the regular season with the Bruins having already clinched.
The incident occurred at 19:20 of the first period. Marchand was assessed a major penalty for spearing and a game misconduct. Marchand gives up $109,756.10 in salary.
We all knew this was going to happen. The mystery was whether or not the NHL would do anything in its suspension video to address the giant penguin in the room: The Sidney Crosby crotch-shot on Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres, which not only wasn’t a Department of Player Safety issue but wasn’t penalized during the game.
This is some, um, interesting defence from Sidney Crosby. pic.twitter.com/6ouCNLEnAV— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 21, 2017
The general consensus was “dirty but not a suspension” on Crosby, but we all know that Marchand getting two games and Crosby not even getting a penalty was going to be a point of some debate.
And, apparently, so did the NHL, which produced a Player Safety video detailing the Marchand suspension that was basically “HERE’S WHY WE SUSPENDED THIS STICK TO THE GROIN AND NOT THAT OTHER ONE YOU MIGHT BE FAMILIAR WITH.”
From the video:
“Stick infractions are common in the National Hockey League. With some exceptions, the vast majority can be sufficiently penalized by the on-ice officials. What causes this play to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is the intent, the amount of force used and Marchand’s substantial history of attacking the lower body of unsuspecting opponents.
“This is not light contact that, while illegal, does not rise to the level of supplemental discipline. Marchand drives his stick up and into Dotchin with substantial force.”
To drive it home we have Marchand’s suspension history, as he’s been fined or suspended seven times previously, and five of them have been for “attacking the lower body.”
So, to summarize, although it’s left unsaid: Sidney Crosby’s spear happens all the time and doesn’t rise to a suspension; Sidney Crosby’s spear wasn’t this harsh; and Sidney Crosby hasn’t been fined or suspended seven times and five times for targeting the lower extremities.
The Department of Player Safety suspends Brad Marchand two games…