Accompanied by the 2-0 loss, and second straight shutout against the Sharks, captain Joe Thornton was handed a two-game suspension for his hit on Blues’ forward David Perron. Thornton was assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for the hit and missed the final 35, or so, minutes of the game. Perron scored the Blues’ second goal of the game about 10 minutes after the incident. For those who haven’t seen the hit, it can be seen above.
Shortly after the play, I sent the following tweets:
From what I’ve read on other blogs and in their comments sections, I’m in the minority when I replied to Darren Pang’s tweet suggesting that Thornton should receive a suspension.
Is this a case where a taller player checking a shorter player results to shoulder contact with the head? Yes. However, the issue here is that the league is trying to get rid of the culture that seems to suggest these hits are “ok”.
Was this a dirty play by Thornton where he lead with his elbow and targeted the head? No. However, I’d classify this play as being undisciplined. The players know the league is cracking down – there is some confusion by the players as to what is being called and what is not – but the point of these harsh rulings are for players to think twice before they try and knock someone into next week – or body-check with more control.
This will take a lot of time to iron itself out but recall right after the lockout with the new enforcement on hooking and interference, there seemed to be a penalty every few minutes – but the players adjusted. Do I think the NHL has been spot-on with every ruling regarding head-shots? Absolutely not, but I like the efforts to reduce head-shots which are damaging to our sport and, more importantly, the players.
About the Author
Written by Alex Wasserstrom
Native Californian, former minor league pro, and current men's league superstar, Alex Wasserstrom is ProSportsBlogging.com's San Jose Sharks correspondent. Wanna talk puck? Shoot him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow him on Twitter (@Awassers).