Friday, October 18, 2013

Maxim Lapierre Suspended Five Games for Illegal Hit on Dan Boyle

Maxim Lapierre will receive a five game suspension for his violent hit from behind against Sharks d-man Dan Boyle, the NHL's Player Safety Department announced on Friday. The hit resulted in Boyle getting his jaw smashed into the boards and going unconscious on Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Lapierre will forfeit $28,205.15 in pay. He already has served one game of the suspension.

Other than the fact Boyle flew back to San Jose and texted a journalist, nothing is known about the severity of his injuries.

Above you will see the hit that put Boyle in this state. It's a somewhat innocuous play from the beginning, but the single most important thing to note is that Boyle has his back to Lapierre, and Lapierre has several seconds to recognize this fact and tailor his body check to the situation.

Instead the Blues forward rubs Boyle out with a hard hit that sends the defenseman to the hospital. Now, it could be said that Boyle turned away from an oncoming forechecker on the play, and this is true. But what also must be noted is that Lapierre was aware of the the fact that Boyle had turned away, thus he had time to pull back instead of taking advantage of the fact that Boyle was exposed as an easy target.

Shanahan is clear to point this out in his assessment of the situation. He does a thorough job of explaining the mitigating circumstances, and then he hits Lapierre with the suspension. It's the right call, explained the right way, and it's out there as teaching fodder for anyone who is smart enough to pay attention.

If you can see the other players numbers, it's time to pull back on the hit. Hockey is rough enough without back-stabbing hits. We saw that with Jacob Trouba tonight. Whether or not Lapierre's intentions were malicious, the ultimate result was a severely injured and unconscious player that was hit from behind.