Ealier today, Maxim Lapierre, the player responsible for hitting San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, was handed a five-game suspension by the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety.
The suspension is Lapierre’s first in the last 18 months and thus under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement does not qualify as a repeat offender. For anyone who follows hockey at all, Lapierre is far from a first time offender and thus the five-game suspension has already created some backlash.
The NHL explains their case in this video, as they do with all suspensions handed out. There were a few good points made in the video, one being that because Boyle’s toe hit the boards and knocked him off-balance which “made him more vulnerable, and contributed to the violent result.” However, Lapierre went to finish the check anyway with nothing but the numbers facing him, thus he still received five games. For the full video, see it below.
The one point that is a little surprising is the fact that Lapierre’s history was still taken into account due to a previous suspension, even though he does not have a history of hits in the new CBA. For this I applaud the Department of Player Safety for realizing when to take this type of thing into account seeing as they really did not have to.
Like it or not, Lapierre was suspended five games for the hit, and at the very least is paying for his crime. But, does the punishinment fit the crime? Some say yes, others say no, but when you take into consideration the hit by Patrick Kaleta who received 10 games for a head-shot and is definitely a repeat offender, it seems at least somewhat justified.