Saturday, February 12, 2011

NHL Suspends Godard, Gillies, Martin and Fines Islanders 100K in Wake of Friday's Action

The fallout from the brawl on Long Island between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders on Friday night has finally come down and some of the punishments were of the longer variety. 
The league handed out suspensions to three players who were involved in different on-ice altercations during the game.  Pittsburgh’s Eric Godard was suspended 10 games, while Islanders forwards Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin were suspended for nine and four games respectively.

Update: Lemeiux Responds Harshly Against League; Is He Right, a Hypocrite or Both?
We all knew that Eric Godard of the Pittsburgh Penguins was going to get 10 games because that was the automatic suspension for leaving the bench.  I still firmly believe that Godard did the right thing, regardless of the penalty, in defending his goaltender from getting into a fight with a guy who is an enforcer.  He knew what the penalty would be before he left the bench and he still made the decision to do so, whether right or wrong that it is automatically that amount regardless of circumstance is a different debate.
Islanders forward Matt Martin 4 games for his attempted sucker-punch of Penguins forward Max Talbot.  From Martin’s perspective I am sure it was seen as some sort of retribution for the hit Talbot put on Blake Comeau in the last meeting these two teams had, but a sucker-punch is never the way to go about doing it.  Martin received a major fighting penalty, ten minute misconduct and a game misconduct for his altercation with Talbot.
Winner of the ugliest moment of the game award has to go to Trevor Gillies of the New York Islanders for his flying elbow to the head of Penguins forward Eric Tangradi and subsequent punching of Tangradi in the back of the head while he was on the ice.  Tangradi would remain on the ice for some time and was treated by the Islanders medical staff and is said to have received a concussion as a result of the actions that Gillies took. 
While nine games might seem like a lot, I believe that Gillies got off easy for his blatant intent to injure Tangradi.  His actions in the elbow itself, the punching of the player in the back of the head while face down on the ice and then standing in the ramp way off the ice taunting the kid as he attempted to get back to his feet and then congratulating his teammate for fighting a goalie added up to one of the most disgusting displays I have seen in a long time.  Nine games sitting out will not change Trevor Gillies or how he plays the game, and neither will a longer suspension.  One day he will get his; players who play with that disrespect and malice for their fellow competitors always do.
Along with the suspension the NHL also fined the Islander 100K dollars.  The Penguins were not fined and coach Dan Bylsma will not be suspended for tomorrow’s game against the New York Rangers.