Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Penguins' Kris Letang Suspended Two Games For Boarding Alex Burmistrov

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's ruler on player discipline, has handed out his latest suspension, this time it was for two games to Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang was called for a two-minute minor penalty during the third period of Monday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets when he rode Alexander Burmistrov into the boards in the offensive zone.

Shanahan stressed in his explanation that Letang clearly acted as if he knew Burmistrov would get the puck first, making this not a race for the puck but a defensive play by Letang.  Also factoring into the decision were the "predictable" path that Burmistrov took to the puck making it Letang's responsibility to let up on the check and the fact that Letang was fined for a similar hit in April 2011.

The two game suspension is somewhat surprising given that there was no injury on the play and that Letang has never been previously suspended.  A fine or a one-game suspension likely would have been sufficient, but it appears the fact that Letang was recently fined had a large impact on both the decision to suspend and the length of punishment given.