With Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolinen getting suspended three games for the hit on Pittsburgh Penguins Jake Guentzel under interference, the NHL Department of Player Safety has solidified a chance to send a clear message to the league. Whether that message remains consistent with the end of the season approaching only time will tell. Many fans have differing opinions and at times, coaches and players themselves can be seen questioning the DoPS with certain calls.
However it’s a good sign when it’s consistent with the two-game suspension on Leaf’s Polak, two-game suspension of Brandon Manning of the Philadelphia Flyers for interfering with Guentzel in the Stadium Series game and the recent two-game suspension of Flames Tkachuk. Pittsburgh Penguins Sestito with his four-game suspension is the heaviest punishment assessed recently for his hit on Jet Toby Enstrom.
For the Kings they dodged the loss of Gravel, with the Blue Jackets Bjorkstrand did not travel with the team with an undisclosed injury. With Doughty playing for the Kings last night the loss was also avoided but for the Penguins the loss of Jake Guentzel with a concussion is significant.
With Guentzel becoming a key piece in the first line for the Penguins it’s a big loss to an already decimated line-up. The rookie has collected 22 points – 11 Goals and 11 Assists in his first 33 NHL games. The true test will come as the playoffs approach and more desperate teams look to get a physical edge on teams who are already guaranteed a spot.
Image Source: department of player safety NHL