Philadelphia Flyers winger Daniel Carcillo's(notes) sucker-punch of Matt Bradley(notes) of the Washington Capitals has now cost him 29 penalty minutes in last night's 8-2 embarrassment on home ice and an additional four games from the NHL, which suspended him today.
Welcome to Philadelphia, Peter Laviolette.
We're sure members of the Flyers Persecution Complex will call the penalty excessive, as Carcillo was "the first player in NHL history to draw 29 minutes in penalties without drawing a single minute from his opponent." They'll reprint Carcillo's postgame recollection of the sequence of events, even if the facts tell a different story.
The Flyers, of course, support their goon, now on his third NHL suspension. From the team's official site and GM Paul Holmgren:
"Decisions come down from the league...do I agree with them all? No. I certainly do not agree with this one. We do not have a lot of recourse in this situation. Dan will serve his suspension, and we will move on."
Carcillo was a Holmgren project that Laviolette now inherits, and Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports imagines the new coach is OK with this bit of discipline.
Was it the right call by the NHL?
First, here's the sucker-punch on Bradley last night:
Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau offered his take on the play, via the Washington Times:
"[Bradley] might have been ready, but as he was dropping his gloves, Carcillo was already cold cocked and ready to throw them. He knew as soon as Bradley was ready to accept his challenge, the punch was there and [Bradley]'s gloves and hands were still down [at his waist].
"No matter how you cut it -- and it's not like this guy is in his first year and first chance doing it -- whether it is in this league or in the American League where I saw him for two years, he was just as big an idiot there. It is just a dirty play."
The argument can be made that Bradley was going to fight Carcillo, and that the "sucker punch" was merely being "the quicker draw." It's not the correct argument, because Carcillo ended up leveling a defenseless player before the fight began ... but we at least understand the sentiment.
And this is why the NHL's system of justice is one of the biggest punch-lines in professional sports.