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Rangers’ Carl Hagelin suspended 3 games for Alfredsson head shot; fair or too severe?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

For all the naysayers asking for Brendan Shahanan and the Dept. of Player Safety to sack up and make a statement as the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs reach new levels of brutality every night, here you go: Carl Hagelin, New York Rangers rookie, suspended for three playoff games in a 1-1 series for an elbow to the head of Daniel Alfredsson:

From the NHL:

New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin has been suspended for three games for elbowing Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson during Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in New York on Saturday, April 14, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 10:32 of the second period. Hagelin was assessed a major penalty for elbowing. Alfredsson suffered an injury as a result of the hit.

Interesting that Alfredsson's stick coming up on the play was emphasized as not being a factor in Hagelin's hit. It was part of the Rangers' defense in the hearing, as Hagelin explained after the game (via ESPN NY):

"I tried to finish my check and he chipped it out and kind of went back a bit, so my elbow came up, so his stick kind of came up in my face and I kind of moved my head back a bit and my elbow kind of hit him in the head," Hagelin said. "I just hope he's doing well and that he can play (Monday night)."

(Hagelin sent Alfredsson a text message apologizing for the hit, incidentally.)

But it's also interesting because it's the argument Andrew Shaw is making after having run into Mike Smith in last night's Chicago vs. Phoenix game, earning his own hearing.

There's no question that the victim is significant in this crime.

Daniel Alfredsson, Senators captain and NHL All-Star, whose status for Game 3 is 50/50. It's probably the reason Hagelin received one more game than Byron Bitz did for his boarding major suspension on Kyle Clifford.

Does the punishment fit the crime? It's a statement, for sure, on a series that's gotten progressively nastier as the Rangers got physical in Game 1 and the Senators went overboard in Game 2 to respond.

Using the old metric, this amounts to a six game suspension in the regular season, and the going rate for Shanabans on head-shots has been five games. So, in that sense, it's consistent with what he's been selling the players this season. But we doubt the Rangers would agree.

UPDATE: The Rangers have released the following statement on the suspension:

The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal.  However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs.  We will have no further comment on this decision.

Nice use of perplexed.

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