January 29, 2014
Justin Haché is missing games that are critical for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for an illegal check to the head, even though it's evident he caught a player with his head down.
Last Saturday, the 19-year-old Eagles defender and Phoenix Coyotes selected kayoed Halifax Mooseheads wing Philippe Gadoury, who "appeared to be looking at the puck" — a no-no — a split-second before contact. Haché has received a three-game ban from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which seems about right since Gadoury emerged without a significant injury.
Is that a sign there is progress on realizing that while it's generally the best policy to keep one's head up, it's not always possible in a fast-paced game with a puck that tends to bounce and roll? The burden is still going to fall on the open-ice hitter.
“I think the biggest thing, if you are looking for consistency, is any kind of a hit where there is head contact or if a player is in a vulnerable position where he can’t protect himself," Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. "So, head contact or vulnerable position that results in injury, you are looking at a suspension.”
That's the way it is. Gadoury, as of Tuesday, hasn't been ruled out for Halifax's 3-in-3 road trip through Quebec this weekend. The Eagles won without Haché in the lineup on Sunday. The veteran will also miss games this week against Victoriaville and Moncton, the two teams immediately below 10th-place Cape Breton in the QMJHL standings.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.