December 06, 2011
After Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo(notes) charged into Ryan Miller(notes) on Saturday night, Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff opined after the game that he believed it was "open season" on goaltenders.
(Keep in mind that Tootoo was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct on Saturday.)
Here was his team's No. 1 netminder getting run into again three weeks after a collision with Milan Lucic(notes) of the Boston Bruins that caused Miller to miss eight games in a incident that went unpunished by the NHL.
This time around the NHL thought differently and decided to suspend Tootoo for a pair of games.
Here's Sheriff Shanahan explaining the decision:
From the NHL:
Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo has been suspended, without pay, for two games for charging Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller during NHL Game #379 Saturday night, Dec. 3, in Nashville, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Tootoo will forfeit $13,513.52. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 15:54 of the second period. Tootoo was assessed a major penalty for charging and game misconduct on the play.
Tootoo will miss games tonight vs. Phoenix and Dec. 8 at Columbus. He will be eligible to return Dec. 10 vs. Anaheim.
Shanahan explains that even though Tootoo is going hard to the net, he needs to find a way to change his course towards Miller or do his best in trying to minimize contact, which we believe -- in his mind -- he tried to do by jumping over the Sabres' goaltender. That ended up creating a biggest collision, and as Shanahan notes, making contact with Miller's head.
The other big key is the lack of a shove by Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff(notes). Shanahan explains that depending on the situation, the call on the ice -- in this case, Tootoo getting a game misconduct -- is sufficient enough punishment, but the fact that Ehrhoff does not shove him into Miller played into the 2-game decision.
This suspension should allow Lindy Ruff to rest his fears about it being open season on goaltenders now. If you're going to collide with a goalie while they're still in the crease now, be ready to sit a couple of games.