Congratulations are in order to Derek Mackenzie, who on Friday achieved the dubious distinction of being the first NHLer suspended in 2014.
His crime? Boarding Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Thursday night's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Mackenzie's Blue Jackets. His time? Three games.
My take: Stupid hit. Ban deserved.
Patrick Burke's take is a little more nuanced. As he explains in the video, there are three things that make it suspendable.
Mackenzie sees nothing but OEL's numbers, for one thing, and for another, the Coyote defender doesn't turn or make any movement that would contribute to him going dangerously face-first into the boards.
"In spite of all of this," Burke says, "not only does Mackenzie finish the check, but he does so with significant force."
No kidding. Look at him throw his weight into this hit. Any time you see a guy commit this much to making an obviously illegal check, a suspension is all but guaranteed.
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