Maxim Lapierre gets excessive 4-game suspension for Nichol hit

As you saw Friday morning, Montreal Canadiens winger Maxime Lapierre's "garbage" hit from behind on Scott Nichol(notes) of the San Jose Sharks last night was obvious and injurious.

But enough for a four-game suspension?

For what, grinning after he wasn't penalized?

He's a pest and a cheap-shot artist, for sure. So this is yet again another reputation-based suspension, combined with penalizing the injury rather than action. Did he deserve a suspension? Of course, because it was a completely unsportsmanlike play. Should it be four games? No, about half that total.

But he's Maxime Lapierre; he doesn't get that leeway, even as a first-time Wheel of Justice offender. And this is the first big incident since the Olympics, so there's not the fatigue that limited Curtis Glencross's suspension earlier this season. From the NHL:

Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre(notes) has been suspended for four games, without pay, for a late hit on San Jose Sharks forward Scott Nichol during NHL game #949, last night, the National Hockey league announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Lapierre will forfeit $14,248.72. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

At 1:50 of the third period, Lapierre knocked Nichols into the end boards with a late, careless hit. Nichol was injured on the play and did not return to the game. No penalty was assessed on the play.

Lapierre will miss games on March 6 at Los Angeles, March 7 at Anaheim, March 9 against Tampa and March 11 against Edmonton. He will be eligible to return March 13 against Boston.

So how many games does referee Chris Lee(notes) get for standing there like a nimrod as Lapierre earns a four-game suspension on a non-penalized play?

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