December 15, 2013
That earlier assumption the Portland Winterhawks would lose Brendan Leipsic for a few games in December is back in play.
It is fair comment that frustration got the better of the Nashville Predators prospect, who was one of the notable omissions from Canada's selection camp roster after competing at its summer development camp. Leipsic, who is one of the more aggravating players to face in the Western Hockey League in addition to be a high-scoring forward, got dumped on a play during the Seattle Thunderbirds-Winterhawks tilt on Saturday night. By the time he regained his feet and rejoined the fray, the T-Birds' Keegan Kolesar was launching a counter-attack. Leipsic took out his exasperation over the lack of a penalty call on Kolesar, hammering him with a dangerous check. The referees assessed a major and game misconduct.
The game had been chippy throughout — in fact, Seattle negated any advantage it should have accrued from the ensuing five-minute checking-to-the-head major by immediately taking two minor penalties. But league disciplinarians tend not to accept that as an alibi.
As for Leipsic, I know he's frustrated and angry at not getting a couple calls, but that was a bad decision and an ugly hit.
— Scott Sepich (@SSepich) December 15, 2013
There is always bad blood between the U.S. Division teams. Seattle's Evan Wardley received a four-game ban earlier this season over a charging major during a Nov. 1 game vs. the Winterhawks. That could be looked at a baseline for any supplemental discipline that might be dished out to Leipsic. Wardley's hit on Adam de Champlain was a literal bang-bang play whereas Leipsic's decision to try to put Kolesar into the middle of a Boxing Day sale looked premeditated. Emphasize looked.
The WHL has meted out seven multi-game suspensions for checks to the head this season, with Prince Albert's Mike Winther getting the longest, at four games. Overall, Leipsic has always been an endearing player because of his skill and on-the-edge style, but ultimately there are boundaries every player has to remain within.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.