Well, dear readers, this weekend trip to New York, already astonishingly for so many reasons, will apparently get even more shocking later today. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the team is preparing a statement to be issued in response to the NHL’s disciplinary action taken against the New York Islanders.
Can’t say I saw this coming, and I don’t know what this statement will say. All I can say is that Penguins owners rarely make negative public statements regarding league decisions.
Late Saturday the Islanders were fined $100,000 as a team for their involvement in Friday’s ugly “game” against the Penguins, one that featured 346 penalty minutes – third most in the NHL since 1990.
Penguins RW Eric Godard was suspended 10 games for leaving the bench to join a fight, a mandatory suspension by NHL rules. Bylsma could have been suspended because of Godard’s act, but the NHL opted not to pass that judgment.
Islanders LW Trevor Gillies was suspended nine games, with LW Matt Martin suspended four games.
A look at the NHL’s official statement on the disciplinary action, which was taken late Saturday:
TORONTO (February 12, 2011) — The National Hockey League announced today a series of disciplinary actions against the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins resulting from NHL Game #823, Feb. 11.
New York Islanders forward Trevor Gillies has been suspended for nine games for delivering a blow to the head and then administering several punches to the Penguins’ Eric Tangradi, who was injured by Gillies’ actions; Matt Martin has been suspended for four games as a result of delivering several punches from behind to an unsuspecting opponent (the Penguins’ Max Talbot); and Penguins forward Eric Godard was suspended automatically for 10 games under Rule 70.11 for leaving the players’ bench for the purpose of engaging in an altercation.
In addition to the suspensions, Gillies will lose $24,193.53 in salary; Martin will forfeit $41,585.36 (repeat offender); and Godard $40,322.25. The Islanders organization has also been fined $100,000.
Martin was assessed a game misconduct under Rule 46.2 at 5:21 of the second period; Gillies was assessed a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct at 4:47 of the third period; and Godard received a game misconduct for leaving the bench at 4:47 of the third period.
The disciplinary action was announced by NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell following in-person hearings with the Islanders this evening in Buffalo.
“The actions by the Islanders’ Gillies and Martin were deliberate attempts to injure by delivering blows to the head of players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves,” said Campbell. “The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension.
“With respect to the Godard suspension, there can be no circumstance that allows for a player to leave his bench for the purpose of coming to the aid of a teammate.
“The Islanders also must bear some responsibility for their failure to control their players,” Campbell added.
The player fine money goes to the NHL’s Emergency Assistance Fund. The Islanders fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.