AP Photo/Matt Slocum
On Monday night, the Capitals and Flyers squared off in Game 3. The Capitals crushed the Flyers 6-1 in the game. Unfortunately, the Flyers and their fans did not take the loss well.
In the 3rd period, Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare delivered a crushing hit to Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov along the boards. On Tuesday, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Bellemare was suspended for 1 game with this hit.
Here is a look back at Bellemare’s hit on Orlov:
Let’s take a look at similar hits that have occurred recently around the NHL:
Jets forward Evander Kane was suspended 2 games for boarding Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner
Oilers forward Matt Hendricks was suspended 3 games for boarding Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad
Blues forward Ryan Reaves was suspended 3 games for boarding Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson
IT IS NOT ENOUGH
After reviewing the video, Bellemare could have easily pulled up and not delivered the hit. When the sequence first started, Bellemare was 2-3 skating strides behind Orlov. When there is that much space in between 2 skaters, they have the necessary amount of time to adjust their speed.
Bellemare also delivered a forceful shove to the numbers of Dmitry Orlov. A clean check can be delivered with no forceful shove involved. Bellemare had time to slow down, and he could have still delivered a legal check along the boards.
This hit is very similar to other hits that have occurred around the NHL recently. It is puzzling that this hit only warranted a 1-game suspension. Generally, the NHL is a little more lenient with lengths of suspensions in the playoffs.
The NHL is still very inconsistent with suspensions. There are multiple hits that have occurred that are very similar in nature. But some of the hits have only drawn 1-game suspensions, while other hits have drawn 3-game suspensions.
While Orlov did not get hurt on this play, he could have easily sustained a major injury. The NHL Department of Player Safety needs to take this fact into account when dealing with future suspensions. Is a 1-game suspension a strong enough deterrent, and does it send a strong message around the NHL? No it does not. Some players will continue to deliver questionable hits like this one, because they know the NHL will not throw the book at them.
The NHL Department of Player Safety needs to send a stronger message, and they need to make the suspensions more severe. A stronger deterrent will lead to fewer shenanigans on the rinks.
By: George Foussekis