Is it just me, or is there a huge increase in suspensions this preseason versus previous ones? We all know that players play hard and sometimes take cheap shots at other players to try to impress the coaching staff in the preseason, but there have been quite a few instances of players getting hurt as a result of dirty hits or other offenses.
Ducks fans need not look further than a preseason game last week against the Phoenix Coyotes. Coyotes forward Frances Lessard was given a five-minute major and ejected from the game for a boarding call on a play in which he hammered Ducks prospect Ryan Donally from behind. The NHL recently suspended Lessard for the first three games of the regular season.
Former Ducks defender Sean O’Donnell of the LA Kings was suspended for five games, including three regular season games, for a cross check on Islanders’ forward Matt Martin. Martin had hit Kings’ defenceman Drew Doughty before O’Donnell came over to deliver the cross-check, for which O’Donnell was given a match penalty and game ejection. To see a clip of the play, though not a very good one, click here.
Last week Dion Phaneuf absolutely leveled Kyle Okposo on a clean, mid-ice hit. As a result of the hit, Okposo’s teammate Pascal Morency left the bench to start a fight with Phaneuf. Leaving the bench for a fight is one of the worst things a player can do in the eyes of the NHL, and the league came down hard on Morency. He was suspended for a total of 10 games, including five regular season games. To read about the incident and view a video, click here.