Calgary Flames’ winger Rene Bourque was suspended for two games following an illegal hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook during last nights game between the two teams. Bourque had a hearing today with the chief of player safety Brendan Shanahan and received only the two game suspension as Shanahan noted that Seabrook wasn’t seriously injured and that Bourque has no previous history of fines or suspensions in his seven year NHL career. Bourque received a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct, while Seabrook was visibly shaken up and left the game right after the play. Fortunately and surprisingly for the Hawks, Seabrook was able to join the team in Pittsburgh for tomorrow’s matchup against the Penguins, though it has not been confirmed that he will play. This is exactly the type of hit they are trying to eliminate from the game altogether.
In addition, Bruins forward Milan Lucic was suspended one game for a hit on Philly’s Zac Rinaldo. This one is significantly less scary than the Bourque hit, in fact I was much more interested in the post-hit scrum between Simmonds and Lucic that was so rudely interrupted by Adam McQuaid. Lucic also received a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct, but probably wouldn’t have been suspended had this been his first meeting with Shanahan. In case you missed it, Lucic narrowly escaped suspension after his forceful attack on Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller earlier this season.
The NHL is really making an effort to put an end to the checks from behind and hits to the head, as they should. It’s horrible to see these guys get concussions with symptoms that continue to linger and linger as in the case of Sidney Crosby. I, along with every other hockey fan, would love to be watching Sid on the ice, but careless hits like these are the very reason why some of the best players are no longer in the game.