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Sammy Blais suspended for two games.The NHL suspended St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais for two games for a hit during the opening match-up of the season against the Colorado Avalanche. The hit came at the four-minute and 43-second mark of the first period.Blais was whistled for elbowing against Devon Toews. The play started in the Colorado Avalanche zone with Blais passing the puck to Colton Parayko, who then moves the puck to Torey Krug. Krug stick-handles with a little bit of a toe drag and fires the puck on the net.This is when the fun happens. Krug’s shot is blocked and Toews pushes the puck behind the net. Blais now becomes a forechecker and goes after the puck. Blais makes what appears to be heavy contact with Toews who immediately drops to the ice like he had been the recipient of a Mike Tyson right hook. The referee raises his hand but Play continued.Blais is given a two-minute minor for elbowing. Okay, that is the “facts” has released by the NHL. What do you say that we review what really happened? Does the punishment fit the crime? The link to the player safety video is below.https://www.nhl.com/video/blais-suspended-two-games/t-277440360/c-7240044The Facts. First and foremost, Blais did make slight contact with Toews’s head. The NHL player safety stated that this was an avoidable contact. Questionable!! They also remarked that Blais lines up Toews for a hit. What the NHL missed, is that Blais was playing the puck. In fact, you can see in the picture below before the hit happens Blais’s stick is on the puck and his head is looking at the puck. This was neither an intentional hit nor could Blais have missed him. Toews who is also playing the puck has his head down and puts his head down just before the contact.The Punishment.The two-game suspension is very harsh. In the past players who are considered repeat offenders have been given one-game suspensions and fines for hits far worse. Toews went into concussion protocol but quickly returned to the ice logging 22 minutes and 17 seconds of ice time. Missing at the most four minutes of ice time.In my opinion, the NHL has set a precedent. If you hit them in the head, you are going to sit. It will be remarkably interesting to observe what happens to other players that are accused of hits to the head during the season. Will other similar plays automatically result in two-game suspensions or more if a player is a repeat offender. My problem with the punishment is, it does not fit the crime. The most that this should have warranted is a fine.Blues vs Avalanche Game Two 15 January Bell Center. 8 PM CST.
Jeremy Rutherford of athletic.com released a tweet saying that Mike Hoffman’s visa issues have been resolved, and he will be in the lineup. That should be the only change from game one for the Blues.
For Colorado Avalanche the top two are being tweaked, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, stated: “One-game into the season, the avalanche is mixing up it’s top two lines after the second threesome finished a combined -9 in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to St. Louis on opening night.”I look for the Blues to follow the exact same game plan used on Wednesday night. I expect the Avalanche to take what the blues give them and use the outside of the zone to try and draw the blues in to clear up the center of the ice.Discipline, patience, and trusting the system will be extremely important as the Blues try to open the season two and 0 and put the Stanley Cup favorites into a bit of a hole.Note from NHL.com
Should be a great game.Look for me to do lives on Facebook. I will be on the BlueNote Fan Report Facebook page. Great to have Hockey back and see the boys, “in white” (they are away) back on the ice.