Everyone knows that the NHL is cracking down on hits to the head. And yet, somehow Colin Campbell, the NHL’s principal disciplinarian, has managed to let one of the dirtiest hits of the year go unpunished.
While most of the hockey world has been focusing in on the four-game suspension levied against Atlanta Thrashers forward Ben Eager for his sucker punch against Colby Armstrong during Toronto’s 9-1 rout, hockey fans in Detroit are still in disbelief over the fact that the Tom Kostopoulos is still a free man.
During the third period of last night’s game between the Calgary Flames and the Detroit Red Wings, Kostopoulos charged in from his own defensive blue line and laid a vicious hit to the head of the unsuspecting Brad Stuart. Sounds like a hit worthy of supplemental discipline, right? It turns out Kostopoulos received two minutes for roughing. Ben Eager already received his punishment from the NHL, yet nothing has come out in regards to the disciplinary action that will taken against Kostopoulos and Detroit is frothing at the mouth with malice. Oh, did I mention he broke Stuart’s jaw in the process and the Detroit defender will miss 8 weeks.
Rule 48 states that Illegal checks to the head are defined as “a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted.”
The NHL already looks bad enough in not laying into Kostopoulos right after the act. They may be “assessing” the hit and trying to come up with an appropriate punishment, but the intent to injure was undeniable and clear to everyone in the building. Hand him his 10-game suspension and move on already.