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NHL Suspends Kostopoulos For Six Games

Toronto (January 9, 2011) – Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended for six games and will forfeit $29,569.92 in salary for delivering a blow to the head of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart in NHL game #609 on January 7, the National Hockey League announced today.

    “A number of factors were considered in reaching this decision,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.  “Kostopoulos delivered a blow to the head of an unsuspecting and vulnerable player. As well, he targeted the head of his opponent and, while the hit was not from the blindside, the head was the principle point of contact.

The fact that Brad Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered and the serious nature of the player’s injury were also considered in my decision.”

    Kostopoulos’ fine is based on his average annual salary and is calculated under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

    The incident occurred at 10:07 of the third period. He was assessed a minor penalty for roughing on the play.

    Kostopoulos will miss games Jan. 11 at Carolina, Jan. 14 at Ottawa, Jan. 15 at Toronto, Jan. 17 at Montreal, Jan. 19 against Minnesota and Jan. 21 against Dallas. He is eligible to return Jan. 22 at Vancouver.

If you missed the hit, you can watch it below.

added 5:07pm, Flames release a statement, read it below the video…

“We strongly disagree, not only with the length of the suspension, but also with the fact that Tom was suspended. While we are sorry the player was injured, we maintained in the hearing the hit was a legal check. The player was batting at the puck and Tom hit him in the chest and finished his check through him. He did not target the head, and we do not believe the head was the initial point of contact. We respect the difficult job Colin Campbell has to do in these situations, and we appreciate the opportunity we were afforded to present our case; however, we simply do not agree with the decision.”

Jay Feaster
Acting General Manager

“I’m extremely disappointed in the League’s ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal. I’m sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head. I maintain that I delivered a legal check to an opponent playing the puck. While I am upset with the League’s decision, I will serve the suspension in preparation for my return to the line-up to help my team.”

Tom Kostopoulos

Both the organization and Kostopoulos will have no further comment on the matter.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+stuart, tom+kostopoulos

Comments

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Shocking.  Suspension is too short, but longer than I realistically expected. 

Still, Stuart is out 6-8 weeks; something inherently unfair about the situation.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/09/11 at 06:15 PM ET

Neznarf's avatar

I’m content with the 6 game suspension, Kostopoulos deserves far more than that cause he’ll just come back and do something similar again, that’s how the dude earns a paycheck.  But just like the comment above; given the leagues concern for these kind of hits and their unwillingness to actually penalize players properly, 6 games is pretty decent.

Posted by Neznarf on 01/09/11 at 06:21 PM ET

edillac's avatar

does anyone else think that the Flames decided between themselves that someone from the Wings has to be injured?
and when the chance appeared,that generic plug did what was said to do?

I wouldnt put it past them

Posted by edillac from isolation on 01/09/11 at 06:22 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Six lousy games.  Fine but I want to him to actually go and see what his stupidity cost in the life of an NHL player.

Six…games.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 01/09/11 at 06:23 PM ET

Avatar

Eh. I was expecting 0-2 games from Old Colie, so this is far more appropriate of a punishment than I figured it would be. 6-8 games is probably about what I would have given Kostopoulos for this hit.

Posted by StevieSteve on 01/09/11 at 06:23 PM ET

JMK's avatar

No different than Steckel’s hit on Crosby.  Go figure.

Posted by JMK on 01/09/11 at 06:49 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

No one is ever going to be suspended nearly as long as a player who is subject to a blindside hit is out, so 6 games is the most that was going to happen.

Still, since he’s a repeat offender now, at least next time it should be more severe. Eventually he’ll get the message, I suppose.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 01/09/11 at 06:54 PM ET

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No different than Steckel’s hit on Crosby.

Except that it was verey, very different.

Go figure.

Posted by Garth on 01/09/11 at 07:05 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I personally think it was because of the physical style of play Stuey was playing.  A couple of times I saw him put Iggy on the ice and I have a nagging suspicion it was that tough play that made Kosopulous target him.  Those are the kind of players that can’t stand others being more “tough” than them but they can’t outplay the other guy, so they go for the cheap, late, intent to injure hit.  The fact the refs only called a roughing BLOWS my mind.  Stuey’s going to be missed, he had themost snarl vs. talenton the team.  Reminds me of the cheap/late hit on Drapes and D-Mac made Turtle pay the price.  Too bad we don’t have a Dmac on the team to exact revenge this time.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/09/11 at 07:05 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

btw that was after they let play continue, so after everythign they said, well he’s on the ground and bleeding from the head.. must’ve been roughing?????? 2 min??????  BLEEDING FROM THE HEAD as a result of the penalty incurred and it’s only 2 min?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/09/11 at 07:07 PM ET

Avatar

I figured they wouldn’t go more than 5, so this is actually an improvement which is sad.  I’m starting to think the NHL should adopt some type of hard suspension system.  First offense, you miss one game.  Second 5, third 10 and so on.  Of course, then all offenses would be considered equal.  Something needs to change however.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 01/09/11 at 07:07 PM ET

Paul's avatar

If you are following, I added statements from the Flames to the post.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/09/11 at 07:09 PM ET

torless's avatar

Unreal. Reason #5,678 that it is good to be a Wings fan. You would never hear the Wings brass publicly arguing over a decision like this - not only because they have class, and a respect for the game/all players - but because IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT WAS INTENTIONAL OR NOT. Even if Tom’s hit was unintentional, the best you can call it is reckless endangerment? How much better is that? You were completely careless and BROKE A DUDE’S JAW? Oh no, it’s cool because you didn’t mean it…

Posted by torless on 01/09/11 at 07:22 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

On the replay on last nights HNIC broadcast of it, you can CLEARLY see him jump up and to the left targetting Stuey’s head.

Let me present it this way.  IF he was trying to play the body of the player playing the puck (which the puck was inthe corner when Stuey was hit on the side of the net) then why does it appear he is going to skate in front of stuey until the last minute?  Because he wasn’t looking for the body, he was looking for the head.

Again, IF principle point of contact was the chest, the follow through on the head, then WHY CAN YOU CLEARLY SEE Stuey’s head whip around to his left a full second before the rest of his body catches up?  If he hit the chest first then the follow through got the head, the head would’ve snapped back (like the elbow franzen took in dallas that wasn’t called) but no, instead, magically, stuey gets hit in the chest, the the shoulder moves up the chest and into stueys had, whipping it around his neck, meanwhile exerting no force on the body, as stuey’s body didn’t move. 

i absolutely hate when the evidence is clear cut and they’d rather call us hockey fans stupid than say, we dont’ condone that type of hit on our team.  THATS why the problem will never be handled.  If you hit someone in the head (which by natureis intent to injure) then if you do a bang up job, you’ll get 6 games and your team willback you 100 percent, so where’s the initiative to respect players onthe opposing team?  He’s a goon and I hope stuey gets back and drops him a full year later, just when he thinks he’s off the hook for it.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/09/11 at 07:28 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

unfair length of suspension?

dudes a repeat offender and Stu’s out 6 to 8 weeks because he BROKE. HIS. JAW.

how anyone can actually believe that this wasn’t a headshot/ legal hit amazes me

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 07:57 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Gotta agree with Feaster on this hit, as well as Milbury and his comments last night. Unfair length of suspension.
Posted by PuckHound61 from Speckville USA on 01/09/11 at 05:41 PM ET

Just because you lost last night doesn’t mean you have to come here to try and stir up sh*t.  Poor loser.

Posted by calquake on 01/09/11 at 08:01 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

Posted by calquake on 01/09/11 at 06:01 PM ET


+1

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 08:03 PM ET

Avatar

Uh, and nothing for Steckel or Hedman?  Seriously, no blood equals no suspension.  No convulsing on the ice equals no suspension.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 01/09/11 at 08:05 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 01/09/11 at 06:05 PM ET


Im surprised Ol’ Consistent Competent Collie took action on this one.

To say the leagues punishment/ enforcement policy is a bit of a joke is an understatement, and add to the equation jagoffs like Milbury and Feaster who are defending this garbage and criticizing the league and you get a rightly fuched system.

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 08:17 PM ET

calquake's avatar

. I’m sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him

I hope when Brad returns he hits you with a legal check… and breaks your fuching jaw.  Of course, not intending to injure you.

Posted by calquake on 01/09/11 at 08:23 PM ET

Avatar

I would have liked eight to ten games, but six is still noteworthy considering the baffoons making the decision.

As for the poster that stated it was the same as the hit on his Holiness, wow… Put down the bong and watch some hockey.  Don’t let the rosie yellow and black coloured glasses fool you.

Posted by Unicorn Force from DC (but like everyone here, I'm not a local) on 01/09/11 at 08:49 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

So he sits out comfortably for six games while Stuart misses six weeks suffering pain from a jaw broken in two places and his team misses his services while contending for a playoff home spot.  Sounds like the normal chicken-crap NHL version of fair.

Repeat offender fourth time, he should be suspended as long as Stuart misses.
 
Any bets on how long the suspension would have been had the recipient been Crosby?  Lifetime ban anyone?  When is the NHL going to get serious about hits to the head as the GMs have stated they want?

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 01/09/11 at 08:54 PM ET

Boxcar's avatar

Yes you Red Wing fans are right, if your player is hurt it is an absolute outrage,  It is unfathomable, an abomination!
Last year I saw a highlight reel of Pavel Datsuk’s hits, even Ron Maclean noticed every one was from behind. And Tomas Holmstrum, we won’t even go there. If the hit had happened against say Tampa, no six game suspension.
Now, if a player is hurt, it’s a suspension, automatically. Theoretically a player could skate backwards down the ice, therefore putting himself in a vulnerable position and he would not be allowed to be hit.
Just once it would be nice to hear a coach say “He shouldn’t have been admiring his pass” or ” I guess he should have had his head up”, now they scream like babies for a suspension.
The only puzzler is Crosby getting a dirty blind side from Steckl with no suspension. Guess Mr. Campbell (Colie to his defenders) isn’t lookin for a job with Pittsburgh when he is done with his current gig.

Posted by Boxcar on 01/09/11 at 08:55 PM ET

Avatar

Any bets on how long th/e suspension would have been had the recipient been
Crosby?  Lifetime ban anyone

Does it make you feel good to say things that aren’t true?

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 01/09/11 at 09:24 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Just once it would be nice to hear a coach say “He shouldn’t have been admiring his pass” or “ I guess he should have had his head up”, now they scream like babies for a suspension.

Apparently you haven’t been watching hockey for very long. It’s already been said.

Randy Carlyle re: a blind side hit on Hudler by Mike Brown .  “He shouldn’t have been admiring his own pass.”  May 2009.

Kostopoulos should have been gone for at least 10.


Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 01/09/11 at 09:24 PM ET

Avatar

I would have suspended Steckel too.

This despite that—given his body language—you could make a strong argument that the hit was an accident. At least to me, from the replay, it looked like Steckel got excited trying to join the rush, wasn’t paying enough attention to the fact that Crosby wasn’t looking and tried to avoid the collision (when it was already too late).

Regardless, I don’t think intent should be a factor in this sort of call. It should be like high-sticking—very few players actually TRY to whack an opponent in the face, but it’s understood that each player is responsible his own stick, and accidents are not an excuse.

When playing a fast and dangerous game like hockey, players need to understand that they are capable of causing serious damage—including broken bones and permanent brain damage—to other players if they aren’t careful. Players need to be held responsible for being aware of their own body and the vulnerability of their opponent.

Freak accidents will always occur every now and then. But this was not a freak accident. This was unnecessary and avoidable. I don’t care if it was “unintentional.” It was reckless. Just like Steckel’s hit on Crosby. And in my mind, “reckless” isn’t a much of an excuse.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 01/09/11 at 09:29 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

Posted by Boxcar on 01/09/11 at 06:55 PM ET

has Datsyuk ever put someone on IR with a hit? no.

you might want to make your point here a little more clear because I have no idea where the fuch your going with any of this, but a blindside hit to the head that a player has no chance of protecting himself from is dirty and I dont care who its coming from.

and if your whining about how Campbell doesn’t like the Pen(i)s your in the wrong place. remember his free pass to Malkin for instigating at the end of game 2 in the ‘09 finals?

Campbell and his policies are a joke and he should be out of a job, period

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 10:11 PM ET

Avatar

and if your whining about how Campbell doesn’t like the Pen(i)s your in the wrong place. remember his free pass to Malkin for instigating at the end of game 2 in the ‘09 finals?

It wasn’t a free pass.  The rules say it’s to the discretion of Campbell, who also did the same thing with Scott Walker.  Just a reminder as some people forget that.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 01/09/11 at 10:35 PM ET

Avatar

and if your whining about how Campbell doesn’t like the Pen(i)s your in the wrong place. remember his free pass to Malkin for instigating at the end of game 2 in the ‘09 finals?

The only person that rule applies to is Nick Boynton. The list of guys who’ve had that “automatic” suspension waived is, like, 30 deep.

Plus, there’s no such thing as suspensions in Campbell’s playoffs unless the other guy’s dead.

Posted by StevieSteve on 01/09/11 at 10:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Wait… Colin Campbell has a sack?  Shocking.

Oh no wait, the Wheel of Justice just happened to turn up right this time.  I still say a more fair punishment would be for the Flames to be without Regehr or Bouwmeester for 6 - 8 weeks.

By the way, everyone can STFU about Steckel’s hit on Crosby.  What you all conveniently leave out is that a bit earlier Crosby delivered a nasty two-handed slash that went unpunished that EVERYONE on the NBC crew noted and commented on, including Pierre.

It’s called karma.

Posted by Primis on 01/09/11 at 11:05 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

yeah but my point was he doesn’t have it out for the pens, he’s just incapable of doing his job.

like why make a rule that your going to selectively choose to enforce, and then never apply it?

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 11:23 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

It wasn’t a free pass.  The rules say it’s to the discretion of Campbell, who also did the same thing with Scott Walker.  Just a reminder as some people forget that.

- pens fan in baltimore

Yeah, I’ve got nothing against the non suspension on Malkin.  Campbell goes on vacation during the playoffs. Even then, I’d rather see him discipline sucker punches like Walker’s than enforce nebulous automatic suspension rules. 

I can understand how a complete numbfuck like Milbury doesn’t think this hit deserves a suspension, but I’m most disappointed in humanity to find out he has supporters.  Seeing how Calgary’s GM has the same thought process as the worst GM in NHL history, I guess they can enjoy the perpetual rebuild.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 01/09/11 at 11:24 PM ET

koalacaust's avatar

http://www.downgoesbrown.com/2009/11/nhl-suspensions.html

nevermind, this explains everything…

Posted by koalacaust on 01/09/11 at 11:28 PM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

I think the only fair solution would be for the league to blindfold Kostopolous in the spot Stuart was standing, the red wings to designate one of their players, preferably Kronwall, to skate up at full speed and lay whatever hit on that he feels warranted.  Then we’ll call the whole thing even.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 01/10/11 at 01:36 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I’m not saying that I agree with it at all, but I think a biggest two factors Campbell uses when he decides on a suspension length are 1) was there an injury involved and what is the severity of that injury? and 2) does the offending player have any disciplinary history with the NHL?

Obviously, I have no inside information, but if you look at the pattern of how he’s suspended guys over his tenure, it seems like this is how he makes his decision.

As for people saying this shouldn’t have resulted in a suspension, and the various absurd arguments… I don’t even know where to start.

First, Stuart’s head wasn’t down and he wasn’t “admiring his own pass.” The puck came up off the initial shot and he was trying to bat it down and clear it away from the net. So, any of this “macho old Canadian male” shit about how the responsibility is on the victim is complete crap. Stuart was playing hockey in a completely normal fashion. He was vulnerable to a hard check, and a hard, clean check, would’ve been a totally legit play there.

Second, if you read rule 48, you see that it specifically says “blind side” OR “lateral” hits. I would agree that in this hit, it appears that Stuart is able to see Kostopoulos in his peripherals. But even if he sees him, the hit was still “lateral” and still hit his head. The whole point is to rid headshots from the game. So, I’m not really sure that the intent is relevant. Let’s just say that Feaster and Kostopoulos are right, and the hit wasn’t an elbow, fist, or forearm. The league has said that shoulder hits to the head still fall under this rule. This means that hits that were previously clean hits are now illegal. So, even if we dice it in the most favorable light for Kostopoulos, the hit is still, at a minimum, a lateral hit that hits Stuart’s head; therefore, it breaks the rule.

Lastly, I don’t see what Sidney Crosby has to do with this. And that goes to the Wings fans talking about him, as well as the Pens fans, and everyone else. It’s not relevant to whether or not Kostopoulos deserved this suspension or not. If you want to argue that the decision on this hit and the lack of action on the Stekel and Hedman hits shows inconsistency, that’s fine, because we all know that Campbell’s decisions have been nothing but spotty and erratic. But I think it’s absurd to say there’s a bias from either perspective because if you look at all the disciplinary decisions over the last few years, you can’t find any rhyme or reason.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/10/11 at 10:13 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

lay whatever hit on that he feels warranted

Does this include a dropkick?

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 01/10/11 at 10:58 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

If Kostopolous is given 15-games, these hits disappear.
Once again, Colie missed a perfect opportunity. Kostopolouos isn’t even close to being a superstar and would have been the perfect player to make an example of.

But that’s what happens when your head is 12” deep into every NHL coach and GM’s ass.
Colie’s gotten a taste for his drinking buddie’s bum-holes and he can’t help himself.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/10/11 at 11:07 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

So he sits out comfortably for six games while Stuart misses six weeks suffering pain from a jaw broken in two places and his team misses his services while contending for a playoff home spot.  Sounds like the normal chicken-crap NHL version of fair.

Repeat offender fourth time, he should be suspended as long as Stuart misses.

You’re providing too much logic in your statement. Colleen Campbell has no need for logic.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/10/11 at 11:15 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Lastly, I don’t see what Sidney Crosby has to do with this. And that goes to the Wings fans talking about him, as well as the Pens fans, and everyone else.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/10/11 at 08:13 AM ET

Wings fans weren’t the ones that brought him up and started crybabying about the Steckel hit.

If Kostopolous is given 15-games, these hits disappear.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/10/11 at 09:07 AM ET

Agreed.  Or 20 games even.  Something so significant that these talentless 4th liners or AHLer clowns might permanently lose their NHL jobs if they deliver a hit like this.  Because right now, Calgary will still just wait for him to come back and pretend it didn’t happen.

If it’s 20 games though… is he out of a job?  Maybe.

Posted by Primis on 01/10/11 at 11:26 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Wings fans weren’t the ones that brought him up and started crybabying about the Steckel hit.

I know they weren’t, but the reason I said it is because there were plenty of Wings fans trolling when Crosby got concussed. My post has no credibility if I don’t try to distance myself from that foolishness.

If Kostopolous is given 15-games, these hits disappear.
Once again, Colie missed a perfect opportunity. Kostopolouos isn’t even close to being a superstar and would have been the perfect player to make an example of.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/10/11 at 09:07 AM ET

I agree, big time. The problem that Campbell is faced with is he didn’t lay down the law on the FIRST hit to violate the new rule. He should’ve done it then. So now, if he does it, whether it was on this hit, or any of the other hits this season that have fallen under the rule, there would be a shitstorm in the media and in the league—“How come [such and such] wasn’t suspended 15 games?”

I’m not saying its right, but I can understand the influence that would have. But I still think you are right. At some point, when one of these hits happens again in the very near future, Campbell needs to say, “Enough!” and sit someone down for 15 games, and explain that it’s time to get serious about this.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/10/11 at 11:43 AM ET

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