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NHL fines but does not suspend Joffrey Lupul for cross-check to Red Wings’ Patrick Eaves

Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves was cross-checked in the mouth by Toronto Maple Leas forward Joffrey Lupul during the Winter Classic, and Eaves told the media that he suffered a dislocated jaw but no concussion today.

As a result, perhaps...

Here was the hit:

Here's the NHL's official release:

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul has been fined $10,000, the maximum permitted under the CBA, for cross-checking Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves in NHL Game No. 610 in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Wednesday, Jan. 1, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 11:04 of the first period. Lupul was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking.

The fine money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

I happen to believe that the whole Sidney Crosby scenario revealed that the league is very afraid of the "optics" of having suspended anyone for something that takes place in the Winter Classic. It looks bad when what is supposed to be a signature event is marred by a suspension, so...

Update: As the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald notes, the Leafs lobbied VERY HARD to not sustain another suspension:

On Friday afternoon, as his players filed off the ice and into the dressing room, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle fell into a routine that has become unusually familiar this season: waiting to learn whether one of those players would be suspended.

This time, it was Joffrey Lupul, the winger caught cross-checking Detroit Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves in the jaw during Wednesday’s Winter Classic. The National Hockey League’s department of player safety scheduled a phone hearing with Lupul for after the team’s workout on Friday.

The league had already issued six suspensions to Toronto players this season — at a cost of 19 regular-season games and more than US$517,000 in forfeited player salary

“For us, it’s mind-boggling that we’re in the situation we’re in as far as suspensions, because we’re not preaching that type of hockey,” Carlyle said. “We’re preaching to play hard and to play between the whistles, and to do what you have to do to defend your honour. But we’re not preaching ‘commit suspendable offences.’ ”

Lupul cross-checked Eaves as the snow fell in the first period at Michigan Stadium. He appeared to be reacting to a hit from Wings defenceman Jakub Kindl along the boards, taking his frustration out on Eaves, possibly by mistake. Lupul, who drew a cross-checking minor on the play, was not available for comment after Friday’s practice.

“With the Lupul situation, he’d just gotten hit by Kindl … and I’m sure he wasn’t responding to Eaves — he was responding to Kindl,” Carlyle said. “It was unfortunate that his stick did come up, and he did what he did. But we’ll let the league make the decision on those things.”

Update #2: Eaves told MLive's Ansar Khan that he's okay:

“Everything’s good to go now,” Eaves said. “It was pretty uncomfortable with my jaw being the way it was; my teeth weren’t lined up. I was pretty sore right away. But it’s back in the right spot and feels a lot better.”

Lupul was fined $10,000 by the NHL for the hit -- the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement -- and avoided a suspension.

Eaves was out for more than 13 months with a concussion after suffered a fractured jaw when hit by a shot on Nov. 26, 2011. Lupul’s check caught him on the same side, but he wasn’t worried about a concussion.

“My head was fine the whole time; I was clear and everything,” Eaves said. “It was just the jaw; I’ve been down that road before and was hoping I didn’t have to go down it again.”

The incident happened at 11:04 of the first period. Eaves did not return to the game.

“I wanted to play more in the game because it was a huge game,” Eaves said. “He made the decision to do what he did. Nothing I could do about it. I didn’t see it coming. I was just trying to get the puck out. It is what it is, it’s out of my hands. Now we just got to focus on our two points tomorrow.”

Prior to learning of the league's decision, Eaves said, "I don’t really care; that’s for the league to decide. It has no impact on our upcoming games; that’s all I’m worried about.”

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Comments

SYF's avatar

A fine and a don’t-do-it-again from Shanny.  fANTABULOUS.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/03/14 at 03:48 PM ET

Bent's avatar

So since it is the winter classic, a player can have his jaw dislocated (a jaw that has been broken before even) with no suspension.  Ridiculous.

Posted by Bent from The U.P. on 01/03/14 at 03:55 PM ET

BenjaminKGT500's avatar

Its no surprise. Whenever something happens to a Wings player, the offender (hello Shea Webber) gets off lightly

Posted by BenjaminKGT500 on 01/03/14 at 03:58 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

NHL player safety interview transcripts from today’s meeting


Shanahan: Hey Kenny, Brendan here. So, Kenny can the kid eat solid food ?


Holland: Uh…....well I think so?


Shanahan: Ok then, Gary and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Tell ya what…will fine him 10K. .....Hey I gotta run Kenny, Gary’s car is covered in snow and he hates that, so I’m gonna go clear it off. Nice talking to ya Kenny…..click….........

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/03/14 at 04:27 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s worth reading Carlyle’s comments above. It sounds like the Leafs lobbied very hard to not have to deal with yet another suspension.

I keep on thinking about Crosby getting dinged and remembering that the NHL doesn’t like the “optics” of someone doing something naughty enough to be suspended at the Winter Classic. And I think that this was more than Shanahan’s doing—I think that the DPS and the rest of the NHL chose that no injury = “bad optics” were too much to bear.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/03/14 at 04:31 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

I think the worse optics are having a guy (who would’ve eventually got suspended) score one of the shoot-out goals in the Winter Classic game.  Sort of tarnishes the validity of it all to some extent.

see: McCarty, March 26, 1997…

Posted by The Meal on 01/03/14 at 04:49 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Carlyle said. “We’re preaching to play hard and to play between the whistles, and to do what you have to do to defend your honour. But we’re not preaching ‘commit suspendable offences.’ ”

What a dufus Carlyle is. Who in the hell does he think actually preaches “commit suspendable offences.” And it shouldn’t matter whether or not that’s what a coach “preaches.”

Lupol wasn’t “defending his honor.” He was pissed and he retaliated against the first person he saw. He didn’t care who it was or that he was about to hit that guy in the face with the shaft of his stick. That’s what suspensions are supposed to address.

The whole Department of Player Safety is a fricking joke.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/03/14 at 05:08 PM ET

Avatar

I don’t think Lupul was retaliating. He saw Eaves hunched over and thought he’d be easy to knock off the puck, and completely missed the shoulder. A fine is acceptable, but this quote amuses me:

“For us, it’s mind-boggling that we’re in the situation we’re in as far as suspensions, because we’re not preaching that type of hockey,” Carlyle said. “We’re preaching to play hard and to play between the whistles, and to do what you have to do to defend your honour. But we’re not preaching ‘commit suspendable offences.’ ”

No one really made an issue of Carlyle saying in the last 24/7 episode that people need to get angry when they lose a faceoff and cross check the other team. Dude is a caveman, IMO.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 01/03/14 at 05:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“Now we just got to focus on our two points tomorrow.”

Patty Eaves said, “...our two points.”

Despite all that, he still wants those two points.  Balls.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/03/14 at 05:30 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/03/14 at 04:08 PM ET

What he said.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/03/14 at 05:37 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

It’s Shanahanagans once again. I’d expect nothing else but.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 01/03/14 at 05:55 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Honestly, though, who DIDNT expect a fine?

Sounds like Eaves is okay, and Lupul paid out a (laughably low) “maximum” fine. Whatever.

Go Wings!

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/03/14 at 05:58 PM ET

Avatar

I don’t understand how they can suspend someone for “intentionally targeting” the head when two players collide at full speed.  There are a lot of variables involved in that situation,  players making split second decisions and then getting judged for it in slow motion from multiple angles.  Players have been suspended for contact to the head when they move at another players chest, and the other player leans forward and his head becomes the point of contact.

And then you have this scenario involving two stationary players and some one deliberately cross checking the head/neck.  And he gets the benefit of the doubt…

Posted by wingsnut25 from Cheboygan, MI on 01/03/14 at 11:36 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.