The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/03/14 at 02:44 PM ET
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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