If getting shutout by the Blackhawks wasn't bad enough for the Red Wings, having a player end up in Brendan Shanahan's doghouse might make things worse.
Wings prospect Teemu Pulkkinen will have an in-person hearing in New York City with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Thursday. This comes after Pulkkinen was ejected from Tuesday's game for boarding defenseman Mike Kostka.
The incident occurred at 2:16 of the first period. Kostka suffered an injury as a result of the hit, and did not return to the game.
The following is Rule 41(boarding) from the NHL Rulebook:
A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the referees when applying this rule.
Judging by the video, the evidence is pretty damning against Pulkkinen.
Also, since this is an in-person hearing, Pulkkinen will be suspended for a minimum of six games. He will have to be on the Red Wings' roster in order to serve the suspension.
The only thing in his favor is the fact that he's a first time offender. Nevertheless, it's still not a good way to make a good impression with the coaching staff and management when you draw the ire of Shanahan in basically your first NHL shift.
Justin Abdelkader was the last Red Wing to receive a "shanaban" back in May. Brendan Smith was also suspended for five games in 2011 for an illegal check to the head during a preseason game with the Blackhawks.
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