NHL takes disciplinary action regarding Penguins and Islanders game

If you ask anyone their favourite part of a hockey game, answers will vary. Some will say it’s the hits, some will say it’s the fights, and some will say it’s the goals. Friday night’s matchup which saw the Islanders destroy the Penguins 9-3 featured all of this, too much of it some would argue especially the NHL.

After the fights were fought, the goals were scored, and the dust settled, three players received suspensions totalling 23 games and $100,000.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will lose Eric Godard for 10 games. The suspension was handed to Godard for leaving the bench to aid a player in a fight. This action was taken after Micheal Haley tried to get in a fight with Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson. Godard felt that the fight would be unfair, and didn’t want to see the Penguins keeper to get hurt, so he jumped the boards and grabbed Martin for a fight, he was handed two roughing penalties and two game misconducts during the game, but according to NHL rules, Godard’s actions carried a minimum ten-game suspension.

The Islanders Trevor Gillies has been suspended for nine games, while Matt Martin will be out for four, while the Islanders’ organization will be fined for $100,000.

Gillies, was suspended due to delivering an elbow to the head of Penguins forward Eric Tangardi. Tangardi would stay down as a result of the hit and was treated by medical personnel on the ice. After the fight was over, Gilles was caught on camera taunting Tangradi as he tried to get back on his feet and to the bench after the hit. He was given two minor penalties, a major penalty for elbowing, and a ten minute misconduct with a game misconduct.

Martin’s nine game suspension, was arguably most deserved as he delivered what is being called a Bertuzzi-like play to Penguins forward Max Talbot. Martin chased down the Penguins forward and punched him from behind at center ice. This resulted in one of the many fights which occurred in the game.

This dirty play was all because Talbot plastered Islanders forward Blake Comeau the previous week with a blindside hit and was not penalized for it, despite Comeau suffering from what is being called a concussion because of it.

Martin was given a major fighting penalty, a ten minute misconduct and a game misconduct due to his actions with Talbot.

So, there you have it, with all good things come consequences, it may have been a thrilling game to watch, but either way people had to pay, with injuries, and with suspensions which shows that the NHL is starting to take steps forward with cracking down on dangerous situations.

With all that being said, do you think that the NHL has it right this time, was the right disciplinary action handed out in this situation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S9mCL5JiDc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vva44QshVI

Adam Reid
adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com

20 Comments

Adam Reid's picture

I agree, Mike. The only one I feel bad for is Godard. I mean, sure its NHL standards, but really what he done made sense, he wanted to protect his goaltender. Sure, goaltender vs. goaltender is okay, but most players would kill a goaltender in a fight. Plus, in the video you can see how Godard tried to pull Johnson away from Haley as if to say, "Don't do this." Godard didnt expect the 2 on 1 fight to occur.

George Prax's picture

I really want to blame the islanders here for some clearly classless actions, but the blame for these incidents has to fall on the NHL. This is what happens when you don't deal with blindside hits and headshots, the players take matters into their own hands, and things could have been so much worse out there. These games are fun in the heat of the moment, but now that the dust has settled, this should never have happened.

Glen Miller's picture

I know this won't be a popular opinion but I'm no stranger to expressing the unpopular one. I don't know that Martin's action was Bertuzzi like. Was it wrong? Yes. Was it a penalty? Yes. Was it worthy of a suspension? Again, yes.

Talbot himself is no stranger to questionable play. I don't blame the Islanders for not being happy with his hit on Comeau; especially since it led to a concussion. Martin had pulled even with Talbot and I'm sure he probably challenged Talbot to a fight. Judging by his actions, it appears Talbot declined and this led to Martin punching him from the side (not from behind).

The Islanders did seem to be headhunting and that isn't right either. But George, how can you lay the entire blame on the Islanders. The Penguins aren't innocent bystanders. Remember they are the same guys that have Matt Cooke on their roster. Sydney Crosby is no angel either. I do 100% agree that the NHL's application of punishments for blind-side hits played a role in this and the league is to blame to a point.

I also agree that this really got out of hand and it didn't have to. I think the league did do the right thing here though I don't see Martin's actions being quite as severe as you guys do. He is a repeat offender so 4 games might be about right. I don't blame Godard for wanting to defend his goalie but the bottom line is you can't leave the bench. Someone else on the ice needed to go to Johnson's aid.

Adam Reid's picture

Agreed, George. In the weeks leading up to the incident every sports talk show has been on the topic of headshots, and needing the NHL to crack down with bigger fines and suspensions for players which execute a illegal or dangerous hit. If the NHL would have started earlier, this may not have even occured. This is certainly a wakeup call.

Adam Reid's picture

Glen, I agree with it not being 100% Bertuzzi-like, but in some ways it was. Steve Moore did not expect the suckerpunch, because he did not see Bertuzzi coming after him, as he was skating away with big Bert coming up behind him. Talbot seen it coming, and instantly turtled before a big blow could be layed.

I also agree with you giving the Penguins some of the blame, both teams are at fault here, and this should have never occured, and most likely it wouldn't have occured if the NHL would have put the right consequences in place.

Personally, as a Panthers fan, the David Booth incident sticks out in my mind the most. Headshot crack down should have started last season when Mike Richards blindsided Booth with a major blow to his head at center ice, a play which left Booth out of the lineup for months, while Richards got nothing. The Crosby incident this year should have certainly put it over the line.

I cannot understand how something like, "The Avery rule" can be created, but yet a headshot penalization is still not set in stone by the league.

As for Godard defending his goaltender, he knew he would pay for it, but he wanted to stand up for Johnson, and in my eyes, he was doing the right thing. After Johnson injured DiPietro, this Islanders squad may have done damage to him if given the chance.

Kyle Martin's picture

If Godard was really interested in only defending his goalie, he would have tackled Hayes or w/e his name is, instead of punching away with Johnson.

The Penguins, Islanders and the NHL are all equally at fault for what happened on Friday. Gillies and Martin definitely crossed a line in what they did, and I don't see a difference between Martin's punch and what Cooke did to Tyutin. The Penguins have been playing on edge all season, and despite their claims that they're the victims here, I don't buy it for a second. When you play on edge, eventually some team is going to push back, and luckily it was the Islanders (imagine the outcry if this had been the Flyers haha). The NHL bears part of the blame because they absolutely refuse to use common sense in determining intent behind hits to the head/intents to injure and making it clear that they want these type of hits to end. When players feel like the league isn't policing hits, it falls to them to send messages to make sure players start respecting each other's bodies.

That being said, I don't think the NHL needed to go any further in the suspensions/fines they handed out. This doesn't happen all the time, so there was no need to send a message to the league. Players/coaches realize that brawling like that could have some very negative effects on their team.

Glen Miller's picture
Micheal A. Aldred wrote:

I honestly can't sit here and not comment on the random inclusion of Sidney Crosby in this situation, Glen. The kid is out with a concussion due to the league not solving two hits that I feel were dirty on him as well, much like Cooke's hit on Ovechkin, but I feel the attention is being focused on the wrong people. Crosby had nothing to do with this situation with New York, that was squarely on the Islanders being pissy about a bad hit Talbot threw as well as Johnson KOing Mr. Glass. To randomly toss Crosby in there as part of the problem makes absolutely no sense to me.

I was speaking in general about the Penguins in that they have several players who in the past have done some shady things. Crosby being one of them. Obviously as a Rangers fan I am more sensitive to what he does than I would be for a star player on a team outside of the Atlantic. I didn't mean to say he played a role in Friday's game. However, there is no doubt the Penguins have several players that cross the line between clean aggressive play and cheap shots and that probably influences other team's perceptions of them. In that regard Crosby plays a part.

Just look at Lemieux's comments criticizing the NHL for their handling of the punishments. Lemieux has to know he employs probably the dirtiest player in the game today and his comments in some ways are hypocritical. When he speaks of protecting the health and safety of players he might want to consider how Cooke's actions fit in with that mantra.

Adam Reid's picture

Yeah, I agree Mike, personally Sidney Crosby does not fit in this situation, he is more a victim than a problem, the poor guy was illegally hit not once but twice. The league did not crack down on this, and now one of their superstars is out on injury, an the most serious injury that could happen. We all say things like, "If this happened to Crosby, or Ovechkin, the league would be all over this." But, the truth is, it has happened to Crosby, twice as I said, and nothing has come of it. Now things like this are starting to occur, and we all know this is very late.

Kmart, Godard never intended for the 2 on 1 fight to occur. In the video you can see how Godard goes over to Johnson pulling him away from the fight as if to say, "Get out, and let me handle this." But, Johnson does not listen and decides to grab Haley himself and start throwing swings.

empireamodeo's picture

The play by Trevor Gillies was the dirtiest in the game in my eyes. It was a pure dirty out-for-blood retribution hit. He picked out the "star" rookie, tried to decapitate his head and then when he realized his head was still attached he just started wailing away on it. Tangradi was barely conscoius and Gillies was feeding him shots. I completely agree that Pittsburg is not innocent ( the KHL wants NHLers?...take Matt Cooke and be gone ) but the Islanders crossed the line. It was a black eye for the sport.

...and the reason this doesnt happen all the time is because there is a zero tolerance for this stuff....watch some old school hockey and you will see why they give it an auto 10 gamer for hopping the bench.......both teams deserved each game of their suspensions

Adam Reid's picture

I agree with you, empireamodeo. The actions which Gillies persued were actually disguisting. To not only hit Tangardi, but stand with the door open just several feet away from where the poor guy tried to regain his footing, and taunt him, is horrible, I cannot understand why a human being would do that to another guy. I am all for taunting during a game, but you never kick your opponent while he is down and hurt. His actions to me should be way more punishable than "hopping off the bench to aid a goaltender."

Glen Miller's picture
Adam Reid wrote:

I agree with you, empireamodeo. The actions which Gillies persued were actually disguisting. To not only hit Tangardi, but stand with the door open just several feet away from where the poor guy tried to regain his footing, and taunt him, is horrible, I cannot understand why a human being would do that to another guy. I am all for taunting during a game, but you never kick your opponent while he is down and hurt. His actions to me should be way more punishable than "hopping off the bench to aid a goaltender."

The worst part is I don't even think Tangradi is a nasty player. My impression is he is a big kid that will hit but isn't exactly a fighter. I don't know what he possibly could have done for Gillies to behave the way he did. As far as the taunting goes I could see if it was someone like Avery, Kaleta, Cooke, Ruutu or a guy like that who probably deserves some on ice retaliation but not for a kid rookie. I don't even have a huge problem with the Isles targeting Talbot though Martin did go too far.

Adam Reid's picture
Glen Miller wrote:

The worst part is I don't even think Tangradi is a nasty player. My impression is he is a big kid that will hit but isn't exactly a fighter. I don't know what he possibly could have done for Gillies to behave the way he did. As far as the taunting goes I could see if it was someone like Avery, Kaleta, Cooke, Ruutu or a guy like that who probably deserves some on ice retaliation but not for a kid rookie. I don't even have a huge problem with the Isles targeting Talbot though Martin did go too far.

- I 100% agree with you but, I honestly believe that Gillies actions are not acceptable no matter who the player is. Even though im a fan of Sean Avery, I still would not want to see anyone taunt him that way despite how he acts. Personally, I cannot see how anyone would do this to another player, its immoral, and does not show any sign of sportsmanship at all. Tangradi is only a rookie, and as you said, what could Gillies possibly have against him. I hope karma bites him in the ass.

empireamodeo's picture
Adam Reid wrote:
Glen Miller wrote:

The worst part is I don't even think Tangradi is a nasty player. My impression is he is a big kid that will hit but isn't exactly a fighter. I don't know what he possibly could have done for Gillies to behave the way he did. As far as the taunting goes I could see if it was someone like Avery, Kaleta, Cooke, Ruutu or a guy like that who probably deserves some on ice retaliation but not for a kid rookie. I don't even have a huge problem with the Isles targeting Talbot though Martin did go too far.

- I 100% agree with you but, I honestly believe that Gillies actions are not acceptable no matter who the player is. Even though im a fan of Sean Avery, I still would not want to see anyone taunt him that way despite how he acts. Personally, I cannot see how anyone would do this to another player, its immoral, and does not show any sign of sportsmanship at all. Tangradi is only a rookie, and as you said, what could Gillies possibly have against him. I hope karma bites him in the ass.

I completely agree also. It does cross a moral line that is reserved for sociopaths and the "crazy".....

ps...I am completely new to this site and I have to say it is a very good site for hockey talk. Most banters turn into some sort of anti-leaf rants two comments in. Its nice to have some real hockey talk.

George Prax's picture

^Thanks for the kind words empireamodeo. I have to admit I'm a habs fans and on some other forums I may join in on the leafs hate, lol, but here everyone generally seems to be calmer. Things get heated here on occasion too though, but you can't blame us Smile

Feel free to use our forums on the right hand side if you have anything else to say as well!

empireamodeo's picture

habs fan?....I take back everything nice I said....lol

George Prax's picture

Sad

Adam Reid's picture

Haha. Don't worry, written by a Panthers fan, so everything is cool, and evens itself out, haha,