Lapierre Suspended Four Games

The National Hockey League has suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Maxime Lapierre for four games for hitting San Jose forward Scott Nichol early in the third period during last night's game. While no penalty was assessed on the hit itself in-game, the hit was late and unnecessary, as Nichol had already followed through with the hit.

While Nichol left the game with a shoulder injury after the hit, the extent of his injuries remain unknown pending an MRI. The incident seemed to motivate the Sharks, who, as a result managed to come back from a 2-1 deficit and beat the Canadiens 3-2.

We can sit here and argue about the hit itself until the cows come home, and on the merit of suspending Lapierre and not suspending someone else who might make a late, dangerous hit, but we cannot say that the hit wasn't dangerous and careless. Lapierre will serve his time.

The hit can be viewed below:

Lapierre, who has 6 goals and 6 assists, with a -13 rating in 65 games this year, will be eligible to return next Saturday, when the Canadiens play the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. He will miss the rest of an important road trip for the Habs, which includes road games against the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightining, and a lone home game next Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers.

To compensate for Lapierre's absence, the Canadiens have recalled forward Ben Maxwell from the Hamilton Bulldogs. The natural center has 16 goals and 27 assists in 55 games in the AHL this season. In 15 games with the Canadiens this year and last year, Maxwell has yet to register his first NHL point. He will get his chance tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings.

More to come this weekend, as the Canadiens take on the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night, before taking on the Ducks on Sunday.