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Dany Heatley and Brad Marchand to have disciplinary hearings over separate cheap shots

Mar 16, 2011, 6:01 PM EDT

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With what’s going on at the GM meetings regarding the burning league issue regarding concussions and the institution of a new concussion protocol, it only makes sense that last night’s action on the ice saw more than a few incidents worthy of attention from the league. Boston’s Brad Marchand and San Jose’s Dany Heatley each have hearings scheduled with the NHL tomorrow regarding their reckless and dangerous hits.

It started off with Boston’s Brad Marchand delivering a textbook blindside shot to the head of Columbus’ R.J. Umberger (video). Marchand skated in from behind Umberger as he was skating through the neutral zone, sticking out his elbow connecting with the back of Umberger’s head. If ever there was a prime example for the brand of hit that Rule 48 (and common sense) intends to eliminate it’s this one and Marchand’s date with the league shows that they intend to do something about that. Marchand’s hit should likely earn him a three-game suspension from the league as similar hits this season have done.

Heatley’s chicken wing elbow to the face of Dallas agitator Steve Ott earned Heatley a meeting with the NHL and had Ott plenty steamed after last night’s game. Today he wasn’t any happier and Working The Corners’ Mark Emmons got Ott’s thoughts on what went down in last night’s game. If you missed it, Heatley’s elbow wasn’t the only one that caught Dallas’ ire as two hits from Douglas Murray delivered to Loui Eriksson and Tomas Vincour also got the ire of the team.

On what kind of hit crosses the line: “If you’re targeting a guy’s head, that’s my big issue. There’s no room for that. But if you hit a guy with a good, clean hit and he gets a head problem from that . . . that’s part of our game. I definitely don’t want to see hitting or fighting out of the game. Our game is what it is, and it’s a tough, tough game.”

On seeing players injured: “The worst part of the game is seeing a guy laying down on the ice and getting stretchered off. And nobody wants to be in that situation. So something has to be done.”

If it sounds a little backwards having Steve Ott, a player with a checkered past of his own sounding off on these sorts of plays, Ott’s well aware of where he’s coming from on these matters.

“I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because, yes, I do have a past myself. I’ve been suspended and everything else. But there’s still a time and place for it all. Players still have to put an onus on each other, and you gotta draw the line somewhere.”

Give Ott some respect here as he gets where he’s coming from and understands that it comes off screwy having him be the voice of reason. If nothing else, the rest of Emmons’ article shows that Ott is starting to change his tune. Whether he’s honest about it or not remains to be seen in how he plays.

These two hits give the NHL an opportunity to, again, send a message that these kinds of hits won’t be tolerated. They’ve fanned on these opportunities in the past but now with the GM meetings wrapping up and hits to the head being in such focus, as well as Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy’s ability to mete out punishment, you wonder if now they’ll find a way to act out on their power to set an example.

  1. sharksfan24 - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Of course no mention by the versus team about the Jamie Langenbrunner cheap head shot on Nicholas Wallin that caused Wallin a concussion. Meanwhile that cheap shot con artist Ott is back on the ice and playing during the Heatley Penalty. We all know that Versus and there announcers hate the Sharks, and especially hate Heatley so no surprise that Mallbury and that Blackhawks guy Eddie O, would want Heater suspended for 10 games. And just ignore the Langenbrunner hit, typical versus bias and favoritism towards certain teams and players. We know that if it was a Blackhawks player who TRIED but missed fully hitting OTT with an elbow. Eddie O would call it payback and a great play, and Malburry would do the same if it was AN team from the Eastern Conference.

  2. sharksfan24 - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Check the video Eddie O, check the video, watch in slo mo (if you can) Ott never got hit, and actually intentionally leans into Heatley to get the penalty. And this from a guy who had already received 17 minutes in penalties and is known as a cheap shot artist. Geez Eddie how would feel if one of your loved Blackhawks did this to Sean Avery? Guess that would be okay right? Reading intent into a hit now, yeah right Eddie O, we know your total disdain for the Sharks, it came through loud and clear during your cheerleading contest when the Sharks played the Blackhawks on Versus. Where is your journalistic skills and being impartial. 10 games, for almost hitting a player accidentally in the head, and you want a 10 game suspension for a player who was not even hurt. Yet you just completely ignore the fact that Jamie Langenbrunner almost killed Nicolas Wallin with a cheap hit to the back, and you and your Buddy Colin Campbell just completely ignore that. Despite the fact that Wallin was hurt and NEVER returned to the game, and Ott, was not even hurt.

  3. sharksfan24 - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Sorry Joe, but there have been rules around for years to protect against head shots, they are just not enforced or called. Elbowing is a penalty, and hits from behind against the boards are penalties. Yet how many times are these penalties called. Boarding is the number 1 cause of head injuries yet, is rarely called.

    Joe it is not about NEW rules, it’s about a consistent enforcement of existing rules. If all officials would actually call penalties as defined in the NHL rule book, this head issue would not be such a problem. It is not a rule problem, but an enforcement problem.

    If you remember back to the days of the “New” Nhl there was a few new rules put in one of which was called obstruction. So when is the last time that penalty was called, and why no enforcement of this rule now. See this is the problem, you have officials not calling penalties, instead focusing on “CERTAIN” penalties, this year it was stick issues that was their point of emphasis. Now it will be head injuries, while other penalties will not get called at all. If you want to stop injuries, then start enforcing all penalties not just certain ones. Call penalties without regard to team, player, type of game, time of game, score of game or importance of game. A penalty is a penalty whether it occurs in a pre-season game, a regular season game, or a stanley cup finals game. And that is how it should be.

  4. tommytd - Mar 17, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Nice going guys…way to be considerate of your teammates! Get suspended for a few games in the heat of a playoff stretch! Is it really that important to nail somebody in the head and risk a suspension, especially when the whole world is watching for head shots right now??? You guys are nuts and your priorities are way off.

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