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Leafs’ Lupul suspended two games for ‘reckless’ headshot

Mar 21, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

The NHL has suspended Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul two games for hitting Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in the head during Wednesday night’s game.

“After Hedman passes the puck, Lupul approaches from the side and recklessly targets Hedman’s head by elevating and making it the principle point of contact,” said Rob Blake of the NHL’s disciplinary department.

Here’s the full video explanation:

Lupul was given a two-minute minor for illegal check to the head on the play, while Hedman left momentarily before returning to action.

Following the game, Lupul said targeting Hedman’s head was unintentional and tried to defend the hit.

“I didn’t realize I got him in the head,” he told reporters. “I saw he was hurt — again, I gotta see the replay but by no means did I go after and try and hit him in the head.

“I wasn’t even over there to hit him, he kinda came back towards the middle at the last second, and it’s unfortunate.”

Blake said Hedman being uninjured played a role in the ruling, as did the fact Lupul had no past disciplinary incidents during his nine-year NHL career.

Lupul will now miss Toronto’s next two games — Thursday in Buffalo, Saturday vs. Boston — and will fork over $45,945.94 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

  1. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Reckless he was no doubt! If you suspend him for being reckless, why allow fighting? Aren’t the potential brain damages caused from shot to the head with a closed hand the same as this reckless behavior?

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      When two players fight they both are prepared to get hit in the face and accept that. When a person is blindsided they are not expecting to get hit in the head. When a player is fighting they are standing still throwing punches. When a player is blindsided the player that hits them is usualy skating at a high speed and the head is the intial point of contact so it absorbs the most force. Those are 2 completely different scenerios and the only thing they have in common is that they both can result in brain damage but for 2 completely different reasons. Fighting is always a hot debate in hockey, but to say that they should ban it because the league is trying to eliminate head shots is a ludicrous statement.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        I understand the dynamics of fighting very well. My point is not about how dissimilar they are, but how both can cause severe brain damage. What is your argument for allowing players to subject themselves to potential, and life altering brain damage caused by a fight?

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 21, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        It’s their choice. I have heard many players asked this question and they all answer the same. They say its part of the game and it always has been, and that it has its place in the game. MMA fighters and boxers can suffer the same brain damage from their sport but you don’t see anybody outlawing those sports because of the long term effects. These players are the best at what they do and they get paid well for it. You can only protect a player so much.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      Haven’t seen an mma fighter or boxer how up with a hockey stick and skates. You? (Sarcasm) The game has changed and so the consequences of head shot is known more now than ever. Think about it.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        I understand why people want if out of the game after what happened this offseason. However fighting has always been in the game. Can you honestly tell me that a fight can not build some momentum for a team when their down and fuel them to victory. I have seen it been done (talbot vs Carcillo 2009 flyers series). This isn’t like making visors mandatory for safety reasons. Your talking about eliminating a part of the game that has been there since the beginning. These players know what the consequences are and they still CHOOSE to to do it. Who are we to take away that right.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        I hear you sportsfreak13. I’m not disagreeing with you. Like I said, I understand all too well how fights can change the momentum of game when it happens at the appropriate time. Again, what is your argument for allowing players to subject themselves to potential, and life altering brain damage caused by a fight? Because it’s always been there doesn’t cut it anymore. Not since we recently learned about how devastating concussions can be.

        1956-57 – Player serving a minor penalty allowed to return to Ice when a goal is scored by opposing team.

        No one said we can’t change this rule because it’s always been there. BTW, I know why they changed.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM

        My argument is that the players themselves don’t want it out of the game even though they are aware of its consequences. These are the people who play the game and pay the price and I haven’t heard one player speak against fighting. The owners aren’t bringing it up at any CBA or GM meetings and their always around the game. What gives anybody outside of those groups of people any right to think they know better (for the game AND the individual). You can’t protect everyone from everything. I would like to see a stat showing the amount of concussions from a fight vs a ugly hockey hit.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:21 AM

        Can you really expect the players themselves to decide what’s best for them? After all, if it wasn’t for the NHL’s decision to make helmets mandatory many would still be playing without them. Many of us wouldn’t wear seatbelts if it wasn.t mandatory though it’s proven to saves lives. Heck! Many remain smokers despite knowing cigarettes are the cause of many diseases.

        The players well being during a fight was never a concern until learning about the effect these have on the brain.

        Of the many things to come out of the story, one was the revelation that Boogaard’s brain, which had been donated to the Boston University study exploring Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), was showing shocking amounts of the condition already. To put it comparatively, Boogaard’s 28-year-old brain had a worse CTE condition than the brain of Probert, who was 46 years old when he died.

        But here’s the crux of what inspired me to write about this topic again today. The state of Boogaard’s brain was so deteriorated, it took the researchers at BU by surprise. Of the entire story, though, this is what perhaps caught my eye the most.

        Last winter, a friend said, a neurologist asked Boogaard to estimate how many times his mind went dark and he needed a moment to regain his bearings after being hit on the head, probable signs of a concussion. Four? Five? Boogaard laughed. Try hundreds, he said.

        “I think it’s possible [to draw a causality line] because you’re talking about … everyone’s brain is different,” Dr. Komotar said. “Everyone’s ability to have a concussion and recover is different, but I think what we’ve learned, especially in the last five or 10 years, is that it’s not the force of one head injury. It’s the repetition and the fact that you’re not allowed to recover.


  2. thehighcountrybear - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    And the apology…?

  3. tarotsujimoto74 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    hahahaha one game for the hit, another for the blatant lies regarding it.

  4. eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Keep concentrating on the clean ZAK Renaldo meanwhile your letting this go !

  5. 1trojanlove - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I think the difference between a elbow to the head and fighting is, in fighting both participants are knowing engaging each other. In this instance it was one participant elbowing another without the other having the ability to defend oneself.

    • tatdue - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Hey rubber head, there was no elbow!

      • bigoldorcafromvan - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        The elbow to the head was with alot more force than Hansen’s touch to Hossa’s head. Hossa take note on how Hedman got up and didn’t lay on the ice like a dead fish until Toews got the penalty called.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      However, the potential for a life changing/career ending brain injury is the same. We are talking about brain damage.

  6. thehighcountrybear - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    No elbow…

    The CNIB is open weekdays between the hours of 08:00 and 17:00 for those in need of help in this matter.

  7. ndrick731 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Lupul asking for trade to Penguins so that will be legal.

  8. storminator16 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    “Recklessly targeting”? He went for a hit, wasn’t even looking at Hedman. Hedman’s leaned into it. Hedman is freaking Glass Joe.

  9. storminator16 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    “Recklessly targeting”? He went for a hit, wasn’t even looking at Hedman. Hedman leaned into it. Hedman is freaking Glass Joe

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