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Gryba gets two-game suspension for ‘illegal’ hit on Eller

May 3, 2013, 5:29 PM EDT

Ottawa defenseman Eric Gryba has been suspended two games for his hit that sent Montreal forward Lars Eller to the hospital with a concussion and facial fractures on Thursday evening.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled that Gryba “made Eller’s head the principal point of conduct, causing a serious injury.”

According to the ruling, Gryba did not make “enough of a full-body check” for the hit to be deemed legal.

Gryba was given a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct on the play.

Eller has since been released from the hospital.

  1. upyourstodd - May 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Spot on. Appease the whistleblowers. Trending towards the NFL in player safety wouldnt be such a bad thing.

    • sunderlanding - May 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      For there to be a suspension there has to be an illegal play. There is nothing wrong with this play. If they want to elimate this kind of play they should come up with a rule against it. As the league stands now there isn’t anything wrong with this. It’s unfair to suspend a player for a legal play.

      • raleik - May 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Exactly. If you want to stop that type of play, then institute a defenseless player rule similar to what the NFL has. But, as the rulebook stands today, that is a legal hit and not suspension worthy.

      • badintent - May 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Great family product. Honey, forget the bar fights and the UFC, I’m gonna watch some thug throw a cheap head shot and drinks some $12 beers. Hockey fans moving over to MMA. Pathetic

      • sunderlanding - May 3, 2013 at 11:04 PM

        Way to understand the game. Can you spell ignorant? This was not a head shot, and not a cheap shot. For anyone that’s watched more than one game this is a clean hit with a bad result. You realize in contact sports there can be injuries? Go back to soccer.

      • mp1131211 - May 3, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        You’re blind. He hits his head first. That’s illegal.

      • sunderlanding - May 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        You’re stupid. Have you heard the explanation on why he got suspended? They say he didn’t have enough body. There’s nothing about head first. Face it they suspended him to make the Habs happy. If they didn’t tonights game would’ve been out of control. This was simply a PR move, and an attempt to contain the series.

      • sunderlanding - May 3, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        Here idiot: “A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.” That’s rule 48. The head has to be targeted AND the principal point of contact. Not OR. AND. The head was not targeted. Even the NHL has admited that. Read the rules next time. Everyone knows they did this to contain the madness in the next game. Every hockey analyst has said that. Everyone who knows the game has said that. Even 90% of the comments on here say that it was a clean hit. It was a clean hit, grow up or go watch soccer.

      • badintent - May 4, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        I don’t give a rat’s ass about your puedo-lawyer interpretation of some rule written by a lawyer that never played the game( see Rules committee with Herr Bettmen). I do know a cheap shot when I see it. I saw Rob Moore’s hit on Naslud. And lots of legal hits between the Rangers and the Islanders in NY for many years when the Islanders were winning 4 straight. (your Leafs and Habs won nada ) I had seats in both the Coliseum and MSG. So don’t insult my intelligence with your babbling about this body or that head or what intent was meant BS. If you really think it was a legal hit, then let’s get Chris Pronger to line you up the same way and we can see if you end up in IC or DOA at ER.Sucker MC

      • sunderlanding - May 4, 2013 at 1:57 AM

        What does that have to do with this hit? I like how you avoid the issue. You’re whole argument is based on your personal feeling, and nothing tangable. You can watch all the games you want, but you clearly don’t understand the rules. This was a clean hit. A classic hockey play, and the reason they say “keep your head up”.

      • mp1131211 - May 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Generally when a person descends into insults, it’s because they are frustrated and have nothing to stand on. In this case, it’s probably because your a loser POS whose team got f***ed. Haha!

        According to Shanahan, the head was the principle point of contact.

      • sunderlanding - May 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        So when you insulted me you were frustrated? Look Shannahan had to suspend him. He was under pressure from the league. No one else thought the hit was suspendable. And that explanation was the most vaugue one of all time. “Not enough body contact” You can tell he doesn’t think it was a bad play. How much is enough? How far off was he? They aren’t specific. When they know it was a bad play they’re specific.

      • mp1131211 - May 6, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Actually Shanahan says, and I quote, “The head is the primary point of contact.” I guess its just more convenient for you to ignore that though and turn the whine up to full volume.

      • sunderlanding - May 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Read the rules. The head has to be targeted AND the primary point of contact. The head is not targeted. Maybe it’s convenient for you to only read the part of the rule that applies to your nonsense.

      • mp1131211 - May 7, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Shut up. You changed your argument from what Shanahan said to what the rules say. I’ve wasted enough time with this.

      • sunderlanding - May 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        It’s possible to have two points in an argument, or maybe that concept is beyond you?

    • sabatimus - May 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      There was nothing suspendable here. Whatever credibility (read: almost zero) the Office for Player Safety had before this just went to null. Unless they’re suspending Gryba so that the Canadiens don’t try to put him in the hospital. Hmm..maybe that’s what they meant: Gryba’s safety, not Eller’s or the league’s.

  2. hockeywithdrawal - May 3, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    wow…gotta get the shanahan video on that one…I wonder what he would recommend that Gryba do, in that situation? The hit itself wasn’t dirty…which means it must have been the act of hitting him at ALL in that position was what he did wrong…sooooooooo…..????

  3. Stiller43 - May 3, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    WTF? Andrew Ference flat out elbows a guy in the face and gets one game, this guy has a pretty clean (certaintly looked like no intent) play (but unfortunate play), and this guy gets double the suspension that ference does?!!!

    • thesableo - May 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      You’re right that this is not twice as bad as Ference’s play, but not because he should have been suspended more. Gryba shouldn’t have been suspended at all.

  4. kitshky - May 3, 2013 at 3:42 PM


    How in the hell is that worthy of a stiffer punishment than a Ferrence elbow to the head? How is this acceptable because they want to get contact with the head out of the game … but a direct elbow to the head is considered unworthy of any real punishment?

    This isn’t conspiracy talk, this sort of crap happens with almost every team in the league, I’m just saying (yet again) this league is a joke. It sickens me that with each year I lose just a little more love for NHL, but this is exactly why.

    • elvispocomo - May 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Until they stop punishing for the result and start punishing for the act, that’s how it’ll be I’m afraid. I’d rather give Ference (or Brown with his knee and elbow extended that just missed last night) more than someone making a clean hit that results in a bad injury.

      • thesableo - May 3, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        I’ve been saying the same thing. The headshot rule was a step in the right direction as far as punishing the act goes. It outlawed a single action that was illegal.
        I’ll be…interested, shall we say, to see what action they determined was illegal here.

      • sabatimus - May 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        Yeah, perhaps they should suspend the ice, or Eller himself for facing down and hitting it. What a complete utter fantastically bad joke this is.

      • 8man - May 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

        Yep. I think you nailed it. The result of a play that didn’t seem to have any intent to injure and wasn’t illegal was visually hideous, and thus the league felt compelled to react. I’ve seen far worse actions that resulted in less damage. But all players should see this as yet another warning that they can’t be sloppy in delivering hits. I think you can see intent. And I think some players have a track record. Punish accordingly. At some point the league will get this all figured out.

  5. clavette - May 3, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    terrible terrible decision

    if the nhl cares that much about player and head safety why dont they blow the whistle and stop play when a player loses his helmet?

    wasnt gryba’s fault that eller came through the middle not watching what was in front of him. he tried to hit him in the chest with his shoulder stepping up and trying to cause a turnover

    • sunderlanding - May 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Just put them in bubble wrap and eliminate contact. This was wrong. A bad decision and a mixed up message. They had a chance to make a statement and blew it.

  6. yotesfan61 - May 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM


    And did Dustin Brown even get a phone call after just coming off a suspension and throwing a knee on knee (WHILE trying to catch him in the head with an elbow as well?)


  7. crashtheboards55 - May 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    This is such a bad call. I thought instant replay was there to correct mistakes. In real tine it looks illegal but it was a clearly legal, clean hit. Its just really bad luck for Eller. I hope he makes a full recovery. Reasoner trying to knee Jokinen and Ference’s forearm shiver were way dirtier than this.

  8. drewsylvania - May 3, 2013 at 3:47 PM


    If this were Lindy Ruff he’d call it open season on legal checking”.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - May 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - May 3, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Lindy remembers when clean hits in the playoffs were allowed.

  9. jjregan21 - May 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    This is pathetic. Where’s the leniency have gave his buddy Nash on hockey plays gone bad? I bet if Brown threw that hit he wouldn’t have gotten suspended. Put some responsibility on the guy cutting through the center not looking forward or the idiot that made that suicide pass.

    • kitshky - May 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Not to mention Diaz basically sending him out to the slaughter…

    • kitshky - May 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      (just noticed that you did mention the pass…my bad)

  10. President Charles Logan - May 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    its not even a significant loss for the sens defense… the guy’s a nobody … now the habs need to take out that whiner erik karlsson

  11. dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    this about what expected. this because eller was bleeding and it looked bad. ference,brown,reasoner,perron all did equally bad things but the guys they hit got up. if eller gets up nothing happens. sadly nhl decides based upon how hurt the player not intent. expect melnyk to be paging the csi guys to check this. imagine dr. reechi and boston fans will say they saw eller in a bar like they did after chara hit pacioretty. you will be able in a second tell which teams most people cheer for by their reaction.lmao who gives me more hate now ottawa or boston fans lmaod-oh here comes he calls himself dumbass lmao

    • kitshky - May 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      “dumbassgreg meet paragraphs …paragraphs meet dumbassgreg”

      That should help.

  12. r4n6er - May 3, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    This is reminiscent of the Rome suspension. If you remember at that time in NHL history the longest suspension during a SCF was a tie for 1 game. One of which Pronger skated to a player celebrating a goal and ninja elbowed him in the temple causing him to be knocked out. Rome hit a player similar to this hit and he got (at that time) the longest SCF suspension in history (4 games). What is interesting here is that it seems that the league basis its suspensions on the outcome of the event. Due to the fact that this hit resulted in a scary looking injury there was never a doubt in my mind that he would be suspended. However, a much dirtier play occurred the same night. Brown attempted to deliver a flying elbow to a St. Louis player, thankfully the St. Louis player ducked this hit, so Brown then stuck his leg out and made contact knee-on-knee. However, the St. Louis player wasn’t carted off on a stretcher so I doubt that we will see any further discipline

    • dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      if horton gets up rome is not suspended .

      • nhbsfan - May 3, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        The difference here is the Rome hit was at least a penalty for being late and Horton didn’t have the puck. This was a normal body check delivered while the player had the puck on his stick blade.

      • clavette - May 3, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        the rome horton hit is nothing like this you morons. horton passed the puck and took FOUR STRIDES before rome decided to step and and hit him

      • r4n6er - May 3, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        I said, “This is reminiscent” not that it is exactly the same. The point being if no injury had occurred no suspension would have happened. Clavette is clearly a B’s fan.

      • sabatimus - May 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Why anyone (including me) is commenting on something someone named “dumbassgreg” is saying is beyond me.

      • dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        lmao. sabatimus. do find it funny you do exactly what you said you should not do. name is easy target. interesting reading others names. i use name because i don’t like many here or on others blogs take myself way too serious.lmao understand you all a fan one team like most they can do no wrong .

    • elvispocomo - May 3, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Of course the league is using the results of a play to determine the suspension (or lack thereof). When I saw the Brown play last night I thought that was one of the worst plays I’ve seen based on intent in a very long time (perhaps a tie with a number of others).

      Just because the contact didn’t result in a stretcher being brought out it’s ok and he doesn’t need a phone call – especially since it’s his second game back from his last suspension for an illegal elbow?

      I keep getting reminded of how Raymond being lifted off the ice in the 2011 SCF when he should have been put on a spinal board was the result of an incredibly dangerous hit well away from the puck when I see nothing come of other hits with intent. When the NHL realizes what it should truly focus on it’ll be too late.

      • dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        remember raymond was faking just ask dr reechi. lmao brown he clearly has something on shanahan or bettmen picture with someone . a priest ,a goat. lmao.

      • elvispocomo - May 6, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        I thought the crowd called it just fine at the time, nevermind Recchi and his degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College. What did they say? Faker? Diver? It was something like that while he lay there with a fractured vertebrae.

    • dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      yes clavette is clearly a boston. fan. he will probably say chara hit on pacioretty was pacioretty fault as dr reechi said. that was scariest thing i have ever seen i thought he was dead.

  13. ashtongronholz8 - May 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Why do they still not get it? Shabby pisses off just about everybody with his decisions. This was a clean hit and its sad to say this beloved game is being dismantled. What happened to the good I’m days when people didn’t complain about everything and settled it with a fight not by whining.

  14. tdrusher225 - May 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Is Shanahan serious? It’s not Gryba’s fault that Diaz gave him a bundy pass. The chest was the principle point of contact and the puck was on Eller’s stick. They should be suspending Diaz for that stupid pass.

  15. kgun80 - May 3, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Seriously?! I just don’t get it. It was a clean hit..

  16. sjsharks66 - May 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM


  17. nhbsfan - May 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I’m not surprised it’s taking longer than expected for the video explanation to get released. I’m not sure how they are going to explain this one. It seems like a precedent where legal checks will get you suspended if the result is a serious injury. It shouldn’t have even been a penalty…

    • kitshky - May 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Aaron Ward broke it down on TSN with video earlier and it absolutely definitively proves it was a legal hit … I can’t wait to hear the crap that Shanahan tries to spin on this one.

    • itsallniceonice - May 3, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      There won’t be a video. He can’t publicly say he suspended him because he made a precious Habs player bleed.

      • mp1131211 - May 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM

        Apparently there already is

  18. drez146 - May 3, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Shanny is a joke, goes along with that joke they call a commissioner too

  19. ottsens4life - May 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    The one thing that makes NO SENSE is how ference hits grabovski in the head clearly point of contact and gets one game. Then gryba hits in the shoulder, eller had the puck so no interference. wait a minute what is left for there to be a suspension thats right NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!

  20. itsallniceonice - May 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Typical Montreal BS.

  21. mornelithe - May 3, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Wow…I saw the hit last night, and thought holy moly that was nasty. Then I saw the slow-mo replay and….it was a clean hit. He didn’t leave the ground, and his elbow was in the chest, nowhere near the head. A suspension on this incident only adds confusion to rules that are enforced when they feel like it, and penalties levied with no real rhyme or reason.

    The only thing players could possibly take away from this is, hitting a player at all could result in a suspension.

  22. ashlynkat - May 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    The Gryba hit was clean but unfortunately bad luck (and a bad pass) put Eller in vulnerable position. Dustin Brown’s stunt last night with knee on knee and flying elbow was dirty as it comes and we don’t hear a peep out of Shanahan.

    You can’t remove bad luck from the game of hockey but you can (and should) discipline bad intent. Major fail from the NHL.

  23. buckeye044 - May 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Unfortunately, the team a player plays for figures in the decision.

    Nash – NYR, no hearing
    Ference – BOS, took the 2nd time in a week for him to get 1 game
    Gyrba – OTT had the nads to hit an MTL play

    Good thing he didnt play for Cbus, see Wisnewski.

  24. joeyashwi - May 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Dustin Brown is out to hurt people and is never punished. Oh, he got suspended for the hit on Pominville, well guess what? The Wild are still without Pominville and dbag Brown is playing.

  25. ctochester12 - May 3, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Shannaidoit blew this one big time, illegal hit to the head, but complete and utter BS.

  26. sabatimus - May 3, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Gryba “made Eller’s head the principal point of conduct [sic], causing a serious injury.” Oh really? I thought THE ICE made Eller’s head the principal point of contact.

  27. 19to77 - May 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    As a Habs fan, I’m pissed right off about this. It was a clean hit, shoulder to body with a slight bit of accidental head contact. If players can’t throw that hit, they’re all going to be scratching their heads asking “Well, what CAN I do?” The ONLY REASON Shanahan is doing this is to appease bleeding-heart journalists because media coverage is higher come playoff time. Screwing players over with double standards that are impossible to follow in the name of “marketing the brand.” Unbelieveable. Shanahan is such a sellout.

  28. chef24g - May 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM


  29. hockeyflow33 - May 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    As a Bruins fans I can honestly say Ference’s elbow was far more illegal and dangerous than this hit. It was a devastating hit but it was still clean.

    • dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      you may not want to post something like this again. saying your team did something wrong.lmao most here seem to have too two rules have . my team is always right and the world is against us. lmao

      • hockeyflow33 - May 4, 2013 at 12:32 AM

        Haha I know. I try and bring logic and thought to most of my posts, what a concept!

  30. dropthepuckeh - May 3, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Total serendipity in that Eller gets released from the hospital just after the suspension is announced. Best wishes for speedy recovery but I would put money on his injuries being less severe than “reports said”. Montreal propaganda machine in fine display once again and, once again rewarded on an off the ice. When will the league announce that there are rules for the NHL and then rules for playing within Montreal? Checking the Habs is not allowed, suspension if any injury occurs, prison if enough fans call for it.

    What a joke, at least they can fight each other when they lose to Ottawa in the first round. Possum culture top to bottom. Pathetic.

  31. sjsharks86 - May 3, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    This is just sad, what’s the process to get Shanahan replaced? The discipline he hands out is inconsistent , ineffective, and creates more questions than it answers. I try not to play the “preferential treatment” card, but the more often we see him hand out these suspensions (or not hand out one’s that are well deserved), the harder it is to deny that it exists.

    • 19to77 - May 3, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      Not that I don’t agree that Shanny does a bad job, but any successor to him would be more of the same. He gets his marching orders from Bettman and so would any new guy.

      Still. This suspension is utterly pathetic.

  32. phillyphanatic77 - May 3, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Shanahan drops the ball once again. Gruesome injury on a clean hit. The inconsistency in these rulings gets worse with every incident. It seems any time a player gets hurt on a bang-bang play the refs call an excessive penalty, but atleast they’re consistent. They don’t favor certain organizations or players as much as Shanahan. The NHL needs to find a way to inject some consistency into these rulings.

  33. dumbassgreg - May 3, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    shanahan is only doing what little gary and league wants. he has no real power. he tried to be his own man at first gary and owners put him in his place. he has a choice keep his job and do what he is told or quit. like most he chooses the $$$ over intergrity

  34. dutchman1350 - May 3, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Yet last year, weber slams Zetterberg’s head into the boards…no suspension? The inconsistency is what I don’t like.

    • 19to77 - May 3, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      Brown and Weber are captains. Gryba is a bottom-pair D. And that’s how Shanahan really decides length of suspension – “Oh, is the offender someone who actually matters? ‘Kay, let him off free.”

  35. tlndma - May 3, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Shanahan says the principle point of contact was the head. He’s in the minority with that opinion. Every analyst I’ve seen(outside of Quebec) has said the head was NOT the principle point of contact. Every peewee I’ve talked to has said “dumb play by Diaz”.

  36. stakex - May 3, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    If this hit is worth two games, they should just ban contact in the NHL. It was as clean an open ice hit as you can make. Kept his elbow down, didn’t leave his feet, and clearly didn’t target the head despite what Shanahan says in the video.

    This is obviously just a move to keep the Montreal media and fans from having a hissy fit.

  37. jimw81 - May 3, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    sorry people, the wheel of justice as spoken

  38. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    If say Karlsson would have made that hit would he have gotten suspended? I would say no. Don’t agree with the suspension.

  39. mp1131211 - May 3, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    The only thing I’m floorerd by is all these dumb comments. Eller’s head is the primary point of contact. End of story. You don’t pass out mid air from a hit to the body.

    • nhbsfan - May 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Except you don’t need direct contact to the head to lose consciousness. If the head whips back from a sudden change in direction, like what would happen if the force of the check came in around his shoulder, you can get knocked out without the direct force being to the head.

      “Closed head injury refers to brain injury without any penetrating injury to the brain. It may be the result of a direct blow to the head; of the moving head being rapidly stopped (as when it hits a windshield), or by the sudden deceleration of the head without striking anything. A moving head will cause a “contrecoup injury” where damage occurs on the side of the brain opposite thepoint of impact, as a result of the brain slamming into that side of the skull. Even when no object contacts the head, sudden deceleration can result in whiplash, causing delicate brain tissues to hit against the rough, jagged inner surface of the skull.”

      • mp1131211 - May 4, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        I work with head trauma every day. There is NO WAY that hit caused black out in mid air.

      • mp1131211 - May 4, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        *without head contact. But anyway, this is a dumb argument because there was head contact.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Primary point of contact, why don’t you prove that with video for everyone, and LOL at your ignorant comment about not getting knocked out from a hit to the body, such cluelessness is amusing

      • mp1131211 - May 4, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        Shanahan says “the head IS the primary point of contact.”

        So blow me.

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