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Isles’ Grabner suspended two games for Gerbe headshot

Oct 21, 2013, 6:44 PM EDT

New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Carolina’s Nathan Gerbe on Saturday night, the NHL has announced.

Grabner, 26, hit Gerbe in the first period and wasn’t penalized on the play.

“This is not a full bodycheck,” NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan explained. “The head is the main point of contact, and such contact is avoidable.”

Here’s the video:

The relatively light punishment — two games — was partly due to the fact Gerbe wasn’t hurt on the play (he remained in the game following the hit, finishing with an assist and over 18 minutes played).

The league also took into account Grabner’s lack of previous offenses.

Under terms of the CBA, Grabner will forfeit $30,769.24 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. He’ll sit out games against Vancouver on Tuesday and Pittsburgh on Thursday, eligible for return for Saturday’s home date against Philadelphia.

  1. elvispocomo - Oct 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Now if only all suspensions could be as consistent as the ones handed down today.

    • killerpgh - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      I’m not a huge Shanny fan (it a tough job and I think people will always complain about whoever has that job), but I would say hits like this Shanny has been pretty consistent. It seems like guys usually get 2 game on an obvious head shot when they don’t have a history.

  2. sjsharks66 - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Should be longer.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      And Burns should have had at least a hearing for his hit from behind on Morrow. Want to review that one too?

      • scottybcboy - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        Give it a rest elvis, we all know you are a sky is falling Canuck conspiracy theorist, we don’t need to hear it anymore.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        Haha, hardly. Just saying not every DPS decision will appeal to everyone, and a team that recently was on the favourable end of one probably shouldn’t be too vocal about any other suspension being too short.

    • jobro815 - Oct 23, 2013 at 8:53 AM

      Based on what, SJ? Gerbe was stooped over, Grabner went after the puck first and couldn’t avoid him. It’s not like Grabner led with an elbow. Gerbe didn’t even leave the ice until after the shift was over, and didn’t miss a shift all night. I thought supplemental wasn’t warranted myself, especially since Grabner is rarely penalized for physical stuff, but I suppose 2 games is the minimum for touching another player above the shoulder however incidental it was.

  3. bcisleman - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    I like Shanny less and less. Theres a reason this wasn’t called on the ice. Gerbe is 5’6″ standing straight up. What’s more, he leans forward right before the contact when there was no shot for Grabs to hold up. If he doesn’t do that, this is likely shoulder to shoulder.

    Honestly if Shanny is going to suspend over piddling stuff like this, then we are headed toward international rules and auto supensions for all head contact.

    • killerpgh - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      If you’re gonna use a players size as a reason for a shoulder to the head than you have to give Chara exemption for hitting 95% of the NHL.

      • bcisleman - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        Its a matter of the player’s intent. Seems obvious to me that if Gerbe doesn’t lean over immediately before the hit, its more like shoulder to shoulder. Turning your logic on its head, if we don’t consider a player’s size as mitigation, someone like Zdeno would be suspended regularly for head shots.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      The laws of physics disagree with your assessment. If Gerbe leaning forward was the cause of this hit turning illegal, and if the hit would have been shoulder to shoulder if he hadn’t leaned forward, then that would mean the hit would have had to been from behind as it was. But, we know Grabner hits in front of Gerbe rather than through the center – which is the whole problem and why Edler and Kaleta were also recently suspended.

      I disagree that Gerbe leans forward anyway. He stays in a similar position when taking the shot, and it’s only then that Grabner hits him. If Grabner can’t be aware of the minor adjustment that results from the shot, then he was never lined up properly on him to make it a legal hit anyway.

    • unclemilo - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      I have to agree, if this kind of call becomes the norm, my hockey watching days are numbered. Grabner is Lady Bing material. There was no call, the guy leaned down at the last moment and he was a midget to begin with. It will get to the point where a player falls on his head, on his own, and gets 2 games.

  4. stinkpretty1 - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Shanny is good. He has his characteristic to follow, and follows them. In his interviews, he does say all situations are different, but i believe he and his crew make the right decisions.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      It’s when he uses subjective criteria to impact a decision that we’re left scratching our heads. If he sticks to the facts then he’d probably do just fine.

  5. rwkatari - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Another player skating around with his head down as if he were the only one out there. I have a hard time understanding how a player coming through the middle would even think they could go through there untouched…but they do.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      So I guess every player ever should never enter the zone and take a shot from the high slot, and no player ever should worry about whether or not they’re making a legal hit? Gerbe already knows he’s getting checked by one Isles player and I don’t think anyone would expect Grabner to come from the other side of the ice, leaving his own check, and come over top of the other Isles player to hit Gerbe – especially illegally.

      You can’t excuse the intentional actions of a hitter based on the often reactionary actions of a player with the puck.

  6. pizzaman77 - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Doesn’t help that Gerbe is literally the shortest player in the league. His head is elbow height for most opposing players

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