Pastrnak suspended two games for hit on Rangers' Girardi


Pastrnak suspended two games for hit on Rangers' Girardi

Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been suspended for two games by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of New York Rangers' Dan Girardi in Boston’s 5-2 loss on Wednesday night in New York.

Those around the Bruins, as you might expect, aren’t happy about the ruling on a hit that was definitely borderline and authored by a player who has barely registered any kind of hits in the first few seasons of his young career. 

Click on the link in the tweet below for a video of the hit and the NHL Department of Player Safety's explanation of the suspension, but this is the gist: Pastrnak “made head contact on a play where head contact was clearly avoidable” and the Bruins forward “unnecessarily extended up and into the head” of Girardi on the collision. 

Claude Julien took issue with the Pastrnak hit being labeled dirty and clearly didn’t quite understand why his young star was even having a hearing over a mid-ice collision that simply looked like a strong hit through the body as the main point of contact when viewed in slow-motion.

“To me I see a guy [in David Pastrnak] whose feet are still on the ice. Sometimes players are in vulnerable positions, and sometimes it’s their own doing other times it’s just a part of the game, and you do what you have to do there. But I don’t think there was any attempt to injure the player there. I just think that was an attempt to finish his check, but certainly not to injure,” said Julien. “His foot is on the ice. You can see the snow coming off his blade, so it’s not like he never slowed down with the foot that was on the ice. 

“He didn’t go full tilt. He tried to control his check. If you look at it in slow-motion it’s pretty self-explanatory: he doesn’t jump up and he goes through [the body]. When you go through body eventually the skates do come up with the flow [of the hit], but he didn’t jump up in the air and land on the guy.”

The two-game suspension is Pastrnak’s first brush with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Clearly, the DoPS felt that the 20-year-old did make contact with Girardi’s head and that it was Pastrnak’s responsibility to make sure there wasn’t any contact to the head in such a violent collision. While some might have argued it should have been a one-game suspension, the DoPS usually doesn’t go any less than two games in suspensions involving checks to the head. 

Some of it might come down to Pastrnak just being unfamiliar with exactly how to deliver a clean, hard body check in that situation, given his inexperience playing that kind of game. Conventional thinking was that his first-time offender status would have got him with a stern warning from the league. 

But there’s also a bright side to this entire Pastrnak suspension situation, believe it or not. 

It’s been plainly obvious Pastrnak is playing more of a physical game at close to 190 pounds entering this season, and it’s a part of the driving force behind his strong start with a team-leading five goals in seven games this season. The Bruins will miss him for the next two games, Saturday in Detroit and Tuesday in Florida, but they’ll benefit from a player in Pastrnak that’s no longer shying away from the battle or hesitating to stick his nose in there while playing a key top-six role. 

The Bruins  were facing an uphill battle against both divisional opponents prior to the NHL suspending Pastrnak for the games. 

The hit came when Girardi reached up to catch a puck in the neutral zone 10:55 into the second period and Pastrnak came in hard and sent his left shoulder into Girardi’s chin. Pastrnak received a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head. Girardi left the game as part of the NHL concussion protocol, but later returned with no apparent injury. 



Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

USA TODAY Sports Photos

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

File photo

Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

A post shared by Boston Bruins (@nhlbruins) on