BRIGHTON, Mass – It looks like the Bruins will indeed be in flux with their defenseman situation over the next few games, as rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for his head shot on Derek Stepan.
Lauzon was given a match penalty and ejected in the first period of Boston’s 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, after he caught Stepan on the chin with a body check against the sideboards. Lauzon will now have a phone hearing with the league. That usually means a suspension of less than five games is coming for his “illegal check to the head”, so the Bruins may need some reinforcements from Providence.
John Moore left in the third period Saturday with an undisclosed injury, and Brandon Carlo will be meeting the team in Detroit on Sunday after attending to a personal matter in his home state of Colorado. According to Mark Divver, P-Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was a healthy scratch for Providence’s game on Saturday and may be headed to Detroit as well, just in case the Bruins don’t have six available defensemen against the Red Wings.
Lauzon has never been in trouble with player safety before, and said he was simply finishing his check along the boards.
“I had the opportunity finish my check, so that’s what I did,” said Lauzon. “I’m a player with a little bit of edge and when I have a chance to finish a check then I finish it. I haven’t seen the hit. It’s not my place to say anything about the ref’s calls. I didn’t really know what was happening at the time.”
The good news is that Lauzon has a clean record, with just 22 NHL games on his resume, and Stepan wasn’t injured on the play despite getting up very slowly. There’s also the fact that Charlie McAvoy was clobbered in the head in the second period on an equally dirty hit by Arizona forward Lawson Crouse, but that received only a minor penalty and nary a peep from NHL Player Safety.
“Clearly they’re both very similar hits and you’d like to see more consistency, but again, I don’t want to get onto that soap box today,” said Cassidy. “They’re going to look at Lauzy [Jeremy Lauzon.] I guess we’ll see down the road. That would be my only concern, if there’s a suspension. Obviously he’s played well for us. That would be unfortunate.
“I didn’t think it was a match penalty, personally. I don’t know the exact factors of, okay, hit to the head? Is it unsuspecting? Injury? That’s the only discussion I had with the official. He was adamant that the player was out. I was like well, okay, he got hurt but he’s in the game. He’s not out, out. There was a bit of a difference of opinion on that. At the end of the day, that’s what they called. I thought there was a very, very, very similar hit on [Charlie] McAvoy right after that that went a different direction.”
Lauzon will have the phone hearing on Sunday, prior to the noontime game against the Red Wings, so he’s not expected to be in Boston’s lineup.