Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 9:08 p.m.
Daniel Carcillo is at his best when he dances that fine line of aggressiveness. On Wednesday, the NHL ruled he crossed it.
The Chicago Blackhawks forward was suspended seven games for his hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert on Monday night.
In his ruling, Brendan Shanahan of the NHLs department of player safety said that in a race for the puck, a reasonable amount of physical contact is allowed. But in his video explanation of the suspension, Shanahan said just as Gilbert begins slowing down and bracing himself for some contact, Carcillo explodes into him, causing a violent crash into the boards.
Shanahan went on to say this is not a case of two players bumping each other for position and one player winning that battle. Its not a play where Gilbert loses his balance. At an extremely dangerous distance from the boards, Carcillo finishes high and hard with his hands, using the boards as a weapon.
If Carcillo is healthy, his suspension begins immediately with Thursday nights game against the Philadelphia Flyers and he would be eligible to return Jan. 18 against the Buffalo Sabres.
But it doesnt sound like Carcillo is healthy. He suffered what looked like a left-knee injury on that hit, and coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks were still talking about the options for Carcillo on Wednesday. When asked if that meant surgery for the forward, Quenneville said, well see.
If Carcillo is hurt, he will not begin serving the suspension until he is available to play again.
Another part of the ruling, Shanahan said, is that Carcillo is a repeat offender. He has been fined or suspended nine times prior to this latest infraction. Carcillo has already been suspended twice this season: the first two regular-season games for an incident at the end of last season and two more in late October for his hit on Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen.
Carcillo will be forfeiting 66,158.54 in salary according to the official release on NHL.com.