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NHL hands Ben Eager four-game suspension for cheap shot on Colby Armstrong


James O’Brien

There wasn’t much of a chance for Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong to defend himself from a sucker punch by Atlanta Thrashers forward Ben Eager. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay provided no defense for Eager in post-game chatter. Thankfully, there’s plenty of logic to defend the NHL’s decision to suspend Eager for four games, as they did today.

The Thrashers were already down 5-1 to the Leafs when the senseless punch was landed, but Toronto really made them pay on the resulting five minute power play. They scored four power-play goals to get a considerable measure of revenge for the cheap shot.

Eager will lose $20,752.68 in salary due to the four-game suspension and won’t be eligible to play again until the Thrashers’ January 20th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Overall, it seems like the punishment fits the crime pretty well. There’s just no reason for the punch so, honestly, an even stiffer bit of discipline would have been fine with me. Yet with previous precedents, this seems about right.

Click here for video of Eager’s regrettable act.