NHL News - Predator Suspended for 4 Games
The Nashville Predators may be off to a hot start this season, having collected 16-points in the first 11 games, but they received the unlucky news that one of their players will be suspended. The Western Conference's Central Division leaders received notice from the NHL that they will have to play without defender Anton Volchenkov over the course of four games.
The suspension of the Predators' defender Volchenkov is the result of his illegal check on Calgary Flames' forward Michael Ferland on Friday night. The hit occurred when Volchenkov was pursuing a teammate's errant cross-ice pass in which Ferland was attempting to chase down as well. Ferland won the race for the loose puck in neutral ice and Volchenkov collided into him. As the players came together, Volchenkov rose up and drove his left arm into Ferland's head. Ferland was injured as a result and did not return to the game.
While the hit did not look malicious in nature, the main point of contact on the head still makes it an illegal check to the head. It's important to note that Ferland is eligible to be checked on this play and sometimes when two players are racing towards one another in pursuit of a loose puck, contact is unavoidable and inadvertent head contact might result from a player bracing himself for a collision.
The NHL didn't believe this to be the case. After video review of the play, they believe that as Ferland brakes to brace himself for impact, Volchenkov followed through and drove through his opponent. The NHL justifies their decision to suspend Volchenkov because they saw Volchenkov alter his posture, going from a position in which he could have delivered a right shoulder-to-shoulder check, to extending his left arm to make the head the main part of contact.
The department of players' safety ruled in favor of suspending Volchenkov for four games for a three reasons; the illegal check itself, the injury sustained resulted in a concussion and Volchenkov's history. He has been suspended two other times for elbowing during his 12-year NHL career.
Volchenkov will not collect his $21,505.36 in salary because of the NHL's decision. The lost wages will end up donated into the players' emergency assistance fund.
Obviously, player safety is a concern and the NHL is implementing the suspension to avoid future head injuries.
*Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change to due time sensitivity. Please visit the sportsbook for up to date odds.
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