The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety has issued a relatively harsh suspension to a young rookie that took some liberties with one of the NHL's most well respected veterans.
On Saturday afternoon the Boston Bruins and the Arizona Coyotes faced off in a pretty important game for both squads and with emotions running high Bruins rookie Jeremy Lauzon landed himself in some hot water. Lauzon was called for a penalty late in the game's opening frame but it was what came after that initial penalty that has now caused him all this trouble.
Almost immediately after exiting the penalty box Lauzon found himself with a great scoring chance but was entirely unable to capitalize on the opportunity, and that may have resulted in some frustration for the 22 year old. Just seconds after Lauzon had missed on his scoring chance veteran Coyotes forward Derek Stepan found himself on top of the loose puck and wasted no time in clearing it up the ice, but even his quick clearing attempt was not enough to get him out of danger. Whether it was due to the frustration of his missed scoring chance or simply a reckless play on the part of Lauzon, he proceeded to level Stepan with a very reckless hit to the head.
The long time National Hockey League veteran immediately collapsed to the ice following the hit, and after watching the slow motion replay it is not hard to see why Stepan was rocked on this one. Lauzon caught Stepan up high on this hit and to make matters worse it appears as though it was Stepan's head that absorbed the entirety of the impact. Lauzon just clipped Stepan in the head but missed his body entirely, resulting in the veteran's head and helmet being slammed into the protective glass. Lauzon even appeared to launch himself into this hit, with one foot clearly leaving the ice well before contact was made, and no doubt that is what the officials saw as well.
Lauzon was ejected for the hit, and upon video review the officials on the ice opted to uphold the call and remove him from the game, awarding the Coyotes a 5 minute major to start the second period. The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety felt that the ejection was not enough however and announced on Saturday that the hit would be reviewed, they have since made their ruling.
According to an official announcement from NHL Player Safety, Jeremy Lauzon will be suspended for 2 games as a result of his hit on Derek Stepan. A full breakdown of the NHL's ruling will be coming in video form and we will be updating this article with that video the moment it becomes available.