Today, Tom Gilbert received a three-game suspension from the NHL after his hit on Nick Ritchie.
Let’s go through the three factors considered by Department of Player Safety in making this call.
- BOARDING: Did the lack of a call on the ice exacerbate the need for supplemental discipline? This isn’t a traditional boarding, given that Ritchie’s feet are facing up ice and he’s sliding along the boards in reverse. But the numbers are facing Gilbert, which is the justification. Two players were suspended three games for boarding last season, and neither had been suspended previously. Having said that, the hit by Ryan Reaves and the hit by Matt Hendricks each looked considerably worse at the time. Two other players were suspended for two games for boarding; no one got just a single game.
- INJURY: Ritchie missed yesterday’s game, though he’s expected to skate tomorrow. Must have been a factor.
- HISTORY: Direct quote from the video: "Gilbert has been fined once during a 645-game NHL career." Harsh. Having said that: the fine was due to the below hit on Matt Stajan, which is a similar "lateral hit" with head contact.
What say you? Did the Department of Player Safety get it right? Either way, it’s a major below to a depleted defense corps.