UPDATE (2:00 PM EST): It appears the the most innocuous hit of Wednesday night's Flyers win in Buffalo is the one that caught the eye of Brendan Shanahan. Sabres forward Ville Leino, who scored just his third goal of the season against his former team, will have a disciplinary hearing this afternoon for his elbow to the head of Matt Read.
Leino was skated by Read when he stuck out his elbow and clocked Read in the head. Read barely flinched and kept skating. A 13-second clip of Leino's elbow is here.
While it is a hit to the head, Leino's elbow seemed to pale in comparison to the damage done on Nathan Gerbe by Marc-Andre Bourdon's hit. In all likelyhood, Bourdon will not receive a hearing, since Shanahan would have already acted on it with Flyers playing tonight against Pittsburgh.
That means Bourdon is in the clear for tonight's lineup. It looks like the Flyers dodged another bullet.
Lindy Ruff said at practice on Thursday that he was not surprised about Leino's hearing but remained baffled by Bourdon's hit:
"That one I can't figure out," Ruff told the Olean Times-Herald. "He's defenseless. He gets hit hard. He's hurt."
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was quick and to the point on Wednesday night when asked about the hit Flyers rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon laid on Nathan Gerbe in the second period.
Ruff wants to see Brendan Shanahan take action.
“There was no turning,” Ruff said. “It was just a hit from behind, head-first into the glass.”
Bourdon could indeed face a disciplinary hearing this morning Shanahan, the NHL senior vice president for player safety. On a night filled with questionable offenses from around the league - including another, sneaky one with Ville Leino’s elbow to the head of Matt Read - Shanahan would have to act quick in order to suspended Bourdon because the Flyers are back in action tonight against the Penguins.
My opinion is that Bourdon will be slapped with a 2-game ban.
While the general consensus via social media was that the check was not suspension worthy, it’s clear that Shanahan - conveniently nicknamed Shanaban or Shanahammer - has targeted two things so far this season:
- Hits to the head
- Hits from behind on a defenseless player
I needed to review the video a few times to make sure. One argument is that Gerbe turned his head to examine where an opponent was attacking from before making a play. That’s a normal hockey play - all players check to see how much time and space exist when receiving a puck. But Gerbe does not turn around again at any point during the course of the play along the boards.
Video of the hit is below.
For the best angle, click pause at :52 seconds.
You will see Gerbe’s back lined up squarely with an attacking Bourdon. That still frame alone is worth a suspension once your review the follow-through. The general rule in hockey is that if you can read the name and number on the back of the jersey, you’re required to let up on a hit on the boards.
While Bourdon was not coming from a far distance or with any serious speed, he does send Gerbe crashing into the boards. It doesn’t help his case, either, that Gerbe left the game with an “upper-body” injury as a result of the hit.
Since taking over for Colin Campbell last year during the Stanley Cup playoffs, Shanahan has sternly laid down the law. This week, he hit the $1 million mark in doled out fines as a result of suspensions.
Jody Shelley and Tom Sestito have already been suspended for dangerous hits in the preseason. Bourdon could be next.
At the very least, Shanahan would likely issue a video explaining why Bourdon was not suspended. But it’s clear that he is at least aware of the hit, which cost Bourdon an extra 2 minutes in the box for boarding after he was forced to fight Matt Ellis in response.
If Bourdon is suspended, it will cost him $4,370 per game missed. He would also be replaced by Matt Walker in the lineup against the Penguins.
We’ll be back with more once we hear it.
BOB OR BRYZ? After starting back-to-back games against the Coyotes and Ducks last weekend, it seems unlikely that Ilya Bryzgalov will be in net again tonight against Pittsburgh.
That, coupled with Sergei Bobrovsky’s success against Pittsburgh - 3-1-1, 2.17 goals against-average, .926 save percent last season - makes a pretty strong case for another ‘Bob’ appearance.
We won’t know until just before game time who will be in net, as the Flyers do not have a morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center.
MONEY WELL-SPENT: Kudos to @BuffaloRising for this nugget: Since First Niagara Bank signed a 15-year agreement for the naming rights to the Sabres’ arena in downtown Buffalo last summer, the Sabres are 5-8-2 at First Niagara Center and First Niagara has lost more than $250 million in market capital.
MORE MONEY: Jaromir Jagr, the active career leader with 98 points in 64 games against the Sabres, said his glowing comments about Claude Giroux post-game on VERSUS were worth “at least $100,000.” We get the sense Giroux will pay him back.
NEW HELMET? After spending nearly 3 weeks on the shelf with a concussion that came when he was hit on Nov. 12 by Boston’s Milan Lucic and his helmet flew off, Ryan Miller’s mask came loose two different times on Wednesday night.
Once, in the second period, Miller was struck in the face by a puck after the mask came off. Originally, it appeared as if Scott Hartnell had caught Miller in the face with his stick. That wasn’t the case.
“I got hit with the puck in the eye,” Miller told the Olean Times-Herald. “I’ve tried putting extra padding in my mask this year. Apparently, it’s not keeping it on my head. It’s been pretty good for puck impacts. But it’s just I got to get a way to make that thing stay on a little tighter. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board on that because it was too much and that was dangerous. I’m usually down and guys are pushing. You’re helmet can’t pop off. It’s going to get torque on. So I got to do something about that.”
BERNIE, BERNIE: Flyers great and Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Parent didn’t want to just be an off-ice ambassador for the upcoming Winter Classic alumni game. Parent, now 66, announced yesterday he will take the ice to try and knock off the Rangers at least one more time. The game is on Dec. 31 at Citizens Bank Park. It will be the first time his retired No. 1 has been worn since the 1970‘s. Parent is expected to play around 5 or 10 minutes of the game. Mark Laforest and Neil Little will be the regular goaltenders for the Flyers’ alumni.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers