Before the Bruins game on Monday, against the Buffalo Sabres, Claude Julien made the statement that Johnny Boychuk would not be receiving any supplemental discipline for the hit he delivered to Rene Bourque in the Calgary Flames game on Saturday.
I whole heatedly agreed with this decision and from the first moment I saw the hit until now, after watching it over and over so I would know exactly what I’m talking about, I never thought Boychuk was deserving of a suspension. It definitely was a penalty, but not a suspension worthy hit.
Some might be calling me a hypocrite for this, because of the way I chastised Colin Campbell and Matt Cooke for the Marc Savard incident, but I’m going to try and explain the differences.
The new “Hits-To-The-Head / Blind Side” rule that took effect last week has done a few things, some good and some bad. The good is obviously that it will protect players from suffering a similar fate that Savard has and punish those that play the game in a very dangerous manner, such as Matt Cooke did. However the bad that it’s done is how it has impacted the fans of the game, especially ones that don’t completely understand the wording of it. The moment Boychuk connected with Bourque sites like Twitter exploded with cries for a suspension. I’m not trying to say everyone isn’t entitled to their opinion but that was not a suspension worthy hit. Thanks to the fact that I can rewatch the hit on YouTube over and over I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that it wasn’t an elbow on head hit. Johnny mostly connected with the forearm. As I said it was a penalty and a careless play, he was high and did make contact with Bourque’s head. But he came at him straight at him and hit him from the front. My next statement my get under some skins but I’ll say it anyway… I think Rene Bourque embellished the hell out of his fall. I think he felt some contact to his head and decided to draw a penalty by falling like a sack of brick. Of course this is all my opinion and you can feel free to disagree, that’s what the comment section is for. But to me that hit didn’t look hard enough to send him down the way it did, unless he had some pre-existing head condition I don’t know about.
To wrap up I just want to express to the fans out there to think for at least a second or two before making statements. This is hockey, it’s a hard hitting, at times very violent sport and just because the new rule is in place doesn’t mean every little bit of head contact is a cheap shot worthy of a suspension.