Hits Like Ruutu’s Should be Automatic Suspensions

I tried to get Max Lapierre to say something about it, but the best he could give me was: "I didn’t see it." Unsatisfied, I asked Guy Carbonneau about it, but he wasn’t too keen on talking about Jarkko Ruutu. In fact his exact words, delivered in an angry, sarcastic tone, were: "Why would I want to speak about him?”, as Carbo shot me a wry smile. He was ready to move onto the next question about how brilliant Carey Price was, when he stopped himself and said, "I expect the League to review it."

Wish granted…the League has called a meeting with Jerkko Ruutu (typo intended). Great, so they can hear his side of the story, and then suspend him.

They don’t need hearings for these types of plays anymore. Someone taking a run at another player in open-ice, aiming strictly for the head with an elbow, should be automatically suspended…and not just for 1 or 2 games, but for a minimum of 5. I don’t care if the player who is struck gets up right away, and marches down the ice to score.

What Ruutu did last night was as reckless and disrespectful as any forbidden play in hockey. What’s most disturbing is that he gets sent to the box for two minutes after a play like that, instead of being automatically ejected.

And if you think he was ejected from the game for going to have a little word with Max Lapierre at the bench after a dead play, you’re sadly mistaken. The refs had enough of Ruutu’s antics on the night, and eventually decided to spare his life, knowing that the Canadiens had certainly had enough of them as well.

In a 3-0 game, in the 3rd period, on a night where his team wasn’t looking like a team capable of a miraculous comeback, he made a deliberate decision to attempt to injure a player who had clearly gotten under the skin of his teammates. Let’s hope the NHL makes a deliberate decision to sit Ruutu out for the next few games.

In a new era of hockey, where this is the type of play generating so much discussion about what’s acceptable, in a sport that accepts violence, punishment should be automatic. Aim for someone’s head with your shoulder on a "hockey hit"– make that a two-minute minor. Aim for someone’s head with your elbow– and connect, toss ’em from the game, and throw in an automatic suspension. 

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