Today, St. Louis Blues center Maxim Lapierre went before the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety to answer for an illegal hit made to San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle on October 15th. NHL.com is reporting that as a result, the Department of Player Safety has suspended Lapierre for 5 games without pay for boarding the Sharks defenseman.
According to Rule 41.1 Boarding:
A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards.
The rule also goes on to say,
The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize the contact. However, in determining wheter such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Lapierre will forfeit $28,205.15. That money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred just over 5 minutes into the first period.
After being ushered off the ice on a stretcher, Boyle was taken to the hospital where he would spend the night. The next day, he traveled home to San Jose to undergo further evaluation.
Lapierre has already missed one game due to suspension, which occurred on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. This game will be counted towards his suspension leaving 4 more games.
While Lapierre has been suspended in the past for a similar issue, he was not deemed to be a repeat offender.
Here is the official explanation from the NHL Department of Player Safety regarding the suspension of Maxim Lapierre.
Lapierre will be eligible to return to the lineup when the St. Louis Blues head to Sunrise, Florida to take on the Florida Panthers on November 1st.