More proof that the NHL is getting serious about eliminating headshots from the game: Even though the blow delivered by the Flames' Tom Kostopoulos against the Red Wings' Brad Stuart that left the Detroit defenceman with a broken jaw wasn't a blindside hit, it nevertheless resulted in a six-game suspension to the Calgary forward.
It was one of the most severe penalties leveled by NHL senior executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell this season, as the NHL tries to crack down on the concussion epidemic that has plagued hockey at so many levels.
Campbell said there were a number of factors that set this incident apart from others, primarily that Kostopoulos "delivered a blow to the head of an unsuspecting and vulnerable player.
"As well, he targeted the head of his opponent and, while the hit was not from the blindside, the head was the principle point of contact. The fact that Brad Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered and the serious nature of the player's injury" were also cited as factors in Campbell's decision.
Kostopoulos will forfeit $29,569.92 in salary, for the incident which occurred at 10:07 of the third period of a game that Detroit came from behind to win 5-4. He was assessed a minor penalty for roughing on the play.
Kostopoulos will miss games Jan. 11 at Carolina, Jan. 14 at Ottawa, Jan. 15 at Toronto, Jan. 17 at Montreal, Jan. 19 against Minnesota and Jan. 21 against Dallas. He is eligible to return Jan. 22 at Vancouver.