Some members of the Buffalo Sabres aren't quite sure what to make of Brendan Shanahan's new crackdown on illegal hits.
On one hand, one of their teammates in Brad Boyes was suspended two games after a hit to the head of the Toronto Maple Leafs' Joe Colborne in Saturday's preseason game.
On the other, the Leafs' Colby Armstrong wasn't suspended at all for what appeared to be a dangerous hit from behind earlier in that same game on Sabres centre Paul Gaustad.
The biggest difference between the two is Boyes makes direct contact with the head, although Gaustad certainly could have suffered a head injury on the play. He said he ended up with only a stiff neck the next day.
"From what I saw, I hope that’s not a legal hit, because if it is, I could’ve gotten hurt more than what I was," Gaustad said. "I just got to move on from it.
"I’m just a little disappointed by it because I’m not the type of player who stays down. If I can get up, I get up. They haven’t asked me how I’m doing, anything like that, the NHL hasn’t. So they don’t know if I’m injured or not. They haven’t checked on it, at least to my knowledge. It’s unfortunate because Brad Boyes gets suspended for two games and there’s not even a review on some of the other hits. [I'm]disappointed a little bit, but [we'll]move on."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added that they talked to the league about the play and why there wasn't a suspension.
"We asked about the Armstrong hit and we got what we thought was a reasonable answer," Ruff said.
During the game, Boyes's hit was missed by the officials and wasn't called a penalty. Armstrong received two minutes for charging for his.
Ruff said he's willing to allow for Shanahan to settle into his new role and determine which hits he wants to punish with supplementary discipline, however.
"There’s a break-in period from Brendan’s point of view, from our point of view," Ruff said. "I noticed the Boyes hit, but I didn’t even think twice about going back and looking at it until after the game we got the call they were reviewing it. I had to go back myself and slow it down. That’s where referees have such a disadvantage. They have a split-second, whether it’s body-on-body, whether the head was targeted first. That’s not easy to do at game speed."
The suspension to Boyes, meanwhile, was a new thing for him.
"I barely get penalties," he said. "When I got the call, I thought I hooked someone too hard or something."