November 8, 2011
IceDogs forward gets 20-game ban
By QMI Agency
Niagara IceDogs forward Tom Kuhnhackl was slapped with a 20-game suspension by the Ontario Hockey League Tuesday.
Kuhnhackl, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, was given the OHL's longest ban of the season for an illegal hit to the head of Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ryan Murphy last week. Murphy, a first-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes last summer, was concussed on the hit and has been completely shut down by the Rangers after failing a baseline test Sunday.
In issuing the suspension, the OHL ruled that Kuhnhackl made contact with the head and travelled a considerable distance at high speed. That Murphy was a "vulnerable, unsuspecting player" and was injured on the play were also factors.
The injury will force Murphy to miss next week's Subway Super Series between OHL players and a touring Russian team and could jeopardize his chances of playing for Canada at the world junior championship.
Kuhnhackl was playing his his second game with the IceDogs after being traded from the Windsor Spitfires earlier in the week. He is eligible to return Jan. 6 when Niagara hosts the Owen Sound Attack.
The OHL has given out suspensions of 10-plus games eight times this season -- in addition to Kuhnhackl's 20-gamer, there have been five for 10 games, one for 12 and another for 15 -- as part of a crackdown on head shots.