February 13, 2011
Huge penalties for Isles, PensBrawl-filled match draws long bans
By QMI Agency
The NHL didn’t pull any punches in punishing the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for their brutal excuse of a hockey game at Nassau Coliseum Friday.
Three players were suspended Saturday as a result of the feisty, brawl-filled matchup. Penguins forward Eric Godard has been banned for 10 games, Islanders forward Trevor Gilles for nine and Islanders forward Matt Martin for four.
Godard left the bench early in the third period to intervene in a fight between Islanders forward Matt Haley and Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson. That action alone carries a minimum 10-game suspension, as per NHL rules.
“With respect to the Godard suspension, there can be no circumstance that allows for a player to leave his bench for the purpose of coming to the aid of a teammate,” NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said in a statement.
Gilles elbowed Penguins forward Eric Tangradi in the head in the third period.
Martin chased down and punched Penguins forward Maxime Talbot in the head from behind in the second period. The last time these teams played, Talbot nailed Islanders forward Blake Comeau with a blindside hit. Comeau is believed to have suffered a concussion from the play.
“The actions by the Islanders’ Gillies and Martin were deliberate attempts to injure by delivering blows to the head of players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves,” Campbell said. “The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension.”
The Islanders were also fined $100,000 by the league.
“The Islanders also must bear some responsibility for their failure to control their players,” Campbell said.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was also under the microscope related to Godard’s leaving of the bench, but was absolved of any blame and received no punishment.
The 9-3 Islanders win saw 65 penalties dealt for a total 346 minutes. It’s the most penalty minutes handed out in a single game since the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers fought their way to an NHL-record 419 on March 5, 2004.