For going low on Sami Salo, the NHL lowered the boom on Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
Marchand was suspended five games for clipping the Vancouver Canucks defenceman Saturday in a nasty and entertaining rematch of last spring's Stanley Cup final.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said he was disappointed with the ruling, given Marchand had approached the Department of Player Safety before the season to get clarification on what was a suspendable offence in such a situation. Marchand went low when he though Salo was moving in to check him.
"(Marchand) was advised that such an incident was not sanctionable if he was protecting his own safety. Given our feeling that Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep, today's ruling is not consistent with what the Department of Player Safety communicated to Brad," said Chiarelli.
Marchand was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for clipping, though it looked like the contact was initiated on Salo's hip, well above the knee.
"We do not view this play as defensive or instinctive," said NHL VP for Player Safety Brendan Shanahan in handing down his ruling, "rather we feel this was a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over him.
"Further, Salo is not coming at Marchand with great speed nor in a threatening posture. He does nothing to indicate Marchand is about to be hit illegally or with excessive force. To be clear, we do not consider this a defensive act where there were no other options available to Marchand."
Shanahan said the league took into account Salo suffered a concussion on the play and that Marchand was suspended last March.
The incident adds another layer to the acrimonious rivalry between the two clubs.