Heads shake over late hit, head hit calls

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Chris Drury feels Tomas Kaberle's pain.

Just 10 days ago Drury was decked by a controversial hit from the Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil, leaving the Buffalo Sabres co-captain with a concussion of his own.

Drury, who hopes to be back in the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, watched the Kaberle-Cam Janssen incident on television.

"It looked like more (of a late hit) than mine," Drury said yesterday. "Whether he got a shoulder or an elbow to the head, it was the lateness that I noticed. And hitting the boards didn't help him, either.

"I was lucky I didn't have the boards there."

Drury, like the entire Sabres organization, would like the league to take a more firm stance on head shots. Just a week ago, Buffalo owner Tom Golisano sent an open letter to the league and media outlets stressing the need to eliminate blows to the head from the game.

But Drury admits such a stand is difficult to police.

"If I'm going against (6-foot-9) Zdeno Chara, his shoulder or elbow is naturally at my head level," he said. "I think each incident should be looked at individually."

While Janssen received a three-game suspension, Neil escaped with no punishment from the league.

"I feel it was likeable with the Drury hit and I pretty much go along with the league's decision," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said of the Janssen suspension.

Janssen, who will forfeit $7,220.16 US in salary for his actions, thinks the fact Neil wasn't suspended led to the league taking a more harsh look at the hit on Kaberle.

"It doesn't help me whatsoever what happened with Drury," Janssen said. "On the other hand, I've got to be more careful. Everybody does. You don't want to see anybody get hurt."

So why was Janssen suspended while Neil wasn't?

"The explanation (the NHL) gave us was they felt the time between when (Drury) released the puck and when he was hit was a half-a-second and that didn't justify a late hit," Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn said.

"I don't like those hits (to the head). I commend the league for taking action (on Janssen)."


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