Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended six games for his devastating hit on Detroit’s Brad Stuart. Kostopoulos delivered a direct hit to Stuart’s head when the Red Wings defenceman was completely vulnerable, which broke his jaw and left a trail of blood to the dressing room. The incident occurred on Friday night, but the NHL had its hands full with Ben Eager on Saturday morning in what has proven to be a busy weekend for NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
Kostopoulos was given a minor penalty for roughing on the play. The Wings were expecting a suspension on the hit, which head coach Mike Babcock called “a bad hit, a blindside hit to the head. Uncalled for, unneeded. Disappointing.”
Colin Campbell said that there were a number of factors in his decision to suspend Kostopoulos for six games, via KuklasKorner:
“Kostopoulos delivered a blow to the head of an unsuspecting and vulnerable player. As well, he targeted the head of his opponent and, while the hit was not from the blindside, the head was the principle point of contact.
The fact that Brad Stuart was not in possession of the puck when the blow was delivered and the serious nature of the player’s injury were also considered in my decision.”
It’s another instance of a grotesquely violent hit in the NHL, and Kostopoulos is lucky he’s only missing six games and forfeiting $29,569.92 in salary. If it were up to this hockey blogger, the league would move to a zero tolerance approach on hits like Kostopoulos’ and start throwing down suspensions for 25 games or more. Of course, we’re forced to weather the opinions of neanderthals like Mike Milbury – which I’m sure are agreeable to similar backwards thinkers. Fanhouse’s Kevin Schultz took issue with Milbury’s comments regarding the hit on Stuart in which the Hockey Night In Canada Hot Stove panelist said:
“Loved it! Let’s go to namby pamby land because I know these guys have other thoughts,” Milbury exclaimed when (Ron) MacLean asked for his thoughts on the Stuart hit. “Stuart had the puck, he’s trying to get rid of it. You guys just wanna keep. … You know, why don’t we all just go listen to Peter, Paul and Mary records.”
It was a disgusting hit that has no place in hockey, and Milbury’s comments are repulsing as well. I’m sure we haven’t seen or heard the last of either.