Should Kostopoulos Be Suspended?

The video above is the best angle I was able to find when it comes to Tom Kostopoulos’s hit on Detroit’s Brad Stuart from last night.  The Flames ended up falling 5-4 in a shootout to the Red Wings and this happened midway through the third period.  Kostopoulos was handed a two minute roughing penalty, but in looking at it again, you can understand why many are saying the league should take a closer look.

Stuart is watching a bouncing puck near his own net and is in a vulnerable position when Kostopoulos comes flying in and clips him with a high hit to the head.  To me, there was intent to make contact with the head of an unsuspecting player.  As JF correctly points out below, it doesn’t actually fall into the "blindside" category Rule 48 was set out to crack down on, however.

The talk of Stuart needing to keep his head up is ludicrous in my eyes.  Stuart was watching the puck because it was right beside the crease.  This wasn’t a case of a player admiring his pass and getting clipped.  He shouldn’t have to worry if a guy is going to come in and hammer him with a late hit.

My personal take is the Kostopoulos hit should be looked at, but it’s so stupid to guess or speculate whether there will be a suspension or not.  It’s too inconsistent a scale in this league to even guess.  Stuart is out 6-8 weeks with a broken jaw.

EDIT – The league suspended Kostopoulos six games for the hit, which was a little higher than I thought; I was thinking three would be the range.  Colin Cambpell admitted the injury came into it, and I think there’s probably something to the "it’s a Red Wings thing" too.

That all being said, I thought it was something that needed to be looked at.  But becuase the NHL has such grey area with this stuff, there’s nothing that says a suspension was absolutely warranted, or absolutely not warranted.  The subjective nature of NHL disipline was once again on display here.  So, while I agree with a suspension myself, the arbitrary nature of getting to six games remains one of the most annoying things with this league.

  • @ Ethan
    Incidentally hit the chin? How does ones jaw break from incidentally hitting the shoulder? The head got hit. Whether it’s deemed legal by whomever standards the head was hit no question about that. My argument isn’t the fact the hit is legal or illegal; the argument is the player was in a venerable position; the head was hit and caused significant damage.
    Your dinosaur way of playing and thinking the game is changing even the hockey experts are calling this a hit to the head! So you don’t need to have “played” the game to recognize the hit is suspendable, I have played the game at the AJHL level and still play the game for the love of it, and I hope I never have to play the likes of you.

    • I dunno Karl… given enough force I don’t see why a shoulder coundn’t break a jaw or if the breaking occurred via hitting the ice after the collision. I can’t find a good enough angle video of the hit to say either way.

      Regardless, I don’t think rule 48 applies here… I think they’ll suspend him under it but that will just be because they’ll lack for any other option.

  • No matter how dirty there will always be fans to defend the players actions. I remember Vancouver fans defending Burtuzzi after he ended Moores career. You can clearly see the upwad motion just as he makes the hit. These are the plays that must be punished before someone dies.

  • Puckmaster


    Cant agree with you more, its not under rule 48 but the fact Stuart was injured will be the reason Tom gets a couple games in the Press Box. Which is too bad seeing he is supposed to play his old team on Tuesday.


    AJHL hey? would you like to share your hockeydb link for us?

    • It was one of the hottest topics around the NHL over the weekend, and it was one of the hottest topics on Twitter.

      How does it not belong on this page? I don’t remember emails and phone calls to the show screaming about the Moss hit, but I remember emails both ways talking about this hit.

  • No. Milbury was right on the Hot Stove last night. Stuart was clearing the puck and saw TK coming at him. Can I please know how and why TK’s hit is suspendable and the Winter Classic hit on Crosby isn’t? Makes no sense.

    • Laughable, the crosby incident at the winter clasic was not by any means deliberate or malicious. It was not a planned collision,just to players accidently bumping in to one another. And for the record, Tommy boy has a bit of a rep as a cheapshot artist. Watch the Van Ryn hit, Laroque doesn’t even come to his aid,case closed. Sucked Timmo too, as well as a lot of border line hits as a hab.

      • Meh, I don’t think suspensions should be (albeit they generally are) judged on “deliberate or malicious”… I mean those two terms are entirely subjective the only person who knows if anything is deliberate is the performer and malicious is a matter of opinion. I also think the “repeat offender” creedo is bunk… either someone broke the rules to the extent that they should receive supplemental punishment in accordance with league rules or they didn’t and shouldn’t. Simple as that.

  • For those saying it was a “blind side” hit, you are wrong. He hit him straight on.

    For those saying he was vulnerable, of course he was, but that was his fault for whiffing his stick at a bouncing puck and not preparing to get popped. Kostopolous plays on the fourth line, he is an energy player. His role is to create engery for the team. Obviously a huge hit is going to create engery, he was going for the big hit.

    There are two problems with this hit:

    A) He followed through with his arms. He could have kept his shoulder down & would have sent Stuart on his ass & the hit would have been a good hard hit. The fact that he drove his arms up & connected with Stuarts jaw is the main issue.

    B) Stuart is injured. The league will definitely take that into consideration when deciding the length of the suspension.

    My guess is 4 games. I don’t think Kostopolous’ attempt was to injure Stuart (Bertuzzi on Moore) but rather to lay him out. He hit him incorrectly which unfortunately led to Stuart’s jaw exploding.

    • 6 games for kostopulous, is fine. The big picture is the Flames are now stuck with Kotalik in the line up. Thats the harshest punishment the Flames could get. Tommy hurt his team with this cheapshot.

          • mikeecho

            50% of the Flames have been sub NHL for the last year and a half and still get ice time.

            Conroy has played well in his appearances this year, unlike some others who are a detriment every time they step on the ice.

          • SmellOfVictory

            He hasn’t been in the lineup in weeks because he’s one of the cheapest forwards on the team and because there’s a glut of centres. He’s not great offensively, but he’s one of the better defensive forwards on the team, and is a good 3rd/4th line center.

  • mikeecho

    Weird, messages don’t seem to be posting for me… hope this doesn’t end up being triple posted.

    Having seen this post… … and reviewed the league produced video on the rule I’m now actually calling bull on the suspension. Tell me how there is a difference between the Kostopolis hit and the hit at 2:53 of the NHL video that they held up as an example of a legal hit to the head?

  • the forgotten man

    All I can say is that I hope I never end up on a rink/gymnasium floor or field with any of the commenters who think this hit was legit…on watching the replay again Kostopoulos doesn’t even have the decency to just lead with his elbow but actually retracts it before shoving it forward and up as he makes contact with Stuart’s jaw – stay classy Kosto.
    Playing devil’s advocate, I guess Kostopoulos should get full marks for his timing and follow through (sic).

  • CitizenFlame

    I thought 6 games was harsh. I thought 3 would have been in more in line with the type of hit. I think that the referee got the call bang on too. The only problem I saw with the hit is that Stuart was vulnerable and Kosto took a run at him. Stuart took two or three whacks at the puck, so while he didn’t have posession he was attempting to play the puck. Even the commentator on the video says that it was Kostopoulos shoulder that makes contact; not elbow. As for “intent” to injure, that is a subjective term and who can prove that? I also dislike the injury being taken into account for length of term. A player shouldn’t get off for a cheap/dangerous play because the intended target was lucky enough to not be seriously injured. The play should be looked at objectively, without considering the extent to which a player was injured, or what the intent is alleged to have been.

    I actually think that the Kostopoulos hit was unnecessary and shouldn’t have taken place but I don’t think it warranted 6 games. If Ovechkin threw that hit we’re talking about a 2-3 game suspension.

  • icedawg_42

    When the hit happened I immediately thought “oooh…there’s a suspension”..was surprised that he was only called for a minor.
    Finishing your check or not, that hit was over the top. 6 games is pretty harsh though, more than I expected. I thought 2 or 3.

    • Yeah clearly I’m leading the charge. Colin Cambpell called me in fact.

      Everyone was talking about this one, so I got conversation going on here.

      I’ll admit though, I was wrong on my interpretation off the hop, and six games seems a little stiff. JF pointed out how my interpreation was wrong.
      In the long run though, I think it’s a reckless play, and because everyone seemed to be talking about it Friday and Saturday, I thought I’d throw it up here.