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.

  • Meeting is set for 11am… tomorrow? According to Hot Stove.

    Didn’t see the game or the hit until today, but that is about as dirty as you can get. Stuart doesn’t see him until the last second, and Kosto deliberately targets the head. Unnecessary too, as we were winning at that point (even if we were losing, still uncalled for).

    And we have Mike Milbury up here on the Hot Stove talking about how the hit is “mean and nasty, but doesn’t bring the elbow up and it’s legal”.

    Even worse, now we can’t get rid of Kosto, his trade value just hit the dirt.

  • the forgotten man

    If the NHL is serious about the hits to the head, they should look no further than a very lengthy suspension. The intent to injure in the tommy alphabet cheap shot constitutes a minimum of 15 games. There was no intent to play the puck,but simply to injure, the sole purpose of this hit was to inflict serious head injury. The hit was not reactionary but malicious.

  • thymebalm

    5+ games would be accurate according to the top secret NHL suspension flow chart as found here:

    Really though, the forgotten man, are you actually trying to blame Darryl for this somehow? Give me a break. Kostopolous was a throw in and played very good hockey before he got a little too excited in a pressure situation.

  • the forgotten man

    Hit to the head, intent to injure, clearly no intention of playing the puck, player in a vulnerable position –If that’s not a clear case of what the NHL is trying to eradicate then I don’t know what is. 3 to 5 games is most likely what he’ll receive, but it should be 10.

  • the forgotten man

    Man that was vicious and totally uncalled for…where does one begin. Kostopoulos has no intention of gaining possession of puck, deliberately targets Stuart who has already relinquished control of the puck, and to top off this “idiot sundae” Kostopoulos not just raises his elbow but drives it into his jaw. Why not just sucker punch the guy and take a little mercy on him!!
    This is the exact kind of “hit” that has no place in any sports league…Stuart jaw will never be the same after that blow – ask anyone who has ever had their jaw dislocated or broken due to trauma.

    What knaws me the most is that Kostopoulos shouldn’t even be playing in this league with what minimal skill level he possesses and just reinforces why Daz needed to hit the road.

    I hope Butter had the balls to say something to Kostopoulos once he saw the replay and hopefully the NHL throws the book at him.