Will Calgary Flames forward Martin Pospisil be suspended for his hit on Seattle’s Vince Dunn?

Photo credit:Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Since he was called up by the Calgary Flames back on Nov. 3, forward Martin Pospisil has developed a reputation as a player that uses his body to agitate, disrupt, and generally create havoc. On Monday evening, that tendency got the better of him as he was ejected from the Flames’ 4-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken following a check from behind on Kraken defenceman Vince Dunn in the third period.
Now, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviews all incidents and can levy supplemental discipline even if a penalty wasn’t called on the play. In this case, we’re thinking they’re definitely going to review it.
So, will Pospisil get any supplemental discipline – such as a fine or suspension – for hits actions? We’re thinking that he might.
The Department of Player Safety generally has a three-pronged approach to determining if supplemental discipline is warranted:
  • Was the conduct illegal? (As in, was it beyond the scope of a typical “hockey play”?)
  • Did an injury result from the conduct?
  • Is the player involved a repeat offender?
The check from behind was definitely illegal. Pospisil crashed into him pretty hard, and Dunn was in a dangerous position on the ice to receive a hit. Yes, some of that is on Dunn, but the league’s stance has generally been “Hey, you should recognize when your opponents are in vulnerable positions and not try to put them into the fifth row.” The hit wasn’t retaliatory or predatory necessarily, but it likely was a scary enough hit and an avoidable enough hit that the league might want to send a message.
Dunn went down the tunnel after the hit and didn’t play another shift in the final 6:19 of the game.
By the NHL’s definition of what a “repeat offender” is, Pospisil doesn’t meet the criteria since he’s never received supplemental discipline before. But let’s broaden things a bit and use what I would like to refer to as “the Matthew Tkachuk Rookie Year Precedent.” Tkachuk ran around like a maniac during the 2016-17 season and developed a reputation, similar to Pospisil’s, as a guy other teams legit hated. Tkachuk ended up getting suspended once late in the season (for elbowing Drew Doughty) and then twice more in the following season, as seemingly Player Safety were trying to get him to calm the heck down.
Pospisil was ejected from a pre-season game in September for a match penalty from a hit on Winnipeg’s Cole Perfetti. He was ejected from a game at the beginning of February for a cross-checking major penalty on Boston’s Brad Marchand. Monday’s checking-from-behind major penalty was his second ejection in just shy of a month.
Simply put: Pospisil is putting together a body of work and building a reputation that is earning him attention from opposing teams… and is probably going to lead to additional scrutiny from the Department of Player Safety at some point. We don’t think Pospisil’s conduct against Seattle was a definite open-and-shut “throw the book at him!” suspension. But when you look at the incident in the context of his season so far, we wouldn’t rule supplemental discipline out in this case.
The Flames are back in action on Thursday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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