Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Derian Hatcher Suspended

As the Wings hit the golf course and try to enjoy the start of their long summer vacation, the league is reminding us of the stinging second round loss to the Flames. Colin Campbell, the league's NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, has suspended Derian Hatcher for the first three games of the theoretical next season for elbowing Matthew Lombardi in the head. Here is my recount of the play from the Game 6 summary:
"At 15:58 [of the first period], Derian Hatcher laid out a viscous elbow on Matthew Lombardi at the Wings' line. Lombardi left the ice dazed, and the crowd booed Hatcher for the rest of the game. If there was a Game 7, Hatcher might've been suspended from it for the dirty elbow to Lombardi's head."
While I noted that it was a dirty hit, enough to be suspended for, I hardly expected league action 8 days later. It's a low blow to the Wings for the league to do this so after the fact, reminding us of the second round failure a week later. I'd like to see the league rules concerning the statute of limitations regarding player suspensions. If common sense prevailed, it'd be set at 7 days so that Campbell isn't watching video all summer long, gleaning the tapes for another suspension. If anyone knows of any NHL rule that sets a deadline for filing player suspensions, I'd be interested in hearing about it. According to the Calgary Sun, Lombardi is suffering from "Hatcher Hangover." To be more specific, the forward has been out since Game 6 of the Wings/Flames series with what is believed to be a concussion. Interestingly, Lombardi returned from the dressing room to finish Game 6, but felt the results of the crushing elbow the next morning. Flames head coach Darryl Sutter wouldn't give the specifics of the symptoms, only that "he's not relatively healthy."


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