Canucks’ Edler suspended two games for charging Mike Smith (VIDEO) (PuckDaddy)
The Department of Player Safety may have shrugged off Rick Nash's hit on Tomas Kopecky, but Alexander Edler stands -- or, in this case, sits -- as evidence that they've not gone soft. The Vancouver Canucks' defenceman has been suspended two games for charging after running over netminder Mike Smith Thursday night in Phoenix.
I've been saying since last night that I didn't think this one was going to earn a suspension. Looks like I was dead wrong.
That said, I still don't agree with it. It's difficult for me to write something contrary to the Department of Player Safety when it concerns a Canuck, since it's obviously going to lead to easy accusations of bias, what with that other blog I run, but all I can do is assure you I'd be saying the same thing even if the jerseys were reversed.
Undoubtedly, Edler doesn't attempt to minimize or avoid contact, as the video says. That's not up for update clear. He doesn't stop, or turn, or scream "Moooooove!" at any point in this clip. But I'd like to know where he's supposed to go.
The Canucks are on a powerplay. They've rung the puck around the boards, and he's racing after it. Suddenly, Smith pops out from his net, and not only does he take possession of the puck, but he turns and opens himself up to the player headed around the net after the puck at full speed.
Unlike Andrew Shaw's collision with Smith from last year's playoffs, which earned him a three-game ban, it's the goalie, not the skater, that puts himself in the other party's way. Shaw is at the blueline when Smith heads behind the net to take the puck. Edler's at the goal line.
Still, I was comfortable with the five-minute major the play earned on the ice. I didn't think Edler had much of a choice left, but an attempt to slow up or stop, however futile it might have been, would have allowed him to skate away from this incident with a mea culpa. Burn him for that. But to sit him for two more games, when the Department is not only willing to say there was "no malicious intent" on the play but also unwilling to call this reckless, well, I don't see the sense in it.