Preview and GDT: Leafs at Sabres (7 p.m., Sportsnet)
After returning from injury and playing an instrumental role in the Leafs earning three of four points, the Leafs will be without Joffrey Lupul again for two games as a result of today’s suspension for his high hit on Victor Hedman.
Lupul did leave his feet slightly prior to contact. The principle point of contact was the head. My instant reaction last night was that it was suspendable and that one game would suffice.
If player history and the damage inflicted on the victim are factors (Hedman returned to the game), why does Lupul get the extra game?
Lupul will miss tonight’s game in Buffalo and, unfortunately, the Boston game on Saturday, but will be back in time for Monday’s game vs. the Bruins.
You be the judge:
I saw someone on Twitter mention the Niklas Kronwall on Charlie Coyle hit from last night in Detroit, which strikes one as worse than Lupul’s and seemingly snuck under the radar for NHL disciplinarians. Just one example of many, but it actually happened on the same night:
Decision making from the NHL Department of Player Safety has always followed the “hammered guy throwing darts at a dartboard” model of consistency, so I suppose we must move on.
Clarke MacArthur will likely rejoin Kadri in Lupul’s place, while Ryan Hamilton could sub into the lineup tonight as he was apparently recalled once Mike Komisarek was sent down to the Marlies. The other option is for Frazer McLaren to return to the 4th line.
The Leafs are 2-1 against the Sabres and probably should be 3-0. With two games against the Bruins upcoming, the importance of two points here is all the more accentuated. This is a Sabres team that’s bad in all major categories – last in PP, 23rd in PK, 26th in GA, 21st in GF. Cam Charron notes that they’re the worst team in the league when it comes to possession metrics.
What’s more, Thomas Vanek is out day to day with a hip injury. It would be pretty disappointing if the Leafs fail to come out with the two points tonight. Get ‘er done, Leafs.