The suspension includes Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
A remorseful Lapierre issued a public apology to Boyle on Wednesday and apparently reached out to the defenseman in an attempt to offer a personal apology.
“First of all, I would like to apologize to Dan. You never want to see someone feel that way and, as tough as it is to look at for the fans and his teammates, I feel the same way. . . . I never [thought] last night it was going to be a hit to the head or it would be that big a deal . . .I was just trying to finish my hit. But the game goes fast. It’s not an excuse. You have to be responsible for your hits and I was the one doing the bad hit last night.”
Many people around the league thought that the NHL would throw the book at Lapierre, who has been suspended before for a hit on Scott Nichol- then with the Sharks- in 2010. After all, the hit was a reckless one, and Boyle did have to be carted off the ice on a stretcher.
Yet, Lapierre only received five games, which will undoubtedly come as a surprise to many.
In Lapierre’s defense, Boyle did seem to slip right before Lapierre hit him, making the end result much worse. Brendan Shanahan confirmed this in a video released Friday explaining the reasoning behind Lapierre’s suspension:
“As Boyle goes to reverse the puck, his right toe makes contact with the yellow kick plate at the bottom of the boards, throwing him off balance,” Shanahan said. “While this was occurring, Lapierre uses his arms to finish him high in the back, causing Boyle’s jaw to his the blue dasher top of the boards and knocking him unconscious.”
However, Boyle was still in a vulnerable position with his numbers facing the boards. Lapierre should be held responsible for making the hit, which is why he received a five-game suspension according to Shanahan:
“Despite the fact that Boyle’s stumble might have contributed to his vulnerability, the fact remains if Lapierre does not illegally hit him in the numbers, Boyle’s face does not crash violently into the boards.”
What do you think? Was a five game suspension enough for Lapierre?
Let us know in the comments section below.