The St. Louis Blues will be without one of their opening night players. The NHL suspended Blais.
The St. Louis Blues only had to wait about 24 hours to find out the fate of Sammy Blais. Following contact to the head of an opponent, Blais has been suspended for the next two games.
The interesting thing about the decision is that the video, which will be posted below, clearly states that Blais has no previous history. He has never been fined and not been suspended.
So, the reasoning behind the extra game on the suspension seems odd. A one-game suspension was definitely on the table.
From a fan perspective, this case is further proof that the league needs to figure out set guidelines. In theory, it should be better to take things on a case by case basis, but a hit that did not injure the player for an entire game (Devon Toews did miss some game time) and is a player’s first offense does not seem to warrant two games.
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The counter argument is that two games is somewhat light. The league is trying to do away with hits to the head, so some might argue plays like this need to have the book thrown at them.
Here is the video and each of you can decide.
There is no doubt that contact was made to the head. However, it’s a complex situation.
Colorado Avalanche fans would disagree. They’re probably fine with the two games or think it’s light. If the roles were reversed, many Blues fans would feel the same.
The problem I have with these situations is we review things on slow motion footage and expect a player to completely change their trajectory. The video states that Blais did not take a path through the core of the player, which led to the head being hit.
That is correct, but how many players go for a full-body check behind the net where there is no telling how you or or your opponent will land. The net is right there as are the boards. It’s an awkward situation.
Additionally, Blais was still keeping an eye on the puck. He did have his main vision on Toews, so the argument of avoiding contact is not completely invalid, but it’s happening so fast.
Ultimately, the league’s decision to suspend Blais is not unexpected. It just seems like a fine or a one-game suspension would have been a more fitting punishment.
Blais does need to smarten up too. We have taken to calling him a human missile, but when the player starts taking that somewhat literally, you’re getting into trouble.
Admittedly, I was initially one of the fans upset by the penalty. It seemed like merely a glancing blow and there was no elbow involved, so it made no sense to call the penalty elbowing.
Anyone that has seen fights, whether boxing or UFC, knows that it’s not always the haymakers that knock someone out. The jaw is a weird thing and if you tap it just right a man will go down.
So, hopefully Toews has no ill effects. The ironic thing is that had the Blues not had visa issues with Mike Hoffman, Blais would likely not have suited up anyway.
Now, he will not be suiting up against Colorado or the Blues home opener against the San Jose Sharks.