NHL Player Safety has announced that Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak will be suspended two games for a high hit on New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi on Wednesday. As the league explains, by launching himself toward the head area of Girardi, Pastrnak committed an illegal check and has been given two games as a punishment. Girardi was not injured on the hit.
There are certainly some questions as to the intent of the 180 lb. Pastrnak as he flew towards an unaware 210 lb. Girardi. Pastrnak has never been afraid of contact, despite his smaller stature, but he also has no history of dirty checks. Girardi was also making a play on the puck, and the hit was with purpose and not late. Nevertheless, the league felt that Pastrnak’s hit, which by accident or on purpose was to the head of Girardi, warranted a suspension, even as the player’s first offense.
Pastrnak will miss big divisional games for the Bruins, on the road against the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. After starting off strong with a 3-1 record, Boston has lost their last three games while they dealt with the absence of goalie Tuukka Rask. With Rask set to return as early as tomorrow, the Bruins were hoping to get back on track. They will have to do so without their leading goal-scorer. Playing on a line with Brad Marchand and one of Patrice Bergeron or David Backes, Pastrnak has gotten off to a red-hot start with five goals and three assists in seven games. The 20-year-old is tied for second in the league in goals, and was hoping to pot a few more on the Bruins road trip. Instead, he will watch from the bench as a Boston team that is struggling with injuries early this season will lose another key contributor.