Last night, Pittsburgh Penguins enforcer Tom Sestito was given a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct after a hard hit from behind on Winnipeg Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom. The league announced this morning that Sestito would have a phone hearing today on supplemental punishment for the incident. Well, that hearing has come and gone and NHL Player Safety has decided to hand down a four-game suspension for the veteran winger.
As Player Safety acknowledges, Enstrom did see Sestito coming and turned away from the check. However, they continue that Enstrom slowed and made his move earlier enough that Sestito had “sufficient time to minimize the force of the hit”. Instead, Sestito continued at full-force and caused injury to Enstrom because of it. The suspension will hopefully work toward teaching Sestito that hitting someone right on the numbers from behind is the exact kind of dangerous play that the NHL is looking to eliminate.
Sestito has only played in nine games this season -while racking up 44 penalty minutes in that time – with the Penguins and his presence will hardly be missed. However, the hope is that the missed games and subsequent loss of pay will impart some knowledge and sense of responsibility on Sestito in the future, if and when he gets back on the ice. Sestito is one of the few pure enforcers remaining in the NHL as the league moves away from violence for violence’s sake.