The decision has been made on Winnipeg Jets forward Brendan Lemieux. The Department of Player Safety has suspended Lemieux for two games following his illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck. Lemieux delivered a check almost exclusively to the head of Trocheck, and was given a match penalty for the contact in addition to the fighting major he earned after MacKenzie Weegar initiated a fight. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that the head is clearly the main point of contact on this hit, and that the head contact on this hit was avoidable. While Trocheck is playing the puck, he does not materially change the position of his head or body just prior to contact in a way that contributes to the head being the main point of contact on this hit. If Lemieux wants to deliver this check, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Trocheck’s shoulder and core rather than picking his head and making it the main point of contact.
Lemieux, 22, hasn’t faced any previous disciplinary action from the DoPS, but that’s not saying a lot considering his NHL career is just 18 games old. The 31st-overall pick from the 2014 draft, he was traded by the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Evander Kane deal several years ago and has racked up 328 penalty minutes in 125 AHL games. Though his physical play is encouraged and a big part of his game, there will be increased punishments by the league if he continues to engage in dangerous hits like this.
Trocheck returned to the game and finished with 19 minutes of ice time, luckily escaping a major injury. The Panthers aren’t back in action until Thursday, giving him some extra time to recover from any ill effects. Lemieux meanwhile will miss at least a week, given that the Jets don’t play again until Friday. He will be eligible to return to the lineup on Wednesday, November 14th.