4:24 PM — The Department of Player Safety announced they have suspended Bortuzzo four games for cross-checking Arvidsson, who is now listed as being out for four to six weeks because of the incident. Bortuzzo will sacrifice $67,073.16 in salary.
8:47 AM — Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson celebrated his 300th career NHL game with just 4:15 of ice time. While he managed to record an assist in that brief period, he left the game early in the first period with a lower body injury as a result of repeated cross-checks from St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. Bortuzzo received a two-minute minor on the play, even though each of the two cross-checks likely deserved its own penalty. However, the league will make up for that on-ice error. The NHL Department of Player Safety announced last night that Bortuzzo will sit for a hearing. It has been scheduled for Sunday, ensuring that there is a decision before he could potentially face the Predators again on Monday night.
The play in question occurred just six minutes into Saturday night’s game (video). Arvidsson, standing in the St. Louis crease as the puck was loose in front of the net, initially receives a forceful check from behind from Bortuzzo, pushing him into the net. Bortuzzo actually turns and complains to the refs about how easily Arvidsson went down, even though the forward was completely blindsided by a hit from a much bigger, stronger player. Bortuzzo then turns back to Arvidsson and hits him with another cross check as he is trying to get up, one that is arguably harder and more dangerous and certainly more intentional. Arvidsson appears to feel this second check even more. For good measure, Blues goalie Jordan Binnington then shoves Arvidsson back into the goal again, although Binnington is not expected to receive any supplemental disclipline.
Few will be surprised to see Bortuzzo’s name linked to a player safety incident. The often-overly aggressive defender is a repeat offender, with his most recent suspension coming just last year after an elbow to the head of Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny. He lost two preseason games and one regular season games for that incident and the league will likely want to dole out a harsher penalty for yet another infraction. Bortuzzo has made his career off of being the biggest and toughest player on the ice, but has been known to lose his cool and end up in the penalty box or in trouble with the league. This was clearly a case of Bortuzzo purposefully committing a dangerous penalty against an opponent with an intent to injure. As such, Player Safety may choose to send a message to a player who clearly has yet to learn his lesson. Expect a suspension of at least two games for the St. Louis blue liner this time around.