Though it is hard to remember this far back, when the NHL season hit pause, the playing status of New York Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux was still up in the air. The Department of Player Safety was reviewing a hit he threw on Joonas Donskoi of the Colorado Avalanche, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until a decision was made on the return to play. Today, a decision has been made on what to do with him.
The DoPS has suspended Lemieux for the first two of the Rangers qualification round games. As the accompanying video explains:
What causes this hit to raise to the level of supplemental discipline, is the lateness of the hit, the substantial head contact and the force of the impact.
The fact that Donskoi suffered an injury on the play and Lemieux is a repeat offender both played a role in the decision to keep him out of two games.
Losing Lemieux isn’t a death sentence for the Rangers, but it does take an effective weapon out of their lineup for their matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lemieux has found a full-time role as a pest in the team’s bottom-six, contributing a little offense and a lot of physical play. He had six goals and 18 points through 59 games this season but racked up 111 penalty minutes.