The Department of Player Safety has come down with a decision regarding Cedric Paquette’s hit on Trevor Zegras last night, and the Montreal Canadiens forward will be suspended for the next two games. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that while Zegras does pivot slightly while making a play with the puck, this is not a case of a player turning his back immediately prior to contact in a way that turns a legal hit into an illegal one. When Zegras collects the puck in the corner, Paquette is at the bottom of the faceoff circle. From that time, until the moment he delivers the check, Paquette sees nothing but Zegras’ numbers. The onus is on Paquette to deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force of the contact or avoid the hit entirely. Instead, he hits forcefully into Zegras’ back, driving him dangerously into the boards.
The fact that Paquette has been suspended previously and fined previously was taken into account in the decision, as was the fact that Zegras did not suffer a serious injury on the play. On the ice, Paquette received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct but will miss an additional two contests while he serves his suspension.
Not only that, but this new incident will now also be taken into account in the future for the Canadiens’ center. Two suspensions on his record mean that all of his play will be examined more closely, with increasing penalties for any further plays that require supplementary discipline.