San Jose Sharks Dan Boyle is taken from the ice by stretcher after being injured in the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October 15, 2013. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 15: Andrew Desjardins #10 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates a goal against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on October 15, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 15: Members of the San Jose Sharks celebrate after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on October 15, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
(HockeyStL) -- Tuesday night was an ugly evening of hockey for the St. Louis Blues. Not only did the Blues get badly outplayed on home ice, but they also were involved in some dangerous plays.
With just under six minutes gone in the first period, Blues forward Maxim Lapierre delivered a hit on San Jose’s Dan Boyle near the corner boards. As Lapierre skated away after the hit, Boyle remained down on the ice, and until he was able to be lifted onto a stretcher, he stayed there.
Lapierre was given a major penalty for checking from behind, as well as a game misconduct.
“No one in their right mind would ever want that to happen to another guy,” said Blues forward David Backes in a postgame interview posted on the Blues website. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan Boyle and his family. It’s a scary thing and something we hope never happens. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery and is back on the ice soon.”
After the game, Sharks players and coaching staff were understandably upset about the hit that left one of their players unconscious on the ice and later hospitalized.
“Very scary moment. Needless,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan in an interview posted by the Sharks. “It doesn’t have to happen in the game. It’s the player’s game. The respect factor is not where it needs to be. Hard and stupid are two different things.”
Boyle stayed overnight at a St. Louis hospital for observation, but reportedly was doing better than expected. The Sharks updated his situation in-game, saying that he was alert and moving his extremities. Boyle was not moving when he was down on the ice, so the report is certainly a good one.
The hit was one that happens all too often in today’s National Hockey League. It was a situation where Boyle was playing the puck along the boards, and the defending player, who in this scenario was Lapierre, didn’t let up and followed through on a check. On replay, it appears as though Lapierre did extend his arms and give Boyle a push. However, it also looked as though Boyle either slipped, or lowered himself before the push, which likely didn’t help the outcome.
“I don’t know if many people saw the hit,” admitted Backes. “It was kind of tucked into the corner away from our vantage point. It’s part of the game, unfortunately. It’s human nature to feel empathy for him and his family. He has a wife who was probably watching that game. My wife has been in that situation before. I can’t say enough that we hope he is back soon.”
“It’s tough because it’s Dan Boyle and there is so much respect in this office because of history with Dan,” said Blues head coach Hitchcock. “We are hoping he is okay.”
It was undeniably a reckless hit by Lapierre and will be reviewed by the National Hockey League. The League announced on Wednesday that it has requested an in-person hearing for Lapierre. The League is required to offer an in-person hearing for any suspension that can exceed five games, but that doesn’t mean that the suspension will be that lengthy. The NHL was reviewing the hit on Tuesday night, and likely already has a suspension length in mind. The hearing is expected to take place later this week in New York.
“I’m not judge and jury,” said McLellan. Brendan will have his say with him. There’s an avenue and the league will take care of it. They will go to work.”
Factoring into what is expected to be a suspension of some sort is Lapierre’s prior suspension history, and Boyle’s apparent injury. Lapierre was suspended for four games in 2010 for a hit on former Sharks and Blues player Scott Nichol. Usually, lengthier suspensions are handed out to repeat offenders.
Lapierre is suspended pending his hearing, so he will not be playing on Thursday for the Blues.