Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa penalized for rule 48 violation on Predators’ Stalberg; suspension coming?

Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the first period of the Vancouver Canucks’ Tuesday night game against the Nashville Predators, Canucks defender Kevin Bieksa caught Predators forward Viktor Stalberg with an illegal check to the head. 

Bieksa was assessed a minor penalty on the play and Stalberg left the game rather woozily with an apparent head injury. The Swedish winger returned and took another shift within five minutes on the game clock though, and the Predators cashed in on the ensuring power-play opportunity. 

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So will Bieksa be hearing from the league as a result of the hit? Let’s discuss it on the other side of the jump.

Here’s a reverse angle of the hit in question:


(Courtesy: FOX Sports)

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Whether or not Bieksa receives a suspension as a result of this hit is anyone’s guess. 

Working in Bieksa’s favour is that Stalberg’s positioning was low, and that the veteran Canucks defender has no history of supplementary discipline (as far as I can tell). 

Working against Bieksa is the seriousness with which Stephane Quintal’s Department of Player Safety treats illegal checks to the head. In his first full year as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian, Quintal has suspended 10 players for a total of 32 games for rule 48 violations. It’s easily the most frequently suspended offense in the league.

Have your say: does Bieksa’s hit-to-the-head on Stalberg merit supplementary discipline?

  • Brent

    I’d say it deserves a suspension if it were a player on any other team in the NHL, and I hate hypocrisy on this super-important safety issue above all else, so I’ll say: yes, absolutely suspend him.

  • Larionov18

    I think this hit was worse than the Burrows hit. Bieksa deserves a fine at min maybe two games but I would like the same respect back for the hits on Mathias and Burrows.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Don’t forget there is history here:

    I don’t think that will play in the suspension decision, but it’s history that could be important for the players involved.

    Best the Canucks can hope for is a couple of games. Though the Toffoli hit was just as bad, the league will probably look at Bieksa and determine that the player’s head was in a vulnerable state.

    That’s what’s so infuriating about the league’s managment of player safety. Certain players get certain protections, and despite the league’s desire to look even-handed in punishments, it often looks more like it’s totally agenda driven.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Let’s review the criteria for a suspension.
    Does the player play for the Canucks, Bruins, or another team.
    If player plays on another team then no suspension.
    If player plays for Bruins then suspend victim for scuffing Bruin elbow pads.
    If player plays for Canucks then suspend them just because you can.
    Hmmmm. Bieksa plays for Canucks, he can expect a long suspension.

  • Brent

    You’re forgetting some important factors in the decision-making process of deciding whether to levy a suspension against Bieksa.

    Firstly, Bieksa plays for Vancouver.

    Secondly, Stalberg plays for Nashville, and American team.

    I’d say he gets somewhere between 5-10 games and a 100k fine.

    I’m being hyperbolic to make a point/hopefully be a little humorous, but at this point, I am convinced (like some other people) that these factors absolutely matter when deciding things like this to the league.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I think if there is a suspension it should be minimal.

    In my view Bieska is trying to injure Stalberg! The forward is coming around the back of the net holding off Horvat and is leaning forward and down. Stalberg is skating tall with his head up its a shoulder to shoulder hit.

    At what point does an opposing player have to take responsibility to keep their head up? This wasn’t an open ice hit or Big Buff type of shot. Juice was trying to seperate the player from the puck. Big difference

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    This hit was no different than the Mike Ribeiro hit on Jannik Hansen in the first meeting this season. Ribeiro never even got a review. Let’s see the double standards of the nhl work now.