Jake Virtanen suspended two games for hit on Sharks Roman Polak

It was announced by the NHL department of Player Safety that Canucks forward Jake Virtanen will be suspended for the next two games for a hit on Roman Polak during the second period of the Canucks and Sharks game on Tuesday night. During the game, Virtanen received a five minute major and a game misconduct for the play.

The full explanation can be found here:

The hit can be viewed here:

The Department of Player Safety deemed the hit to be ‘a late and violent’ check to a player that was not expecting to be hit so long after moving the puck. Given that explanation, it is understandable why further discipline was handed down to the young Canucks forward. Although it can be argued that Polak was admiring his pass, there is still too much time between when the puck leaves Polak’s stick and when Virtanen makes contact.

Prior to this hit, Roman Polak cut in front of Jake Virtanen, who was standing in front of the Sharks net, and knocked Virtanen’s stick out of his hand. Virtanen looks to the referee in confusion, then picks up his stick and chases the play up the ice. This is why he comes before the back side of Polak.

The two game suspension seems to be a harsh punishment for the play, as Polak was un-injured and Virtanen does not make any contact with Polak’s head or follow through with his elbow. But it was a late hit to an unsuspecting player and could’ve resulted in a more serious outcome.

Virtanen will miss tomorrow’s game in San Jose and Friday’s game in Anaheim.

  • GoodUserName

    2 games eh? I wonder what Duncan Keith will get for his third time through the department of player safety. I still will never forget the elbow he threw on daniel.

  • Muscles@Brussels

    They picked a random number between 0 and 10 inclusive, 2 is an okay role of the dice.

    I would like to play with the same dice as other teams get, but who says life is fair. Sometimes you are playing the San Jose Sharks, and sometimes you are playing Kelly Sutherland plus the San Jose Sharks. There’s no pride among officials today because they don’t get rewarded for it, only crap from their bosses who are the worst people.

    Deal with it, there’s nothing in your control that you can do. Spend your time becoming that much better.

    If the NHL professed to be fair, unbiased, and free of corruption or non-standard officiating maybe there’s a truth in advertising bylaw of some city that you could give them a $100 fine for. There’s nothing in their fine print to distinguish them from the WWE though.

  • JuiceBox

    I have no problem with 2 games. Jake is learning to walk the fine line on between playing physically and playing reckless. 2 games is the right amount as a reminder that tough play is OK, but make sure you aren’t reckless about it.

  • JuiceBox

    As a side note – One does not swing a stick with full-force at the face of one’s opponent without blatant intent to injure.

    It’s garbage like this that needs to be taken out of the game. This should be an automatic 10 game suspension for a 1st time offender, 20 games for a second time, 1 full season for a third time.

  • GoodUserName

    Once again, the only consistency in the NHL rulings is that Canucks get much longer suspensions than players on other teams who do similar or worse things.

    If this hit deserves two games, that’s fine, but then the hit on Henrik, from behind, which drove him headfirst into the dasher, injured him for several games, and could have ended his career, should have been a 20 game suspension.

    The NHL Department of Player Safety is a den of corruption and nepotism that, in comparison, makes Kim Jung Un look like the epitome of good judgement and moral rectitude.

  • Peachy

    While the NHL’s record for suspensions is inconsistent at best, we shouldn’t do the whole “it’s because he is a Canuck” thing. It gives us a reputation as whiners.

      • Larionov18

        never seen last night’s game but apparently Pedan had a fight as a result of a player responding to Pedan cleanly hitting a SJ player. Would the SJ player also not have been deemed “predatory in nature.”

        • andyg

          colourful language on the part of the league used to justify the penalty.

          I’d like to hear them define in actual time, what is a late hit.

          the refs should be issuing an instigator penalty for fights after clean hits… otherwise, I don’t know why it is on the books.

          how Polak didn’t know Virtaten was in the neighborhood is beyond me.

          • Larionov18

            Agreed, nothing this league has done over the last 20+years has surprised me though. As a true fan I have a hard time not watching although Bettman has done nothing to improve the quality of the league or the game itself.

            I have always been an advocate for a good hockey fight, but not the staged ones nor the ones in which Pedan had to answer the bell, if 2 combatants have an altercation as a result of “heat of the battle” situations,I am all for it.

            Sad state of affairs when over 50% of league revenues and players come from Canada(23.33% of teams) but decisions appear to protect the interests of the country with the majority of teams.

  • Larionov18

    Way too harsh considering he got 5 and a game for it all ready. Now next year he will have to be extra careful. Meanwhile Duncan Keith commits a criminal act and gets 5 games. Follows it up with yet another criminal attack against Carter and Coyle. He better get 20 games. Danny should have charged him with assault. That’s what it was.

  • Larionov18

    Game misconduct was the right call, and for most teams it would be punishment enough for a clean, but very late hit. It was important to the NHL to get a suspension on the books for Virtanen, making him a repeat offender, and can throw the book at him in the next season or two on a similar marginally suspendible play.

  • JuiceBox

    The hit was late, but shoulder-to-shoulder. So, a game misconduct was probably the right call.

    But, as Colin Campbell was once overheard saying to a bunch of Boston fund managers in the Million Air terminal after the Canucks’ Game Five win in 2011. “Yes, a terrible result. But, I can assure you, gentlemen, it will not happen again.”

    And Colin Campbell remains a man of his word.

  • Muscles@Brussels

    The NHL is too incompetent to establish some simple standards that will effectively eliminate the guesswork out of punishing players following on-ice incidents. They have attempted to do just that for situations that occur away from the rink. I think General Managers need to collectively grow a pair and put pressure on the weasel to take some meaningful action on this matter.

  • bigdaddykane

    It was a dirty hit. Jake was p!ssed and exacted revenge. Bertuzzi would have been proud.

    That being said, what a load of BS on the suspension. Im really trying not to be a homer but as a canuck fan all i want to see is equal justice. Duncan Keith, the anchor to Chicago’s cup hopes, better get the book tossed at him. Same goes for all the other nonsense that goes on. It seems like you need the following things to get a massive suspension in the NHL

    a) play for the canucks

    b) crosscheck a referee

    c) somehow embarrass the league.

    Get out of Jail Free Cards

    1) play for a playoff bound crucial US TV market team that is an original 6 member

    2) have your dad work for player safety and discipline on a cup run

    3) have the player who got illegally checked/slashed etc. not get injured

  • Marvin101

    No problem. I’d rather see Jake get two games for giving the hit than see him receive a hit and the other guy get 5 games. It’s about time we started being the hitters rather than the hittees we were for years.

  • Marvin101

    Canucks fans better get used to this. This is Jake’s style…and what makes him effective is that he plays in that grey area. Result is he will be suspended several times throughout his career.

    The hit was late and dirty. Won’t be the last time Jake does that. Has made dirty his his entire junior career…but that is the edge he has to play with or he won’t be in the league long.