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Syracuse Crunch D Jake Dotchin suspended three games for hit on Toronto Marlies’ Frederik Gauthier

Given Dotchin’s track record, probably deserved.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

According to the AHL’s press release, Syracuse Crunch defenseman Jake Dotchin has been suspended for three games after injuring the Toronto Marlies center Frederik Gauthier in Game 2 of the North Division Finals.

The American Hockey League today announced that Syracuse Crunch defenseman Jake Dotchin has been suspended for three (3) games as a consequence of an interference incident in a playoff game vs. Toronto on May 6.

Dotchin was suspended under the provisions of AHL Rule 28.1 (supplementary discipline).

With Syracuse leading two games to none, Dotchin will miss Games 3 and 4 of the teams’ North Division Finals playoff series tonight (May 9) and Wednesday (May 10), as well as either Game 5 of the series on Saturday (May 13) or Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The hit was not shown in full on the AHL broadcast footage. It occurred at 8:52 of the second period. Dotchin was assessed a five-minute interference call for the hit. He was also issued a game misconduct as required under the rule book as a result of the injury to Gauthier.

Geo notes that from this video, it looks like Dotchin uses his elbow high on the chest to knock Gauthier down, which probably caused Gauthier’s feet to come out from under him and rocket him straight into the boards.

The result of the hit was that Gauthier’s leg was seriously injured, to the extent that Gauthier needed assistance to leave the ice. The Toronto Marlies later announced that he would be out for up to six months, which means he will miss training camp, a blow to the career of a young forward with NHL aspirations.

Dotchin is not a favorite in Toronto at present. He has previously injured the knee of Kasperi Kapanen and attempted knee-on-knee contact with Leafs rookie Auston Matthews. While some Lightning fans view the injury to Kapanen differently from Toronto fans, it is easy to see why they think he was targeting Kapanen’s knee. The same of the Matthews hit — it was a late hit that should have resulted in an interference call but went unpunished.

Dotchin has been a physical defenseman since his Junior days, and plays on the edge. He is not afraid to hit and not afraid to mix it up with his opponents. The problem comes from his lack of discipline in determining the right time to make a hit. His aggressiveness can be both a tool and a hindrance, and in this instance, his poor judgment cost him and his team dearly.

While Dotchin has the tools to be a third-pair defenseman in the NHL, some Lightning fans have already noted that they see him sliding into a Radko Gudas type. While Gudas was never suspended while with the Lightning, he also played on the edge and had questionable hits. Since going to Philadelphia, Gudas has been suspended multiple times and created a reputation for himself. Gudas’ lack of discipline also could have been a reason why Steve Yzerman was willing to trade him in the Braydon Coburn deal.

If Dotchin wants to stay with the organization and continue to have a chance in the NHL, he needs to learn where the line is with aggression and stay on the clean side of it. He hasn’t had a particularly good start to that in his professional career.

For the rest of the series, the Crunch will play without their second-pair defenseman. Dotchin played with Slater Koekkoek, and pairs reported yesterday will likely be shuffled. Dylan Blujus, who has been a healthy scratch, will likely be placed in the lineup, and Daniel Walcott will remain playing at forward.


Michael Bournival-Yanni Gourde-Cory Conacher

Adam Erne-Byron Froese-Daniel Walcott

Tye McGinn-Matthew Peca-Erik Condra

Gabriel Dumont-Kevin Lynch-Joel Vermin

Defensive pairings

Matt Taormina-Dominik Masin

Slater Koekkoek-Jake Dotchin (out)

Ben Thomas-Mathieu Brodeur-Dylan Blujus(?)