Late in the day yesterday, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Tampa Bay Lightning defender Erik Cernak would be suspended two games for his hit on Rasmus Dahlin during Monday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Cernak wasn’t penalized during the game but the hit was obviously bad as his elbow made contact with Dahlin’s head.
I’m not going to waste time arguing whether the hit was intentional or not. No matter what Cernak was attempting to do, he connected with a clean elbow to Dahlin’s head.
Erik Cernak gets away with an elbow on Rasmus Dahlin pic.twitter.com/tMOIked0X2— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 26, 2019
In these cases, the team usually presents an argument on behalf of the player as to why they shouldn’t be suspended or why the suspension should be minimal. The Lightning took that opportunity to make a case that seems frankly absurd.
Lightning argued that Rasmus Dahlin helped cause concussion by moving the elbow toward his head with his glove. Says Player Safety in disagreeing: “It is clear to us that Cernak’s elbow is already on a trajectory where head contact is inevitable.”— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) November 26, 2019
I get that you have to say something. But I don’t think you have to do this. Cernak’s hit was clearly an elbow to the head. Regardless of intent, that’s a suspension and should be for the health and safety of all players. As an organization, maybe just take your medicine on this one and don’t say things that make you look stupid. You can make a case to minimize the suspension without saying Dahlin used Cernak’s elbow to knock himself out. That’s nonsense.
Other Lightning Org News
The Crunch announced that defender Oleg Sosunov will head back to the Solar Bears. He’s made a lot of trips back and forth from Syracuse to Orlando but it hasn’t been too hard him because he’s so tall that he covers the distance in just a few steps.
Justin’s weekly Crunch Corner column came out yesterday so make sure you get your dose of Syracuse news. If you’re not reading that column every week, you should be. It’s one of the best things on the site.
They also had five different players score goals against Hartford. That’s a pretty solid mix considering one of their top forwards, Conacher, was with Tampa Bay for both games and another, Katchouk, only played one period. That’s the kind of depth the Crunch need to wear other teams out.
One of those players that scored was Ross Colton. The second year center finally snapped a ten-game goalless streak. He had been playing well over that stretch, but just hadn’t been able to find the back of the net.
Other Hockey News
The biggest news of the day yesterday was the continuing emergence of accusations of abusive behavior against (as of now) Flames head coach Bill Peters. It started with Akim Aliu telling the story of a time Peters hurled racial slurs at him in the locker room during his time in the AHL. As the day went on, stories of physical abuse emerged. The stories about Peters led to people from all levels of hockey backgrounds calling out abusive behavior they experienced.
This is not the forum for us to discuss this topic with the appropriate level of sensitivity but we also can’t ignore it if we’re covering the news of the day so we’ll just say this: If hockey is to be for everyone, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. Anyone who acts the way Peters allegedly acted should not be allowed to continue to be involved in the sport. We as a site support the people telling their stories and encourage fans to to show solidarity by using their voice to make hockey safer and more welcoming for everyone who wants to participate.
Editor’s note: If you’re going to comment on the Peters news or any of the surrounding topics, please be respectful of the people sharing their stories.