The NHL wheel of justice spun round and round for Blues enforcer Cam Janssen today. Apparently the wheel stopped on the "five-game suspension" square.
Let's start with the hit. Bradley had clearly passed the puck and had his head turned while skating along the boards, not looking at the hard-charging Janssen. Watch the video.
It is interesting if you watch the entire clip, Darren Pang, Bernie Federko and John Kelly start out defending Janssen and the hit. By the end, Pang says, "Wow, Janssen isn't known for that." So clearly on review the play was dirty. We haven't really talked about it around here because after the game was over, the Blues scattered for the ongoing Olympic break, but it's easy to see Janssen was in the wrong.
Let's talk timing and the five games. Is it a coincidence that the decision came down the day after the Capitals returned to practice? According to Bradley himself in a quick interview with the Washington Post, he's alright and doesn't have any longterm effects from the hit.
"I was a little disoriented," Bradley said of Janssen's controversial hit. "But I was fine a little bit after that, and I was fine the next day. I felt great out there today.
"I just got my bell rung," he added, before cracking, "I'm a good bleeder and I can recover quick from getting my bell rung, I guess."
If Bradley had a concussion and was suffering from post-concussion syndrome, would Janssen have gotten more than five games? Why else would the league wait from the time of the hit, Feb. 13, until today, Feb. 25? I'm torn about that thought. The punishment should fit the crime, but does that also include the severity of the injury or just the flagrant nature of the action? I honestly don't know.
The five-game suspension will cost him more than $14,000 in salary and keep him out of action until March 14. And that's troublesome for a Blues team sitting four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Five games is a quarter of their 20 remaining games. Janssen has provided a spark when he's in the lineup, and not just with his fighting. With the hit on Bradley, he was trying to encourage more physical play and get his team and the home crowd against a top opponent fired up. Clearly he crossed the line. And I think it's safe to say the Blues will miss him those five games.
I'm sure the fact that Janssen has zero points and more than 160 penalty minutes didn't help in deciding the length of suspension, but it's not like he's a repeat offender. I did a quick search and found only one previous suspension back in 2007 when he was still a Devil. I don't remember him getting a suspension as a Blue.
One more thing. On what has been billed as the real Twitter feed for Janssen, he had talked about the hit. Those comments are now gone. Interesting. Lends credence to the fact that it's him. And on Twitter, I believe he said he saw that Bradley had passed the puck and hit him anyway.
Anyone find the cached tweets, put 'em in the comments.
UPDATE: Our friends over at Japer's Rink had posted them:
- I know the fans want to know about the hit on Bradley. It was back to back games and I felt the boys needed a lift as I always try to do
- Its my job to set the tone early and play with that edge. In the situation w/ Bradley I thought the puck was in his skates.
- Unfortunately the play had been made but @ that point I was already commited to my hit. As I do I try 2 hit with as much force as possible
- After watching the replay of the hit I felt bad. It is part of the game and I talked to Bradley after. There might be a suspention involved
- I will keep you updated. Thanks fans your the best!
Well...he had remorse, didn't he? He "felt bad." And I don't believe the comment that he thought the puck was in his skates. There was a pretty decent delay and plenty of ice to cover before Janssen laid the hit. But I'd probably say the same too knowing the wheel of justice was spinning.
UPDATE TWO: The always resourceful and fast Jeremy Rutherford already has lots of feedback from Janssen. Here's a highlight, but definitely click the link because there's lots of good stuff.
"I was surprised by the five," Janssen said. "We had a great hearing and everybody said what they had to say and they still gave me five games. It is what it is and I'm going to have to accept it. I respect Colin Campbell's decision and what he says, but it's not going to change my style whatsoever."
What say you commenters? Fair or unfair on the suspension? What's this mean to the team? Let us know, down below.