UPDATE: The Department of Player Safety has come to a conclusion. Bort’s gone for a while.
St. Louis’ Robert Bortuzzo has been suspended for four games for Cross-checking Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson. https://t.co/zYPlLjudxl— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 24, 2019
“Bortuzzo’s second cross-check is not a hockey play. Visibly frustrated, Bortuzzo turns, finds the still-prone Arvidsson and forcefully cross-checks in him a vulnerable area of his body. This is a forceful crosscheck delivered well away from the puck.”
I’m the last person to complain about roughness when I’m watching a hockey game between two teams that obviously don’t like each other. The Blues need new rivalry blood in the division, and they have since the Red Wings shifted to the Eastern Conference. No one really gets worked up about Dallas, or Colorado, or Winnipeg - but the Blues’ rivals five hours to the north or four and a half hours to the south? Yes, please. Give me more hatred.
Extra-curriculars and shoving are fine and a part of the game. I don’t like them when it’s done in lieu of playing an effective game, but it’s a bunch of adult men on the ice playing a physical sport - extra-curriculars happen. What shouldn’t happen is a complete lack of judgement. I don’t mean bad snap-second decisions; I mean a situation that a player has time to appraise, but then they make an absolutely stupid decision.
Robert Bortuzzo did that last night on this cross-check:
Viktor Arvidsson injured after taking two nasty cross-checks from Robert Bortuzzo pic.twitter.com/v8jVySeoab— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 24, 2019
The first cross-check was bad enough, as it appears Viktor Arvidsson smacked his head on the cross-bar, but the second lower-back crosscheck served zero purpose. Arvidsson left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.
A cross-check that hard to the kidneys can cause internal damage, and it’s not the first time Bortuzzo’s done it. He was fined for this cross check on Brock Nelson:
The Department of Player Safety announced after the game that they would be speaking to Bortuzzo today.
St. Louis’ Robert Bortuzzo will have a hearing Sunday for Cross-checking Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 24, 2019
Bortuzzo was suspended last season for two pre-season games and a regular season game for this hit on Michal Kempny, so he has a record and will probably be asked to sit for a game or two:
Bad hits, bad angles made over the course of the gameplay happen, they’re unfortunate, and they deserve suspension regardless of intentionality. This was clearly intentional, it caused injury, and Bortuzzo has a record with the Department of Player Safety (he was also suspended in 2014 for an elbow to the face of Jaromir Jagr).
I enjoyed Jordan Binnington’s crease clearing last night. I think it’s fantastic that it’s getting to where these two divisional rivals hate each other. Play as rough as you want to, but don’t put your team in the position of being down a player because of your intentional bad decision. Don’t give your team a bad reputation, and don’t punch a guy in the kidneys when he’s down. If that’s the only thing that Bortuzzo can contribute right now, maybe it’s time to get Gunnarsson back in the line-up.
UPDATE: Arvidsson’s out for a while; be prepared to not see Bortuzzo for a few games.