The NHL has suspended Winnipeg Jets’ forward Brendan Lemieux for two games for an illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers’ forward Vincent Trocheck. The hit came during the Jets and Panthers’ two-game series in Helsinki, Finland and resulted in a match-penalty for Lemieux.
Winnipeg’s Brendan Lemieux has been suspended for two games for an illegal check to the head on Florida’s Vincent Trocheck. https://t.co/tQt7AWcmLH
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 5, 2018
The hit was cut-and-dry and was almost certainly going to result in a hearing for Lemieux. When asked about the hit after the game, even Jet’s coach Paul Maurice was in agreement with the officials’ decision to assess his player a match penalty.
“Yup. The refs got it right. You give up three on the PK, you’re not winning,” said Maurice. “Just keep them on the ice. That’ll be a starting point. Listen, I’ve got no complaint about the reffing. I don’t like the call on Scheifele but nobody cares. The penalties that Brendan took, Brendan deserved.”
Lemieux has played in 18 games in his career, including nine this season. The 22-year-old has scored one goal in those 18 games and has played in a fourth-line role for the Jets in his time at the NHL level. in the AHL, Lemieux had a breakout campaign last season with 19 goals and 43 points in 51 games.
Below is the NHL Department of Player Safety’s video detailing the suspension, followed by a full transcript of the video.
Full Transcript of the Video:
Friday night in Helsinki, Jets’ forward Brendan Lemieux was assessed a match penalty for an illegal check to the head of Panthers’ forward Vincent Trocheck. As the video shows, Trocheck is waiting at the Jets’ blue-line to collect a pass from his teammate. He attempts to chip the puck in deep, only to have the puck deflected back to him. He settles the puck down and makes a quick pass to a teammate.
As he released the puck, Lemieux, who has been backchecking through the neutral zone, delivers a direct shoulder to the head of Trockek, knocking him to the ice. This is an illegal check to the head. It is important to note that the head is clearly the main point of contact on this hit and that the head contact on this hit was avoidable. While Trocheck was playing is playing the puck, he does not materially change the position of his head or body just prior to contact in a way that contributes to the head being the main point of contact on this hit.
If Lemieux wants to deliver this check, he must take an angle of approach that hits through Trocheck’s shoulder and core, rather than picking his head and making it the main point of contact.
To summarize, this is an illegal check to the head. Lemieux has been neither fines nor suspended previously in his 18-game NHL career. The Department of Player Safety has suspended forward Brendan Lemieux for two games.