Matt D'Agostini dazed after Nate Thompson's hit Taken by: Dolly Dolce

Nate Thompson Suspended 2 Games For Illegal Check To The Head

Friday night’s Tampa Bay Lightning game against the New Jersey Devils was a rough one. There’s no doubt about that. The first period had Radko Gudas‘ first NHL fight. Penalties and hits were thrown throughout the game. However, the most severe hit was unnoticed by referees at the time.

Brendan Shanahan threw down the Shanahammer and slapped Nate Thompson with a Shanaban of 2 games. He violated NHL rule #48 which is an illegal check to the head. While I feel that a number of phantom penalties were handed out to the Lightning during that game, and there were some obvious penalties not called against the Devils, I find it ironic that this incident occurred the way that it did. What I mean by that is Thompson took out Matt D’Agostini right in center ice 11 minutes into the 2nd period. D’Agostini stayed down only for a minute, appearing to be dazed, but then got up and skated off just fine. No penalty was called. After watching the video, I do feel that Nate violated this rule. I’ve seen worse violations that have injured some of our Tampa Bay players to no suspensions or fines. Here is the #Shanaban Video for your viewing pleasure: (or displeasure:)

What exactly is rule #48? Let’s get it right out of the NHL Rule textbook.

Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

48.2 Minor Penalty – For violation of this rule, a minor penalty shall be assessed.

48.3 Major Penalty – There is no provision for a major penalty for this rule.

48.4 Game Misconduct Penalty – There is no provision for a major penalty for this rule.

48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.
If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.

48.6 Fines and Suspensions – Any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconducts under this rule, in either regular League or playoff games, shall be suspended automatically for the next game his team plays. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.

If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion  (refer to Rule 28).

With the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, based on his average annual salary, Thompson will lose $9,729.72. That money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. I’m happy that D’Agostini wasn’t hurt, and thank you, Nate, for your generous contribution to the P.E.A.F. whether you intended to make the donation or not!

Dolly Dolce

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