Given the up-in-the-air approach to suspending players nowadays, it's hard to say for sure whether or not a guy will be paying out of pocket or sitting a few games as a result of some sort of on-ice hit. The only immediate circumstance you know of within the first 24 hours of any sort of injury likely suggests more about the victim of a hit than the culprit's punishment. As Hooks noted earlier, Dupuis's agent Allan Walsh announced Pascal is doing fine.
In my mind, a few other factors often play into the possibility of a suspension. Was the victim carted off on a stretcher? Did his eyes glass over faster than a passenger in a hot-boxed Civic?
To top it off, fans can argue back and forth about whether or not a hit was "dirty" or "incidental" until the collective turns blue in the face. But you know what kinda puts all that argument to rest? When the player under the microscope admits it.
Take the jump to continue reading and watch video of the hit from last night's game. (link under the poll)
"Obviously it wasn't clean. Pascal was injured. I just hope he's okay. That's about all I can say."
"It wasn't clean" does leave room for interpretation, since Sutton isn't specifically saying it was "dirty" OR "accidental." But at least we can all agree it wasn't a clean hit. Anyone who believes otherwise is mistaken, seeing as how the player himself is admitting it.
Now before we all start lining up with torches and clubs screaming for vengeance and suspension, it's also worth noting that in that same EN post, Seth passed along the following:
"Just playing my usual game, tying to play hard, finish checks. I feel awful. I've played with Pascal. I've known him a long time. I obviously never intended for that happen."
Hits like this come with the territory, as we've noticed far too often in other incidents throughout the season and the constant debatable topic of head shots and suspensions.
So how do you rule something like this? Do you consider the fact that both guys played together in the past and Sutton didn't mean any ill will toward Dupuis? Or do you try and blank out all of the comments, all of the names and the identity of each player and simply look at this as Player X hitting Player Y?
I may be too forgiving, but I feel for Sutton. I sympathize with the way he must be feeling because his comments do seem genuinely honest. But I'm also not looking at this through black and gold glasses, despite the obvious focus of this blog. I see it as such: Just because a criminal apologizes for a crime doesn't make him any less guilty.
You know what came to mind almost immediately following this hit? Georges Laraque's hit on Steve Downie from two seasons ago.
I remember some of the comments in that game thread, most of which focused on how Laraque would likely be suspended for the hit. He received a five-minute major and was kicked from the game, but ultimately he wasn't suspended, much to the chagrin of Flyers fans. Then again, Steve Downie didn't leave the ice on a stretcher or lay behind the net in a pool of his own blood. In fact he came right back and even received a fighting major before all was said and done. This only led to further speculation that Downie threw himself head first into the boards, which if true only further contributes to the off-kilter views of an already speculative Downie.
Regardless, I suppose the real reference to this Downie/Laraque hit isn't so much the similarity of the on-ice treatment (Sutton also got kicked from last night's game, the Pens also received a 5-minute power play) but instead the post-game handling of the situation. In short, Laraque was not suspended. Does this mean Sutton will avoid it as well?
The Flyers expected it. Heck, even some of us expected it. But it didn't happen.
And so we look again at last night's hit and wonder whether or not Andy Sutton will receive any sort of suspension or fine for this incident. And of course, we ask for your votes.