Matt Calvert of the Columbus Blue Jackets received a one game suspension for his cross-check on Pittsburgh Penguins Tom Kuhnackl. The hit came towards the end of Game Two. Columbus had an inevitable second loss coming, and after a game of questionable and hard hits from both sides; it was clear the Blue Jackets weren’t happy. Matt Calvert showed this when he broke his stick on Kuhnackl’s neck, then proceeded to spin around and check the bent over forward.
Matt Calvert Suspended One Game After Brutal Cross-Check
Calvert hasn’t been much of an offensive presence for the Jackets this season, but in the postseason you need every piece to complete the puzzle. During the regular season, the bottom six winger had 15 points in 65 games. He did score the lone goal for the Jackets in their 3-1 loss in Game One. He has also showed as much passion as anyone during the playoffs, which is what likely drove the usually peaceful Calvert to hit Kuhnackl.
The Jackets have multiple forwards who were scratched for the first two games. Among them are Lukas Sedlak, Sonny Milano, and Lauri Korpikoski. Milano will be in Calvert’s spot for Game Three on tonight. Milano will be expected to provide a spark for the struggling Jackets as well. The team has been limited to only netting two goals in two games. They’ll surely be hoping Milano can help fix that for the bottom six.
NHL DOPS Under Fire
The hit sparked a lot of controversy among fans after the video of the cross-check spread across social media. The NHL Department of Player Safety (DOPS) was under heavy fire by many hockey fans, who claimed they don’t handle suspensions with enough care. The harsh words originated when it was released that the results of Calvert’s hearing would likely only be a fine, but didn’t decrease any when it was unveiled that he was set to sit for a single game.
This wasn’t the first time the DOPS, and it likely won’t be the last, has been under siege from fans, but certainly one of the largest outrages. Even popular journalists like Pierre Lebrun and Dejan Kovacevic voiced their disagreement on Twitter. While there’s likely going to be no change to the NHL’s suspension system due to the outrage; many arguments brought up by fans are compelling. In the best circumstances, they may cause the NHL to review their system.