It was supposed to be a celebration of hockey – two of the best teams in the NHL vying to oust the other for Western Conference supremacy. Instead, last night’s game between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues quickly took a terrible turn. At 5:22 of the 1st period, Blues forward Max Lapierre threw a vicious hit from behind, sending Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle jaw first into the intersection of boards and glass. The hard rim atop the side boards acted as a landing pad for Boyle’s face. He left the game on a stretcher and did not return. Here is the hit: *Note, Lapierre skating away from the scene of the crime with his hands in the air, whilst Sharks’ announcer says, “and the player who made the hit has his hands in the air like ‘what did I do?’ ” Video courtesy of Hockey Fights dot com’s YouTube channel.
Lapierre’s hit woke up the Sharks, who bit back on the scoreboard, potting 2 extra man goals in the first frame. Logan Couture and Pavelski buried on Jaroslav Halak to give the Sharks an early lead they built upon in the 2nd, and then again in the 3rd, never really coming close to losing.
Rory Boylen of The Hockey News does a great job elaborating on Lapierre’s track record as a hit from behind specialist and overall danger to opposing players. Boylen’s blog features video of the hit on Boyle, as well as, clips of several other dirty Lapierre hits from the past. Read and view it here.
As for disciplinary action, according to the Toronto Sun, Lapierre will not be considered a repeat offender because his previous suspension happened more than 18 months ago. Check out full article by The Sun, entitled, “Dan Boyle stretchered off ice after hit from Maxim Lapierre.”
Maybe the league should re-evaluate its 18 month reform rule. The hit from behind is one of Lapierre’s special moves, that is not going to change. Doesn’t make sense for the NHL to protect marginal players with a propensity to head hunt, while stars have their careers threatened. Something tells me Brendan Shanahan is strict on Lapierre for this one, regardless of his repeat offender status in technical terms. Truth is, he’s a repeat offender – he’s been suspended before.