Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll has been suspended three games for his check to the head of Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Maroon. The incident took place on Tuesday at 4:02 of the second period.
Given the rules of the modern NHL, this is a pretty open and shut case.
As the NHL’s Department of Player Safety states, “Boll elevates into the hit, driving his right shoulder directly into the side of Maroon’s head, making it the main point of contact, making it an illegal check to the head.”
Maroon is obviously an “eligible recipient” of the hit, given that he has the puck on the play. The problem isn’t that Boll was “excessive” in elevating himself, either. The problem is solely that contact with the head was avoidable and Boll didn’t avoid it.
Maroon didn’t make any unpredictable moves to put himself in “danger,” as is sometimes the case.
It’s up to Boll to make this check legal and he doesn’t. Had he had through, as the NHL states, the “core of Maroon’s body,” this incident wouldn’t have been a problem.
There was no penalty on the play, which as we’ve seen for years now doesn’t exactly matter. And Maroon got up slowly, but he stayed in the game for the Ducks. That could’ve kept Boll’s suspension on the lower side.
What likely made it three games is his history. Boll was suspended one game in 2008 for instigation a fight and he paid a fine in 2012 for yet another illegal hit.
In 71 games with the Blue Jackets, Boll has five points (one goal, four assists). He also has 109 penalty minutes, good for 10th in the National Hockey League. In 487 career games, all with Columbus, he has 1134 penalty minutes and just 26 goals. In other words, it’s clear what the Blue Jackets see in Boll.