St. Louis Blues defenceman Robert Bortuzzo has been suspended four games for his crosscheck on Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson.
The suspension came down just a few hours after the Predators announced Arvidsson would be out of action four to six weeks.
Bortuzzo had a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Sunday and the decision was rendered.
The incident took place in the first period of Nashville’s 4-2 Saturday victory over the Blues.
Bortuzzo initially crosschecked Arvidsson from behind with the Predators on a power play. He was assessed a minor penalty on that crosscheck and subsequently decided to crosscheck Arvidsson again while the Nashville forward was attempting to get up from the first crosscheck.
The first crosscheck was, correctly, called a minor penalty. Arvidsson was sent into the net and that was that. The situation would’ve likely concluded at that point.
But Bortuzzo’s conscious decision to nail Arvidsson in the back while the Predator was defenceless was, simply, awe-inspiringly stupid and dangerous. There was nothing incidental about the contact. It had nothing to do with the run of play. Arvidsson did not have the puck. He was not in a position to score a goal. And so on.
The 30-year-old from Thunder Bay has been down this road before.
One incident took place when he knocked New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson to the ice and, you guessed it, crosschecked him in the back when he tried to get back up. That time, Bortuzzo got away with a fine.
But he was suspended for elbowing Michal Kempny in a pre-season game in October of 2017.
Bortuzzo’s repeat offender status played a role in determining the outcome of this suspension, but the incident is so unnecessary that anything less than four games would’ve been a travesty – especially with Arvidsson out a possible month and a half.
The 26-year-old has 15 points in 22 games with Nashville this season, including six goals. He had 48 points in 58 games last season.
Bortuzzo has 14 goals in 346 career games. He has one point in 11 games this season.
Photo credit: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press