Blues' Lapierre draws 5-game suspension from NHL

News-DemocratOctober 19, 2013 

After meeting with the NHL on Friday, St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre was suspended five games for his hit on San Jose's Dan Boyle.

Lapierre also was fined $28,205.15, with the money going to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Lapierre checked Boyle from behind 5 minutes, 22 seconds into the first period Tuesday, with Boyle's head and face making contact with the glass and boards.

Lapierre, who received a major penalty and a game misconduct, sat out the first game of his five-game suspension on Thursday in Chicago.

NHL Vice President and Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan explained the reasoning for the suspension in a video released on the league web site.

"As Boyle goes to reverse the puck, his right toe makes contact with the yellow kick plate at the bottom of the boards, throwing him off balance," Shanahan said. "While this was occurring, Lapierre uses his arms to finish him high in the back, causing Boyle's jaw to his the blue dasher top of the boards and knocking him unconscious."

While Shanahan seemed to indicate Boyle's loss of balance before the hit may have contributed to the damage, he still blamed Lapierre for making the hit.

"It's undeniable that Boyle's loss of balance just prior to contact made him much more vulnerable and contributed to the violent result," Shanahan said. "However, at no point does Lapierre see anything other than Boyle's numbers when he decided to finish him on this check.

"Despite the fact that Boyle's stumble might have contributed to his vulnerability, the fact remains if Lapierre does not illegally hit him in the numbers, Boyle's face does not crash violently into the boards."

Shanahan said that while Lapierre is not considered a repeat offender by the league under the collective bargaining agreement, it was taken into consideration that Boyle was injured and Lapierre was suspended for a similar hit in 2010 on former Blues forward Scott Nichol.

"While we recognize that this was not an overly violent check, when you hit someone from behind in this manner and you've seen his numbers for some time , depending on the circumstances, you might bear the responsibility for the outcome," said Shanahan.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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