NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 22: Tom Kostopoulos #16 of the Calgary Flames checks Michael Sauer #38 of the New York Rangers during the first period on November 22 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York New York. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
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Tom Kostopoulos blindsided Brad Stuart with a high hit on Friday and will forfeit his next six games to serve a suspension. Colin Campbell came down hard on the Flames forward, as his check broke Stuart's jaw and he is expected to miss four to six weeks recovering.
Detroit won 5-4 after a shootout, but that is beside the point. For those of you who may have missed the play, it can be seen below.
Campbell got it right for a change, as all of the elements were present to warrant a suspension: a late hit, receiver is in a vulnerable position and the head was targeted. Kostopoulos gave his opinion on the sequence, stressing disbelief at the punishment.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the League's ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal," he said. "I'm sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head."
While this is a step in the proper direction for the league's intent to eliminate head shots, it will be meaningless if strict punishments continue to be a rarity.