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Does this big hit in the Ontario Hockey League warrant a full-season suspension?

In: Sports

Posted By: Doc Holliday at 6:54 pm

10 Nov 2009

Michael Liambas was suspended for the full season and the playoffs for this hit on Ben Fanelli.  That’s way too severe of a penalty.  Fanelli had his head down diddling with the puck behind his own net, he turned his back on Liambas at the last microsecond, and then Liambas embedded his face into the glass.  It was going to be a big hit no matter what, but no one, not even Liambas, expected Fanelli to turn and reverse the puck at the last second.  I’ll concede that his elbow was up a bit high, but I don’t think his elbow ever made contact with Fanelli’s head.  Since the lockout, defensemen can’t really set moving picks on crashing forwards anymore for fear of getting an interference penalty.  As a result, every now and then an untouched forward will attack the boards with a full head of steam.  Defensive strategy needs to be tweaked in order to adapt to the new rules so that these unfortunate hits don’t become commonplace.  Liambas has been taught his whole life to pound the other team’s defensemen in a pressure forecheck situation, and now his junior career has been ended by a debatable judgment call from the OHL.

(Thanks to Ross for the tip.)

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  • Barry Melrose

    Never have I been more outraged about a suspension. There was nothing Liambas could have done to pull up there. The speed of play on the ice is way too fast to account for a last second spin like Fanelli's.

    That was picture perfect, hard-nosed forechecking that resulted in an unfortunate accident. If this suspension isn't adjusted upon the commissioner's review this will be the most ridiculous disciplinary action I've seen in my lifetime.

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