Joffrey Lupul has received a two game suspension for his hit on Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman last night. The Toronto Maple Leafs forward was given a penalty for an illegal hit to the head early on in the third period of the Leafs’ 4-2 victory. Lupul came at Hedman from the side and struck the big blueliner’s head with his shoulder.
In Lupul’s nine-year career this is his first suspension and it comes at a bad time. The Leafs have a couple of tough opponents coming up as they take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight and then the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Lupul returned last Saturday after missing the previous 25 games with a broken forearm and has already scored three goals since coming back.
The NHL’s suspension video indicated that Lupul targeted the head, but because he had no prior history of discipline and Hedman appeared to be ok, he was just given the two games. Despite the frequent inconsistencies from the league with discipline, two games seems fair in this case.
The Leafs had brought up Ryan Hamilton to Buffalo from the Toronto Marlies just in case Lupul was indeed suspended. It looks like Hamilton will now be in the line-up tonight against the Sabres.