The feisty encounter between the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames on Thursday saw plenty of penalty minutes given out on the play; it’s now also seeing it’s fair share of suspensions and fines adjudged.
With Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu injured on a knee-on-knee hit, it only seems fair that the hitter was suspended. Also, suspended as a result of the increased physicality on the night was Ryan Lomberg, who instigated a fight with Matt Dumba after Dumba stepped up and crushed the Flames’ Mikael Granlund.
Ryan Lomberg, the fight instigator finds himself sitting out for a game, with a further game added after a hearing. All in all, two games for a line-change that was clearly made with every intention of instigating a fight. Bill Peters, the Calgary Flames head coach was also reprimanded, as he is the one in control of the bench.
Perhaps the most interesting point, early in the NHL Department of Player Safety’s decision review is that they adjudged Matt Dumba’s body check on Granlund as hard, but legal.
The issue with Lomberg was the fact that, although it was a legal line change, he skated directly for the Minnesota Wild defenseman and immediately dropped his gloves. The Department of Player Safety’s exact wording is that it was ‘his sole purpose on the play to confront Dumba’.
The brevity of Lomberg’s NHL career, at just 10 games, is probably what saved him a longer suspension. His behaviour, whilst it was more than okay in days gone by, no longer flies in the modern-day NHL.
Last season though, he was in three NHL fights and eight in the American Hockey League; hardly an innocent player. Given that was in 7 NHL games and 57 AHL games, you have to say there’s a definite trend.
It’s hardly likely that just two games is going to stop Lomberg from being involved in such antics again.
Now, in all of this, I’m not saying that Matt Dumba was smart to lay such a brutal hit so late in the game when the team was down 2-0. However, the play is easily explainable given the Minnesota Wild had an empty net, with the goalie pulled late on. The hit was hard and heavy, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from Matt Dumba.
The follow-up; that was purely on the Calgary Flames and although I love to see the guys drop the mitts from time-to-time; it needs to be controlled so these head-hunting scenarios don’t occur. Goons aren’t a breed of hockey player we need to see making a return.