Mark Fistric has been suspended by the National Hockey League for three games for charging into New York Islander rookie Nino Niederreiter.
Fistric had a phone hearing with Brendan Shanahan yesterday afternoon that lasted, according to the DMN, over 40 minutes. The decision was released today along with the explanation video. Dallas will get Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski back from injury tomorrow night in San Jose, which covers them for the loss of Fistric in the lineup.
In the video Shanahan says "Mark Fistric left his feet and launched upward into Islander forward Nino Niederreiter." He then quotes the NHL rule book on charging. "A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner. [Rule 42.1 - Charging]"
"Fistric leaves his feet and launches himself into Niederreiter. Although no call was made on the ice, this is charging."
"While we acknowlege that on many big body checks the hitters feet will sometimes come off the ice to a certain degree due to the follow through of the collision, we felt that the degree to which Fistric's skate come off the ice was evidence of his dangerous launch."
It's hard to comment on these things due to the apparent inconsistency of enforcement. By the calculations of some, this suspension implies that Niklas Kronwall has approximately 312 games of built up suspension time coming to him for the degree to which his skates leave the ice frequently and habitually for years as "evidence of his dangerous launches". Mike Heika had a good entry yesterday featuring the plethora of hits made on Stars players that have gone unpunished. This is just part of life in the NHL and we'll look past it because we must, and forward to the next game.
As some readers are already pointing out, this is a season where precedents are being reset to a certain degree, so it's hard to look back. We can only hope that greater consistency is applied moving forward.
The full video from the league with the explanation is after the jump...
Full press release:
NEW YORK (December 7, 2011) - Dallas Stars defenseman Mark Fistric has been suspended, without pay, for three games for charging New York Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter during NHL Game #381 in Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 3, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Fistric will forfeit $16,216.23. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 6:08 of the first period. No penalty was assessed on the play.
Fistric will miss games Dec. 8 at San Jose, Dec. 10 at Los Angeles and Dec. 13 at the New York Rangers. He will be eligible to return Dec. 15 at the New York Islanders.
For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=60&id=140502.