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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports

Roman Polak Suspended two Games for hit on Bjorkstrand

In the third period of last night’s 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Roman Polak crushed Oliver Bjorkstrand into the boards with a dangerous hit from behind. Polak was assessed a five-minute major and was removed from the game. This morning, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety dropped the hammer on Polak, giving him a two-game suspension.

The hit:

The rationale from Player Safety:

The video suggests that while Bjorkstrand turned around and put himself into a vulnerable position, but the onus is on Polak to make a clean finish to the check. Instead, Polak clearly used force in the hit, resulting in Bjorkstrand suffering an injury.

The suspension represents the first time Polak has been disciplined by the NHL in his 11 years in the league, despite the fact he has a reputation for making questionable, grey area hits. Polak will forfeit $25,000 in salary for the suspension.

In Polak’s absence, Alexei Marchenko will step in on the team’s third pair alongside Matt Hunwick. No other roster transactions have been announced.

  • Stan Smith

    To be blunt I think this is pure bull. First, while Polak was behind him at first, he cuts the turn short and when he starts his hit he is shoulder to shoulder with him. It was right at that time the Bjorkstrand started his turn. I agree that it could have been called boarding, but it was Bjorkstrand’s turn that put him in the vulnerable position.

    I also completely disagree with your statement that Polak has a reputation for making questionable hits. I have followed him his whole career and you are the first person I have ever seen make that type of statement about Polak. The book on him is he plays hard but clean.

    I simply cannot believe the Polak would even get a hearing on that hit, while Soshnikov, whose hit on Bergeron, would not even be brought before the safety committee. Soshnikov’s hit was from behind all the way. To me the NHL got both situations wrong. Once again they are sending the message, if you are going to get hit just turn your back and you will draw a penalty, and hope like hell you don’t get hurt.

    • Gary Empey

      I agree with you Stan. At the very most it should of been a fine or a warning to be more careful in the future. When a player turns his back to you in front of the boards just before he is about to be checked I am not sure what the checker can do to stop at that point. I am not sure why Jeff has it in for Polak.

        • Gary Empey

          Jeff posted these three tweets on twitter immeiatelly after the hit.

          Jeff Veillette‏Verified account @JeffVeillette Mar 22

          “Roman Polak gets 5 and a game for an awful hit from behind on Oliver Bjorkstrand.”

          “This isn’t the first time Polak’s done something like this, this year. Honestly should be a suspension at this point.”

          “Okay, turn or not, you don’t just hit a dude parallel to the boards like that unless you’re looking to cause damage. It was malicious.”

    • FlareKnight

      It is just scary how people are playing. That kind of hit, happened at least 3 times in that game. Polak gets a suspension and major penalty because a guy got hurt. And it’s just dangerous on all sides. Guys throw these hits because they rarely get punished for it. And guys are just constantly turning into them in order to try and draw something.

      Someone send the NHL players a memo. “Stop being stupid!” If you can clearly tell a guy is coming in for a hit, don’t turtle. You are going to get hurt. People are turning away and hoping their back will stop a hit. When a guy is going in…the most you are going to see is them trying to let up at the last second. Face the hit, take the hit, and avoid dangerous hits from behind.

      We’ve seen it year in and year out and yet guys are still being reckless. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. If less guys do that then we’ll see less dangerous hits. Then the blame can fully be pointed to those who are throwing dangerous hits.

      • Gary Empey

        Added–According to the NHL players safety department, Bjorkstrand was not eligible to be checked at all. I think they meant to say checked into the boards. From one angle of video it appears like Polak was always skating towards Bjorkstrand back. So if it is considered a major penalty they caused an injury then a suspension would be warranted. Personally I thought Polak went out of his way to make contact shoulder to shoulder.