The NHL Department of Player Safety handed down a one-game suspension to Winnipeg Jets forward Drew Stafford for high-sticking on Monday. The ruling stems from an incident in Saturday’s game against the Colorado in which Stafford wildly swung his stick, striking Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden in the face.
On the play Stafford was assessed a double minor for high-sticking. Stafford drew blood on the play, sending Holden to the locker room for repairs. He returned, but a little worse for the wear.
Holden was assessed a hooking minor on the play.
In the video explanation of the suspension from DoPS they state, “While we accept Stafford’s assertion that he did not intentionally strike Holden in the face, he is responsible for the consequences of swinging his stick in such a forceful and reckless fashion.”
That statement goes a long way toward explaining a suspension coming down with just a one-game length. It sends a message about controlling your stick and draws a hard line on the need to control your stick, but doesn’t dole out excessive punishment for an accidental blow.
This is Stafford’s first bit of discipline in his 638-game career. He’ll find himself sitting out of Winnipeg’s Tuesday match against divisional foes in St. Louis. He’ll forfeit $23,387.10 in salary.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.