Jordan Staal Gets Match Penalty for Sucker Punch

Late in the second period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ battle with the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, Jordan Staal charged into a scrum and landed a blindside punch on the chin of Brandon Prust.

Prust quickly dropped to the ice and Staal found himself with a match penalty and game misconduct. Under Rule 21, Staal is suspended indefinitely for the match penalty, and the NHL will need to decide if Staal deserves supplementary discipline.

Rule 21 – Match Penalties

21.1 Match Penalty – A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately.

A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.

… In addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue.

With the Penguins back in action Wednesday night against the New York Islanders, Bettman will look to conduct a review and rule on the issue as soon as possible.

Most fans are quick to point out that Prust must have embellished the play because he returned to play in the third period. It’s dangerous to make that connection when taking into account the similar reaction to Joe Thornton‘s hit on David Perron back in November. Thornton was ejected and Perron was back on the ice for the ensuing five-minute power play. Fans assumed Perron sold the hit to the referees by laying on the ice, only to realize Perron has not played a single game since that game as a result of concussion complications.

There’s also a precedent set on sucker-punches from earlier this season when Ben Eager was suspended four games for this cheap shot on Colby Armstrong:

Staal certainly doesn’t have the track record of Eager, and it’s tough to say the two punches were on the same level of seriousness, but we’ve seen stranger things from the NHL disciplinarians. What’s your call? Will Jordan Staal get suspended?

12 thoughts on “Jordan Staal Gets Match Penalty for Sucker Punch”

  1. @frank. It’s not nonsense. It’s physics. You get hit from the right side of your chin, from a left hook, you will either fall almost straight down or to your own left. It’s simple transfer of momentum. The absolutely ONLY ways that you can fall the direction he fell after impact is by throwing yourself back in that direction, or bouncig off another object and rebounding in the opposite direction. Since he didn’t bounce, that only leaves option 1.

    But I’m sure some other internet tough guys will claim I have no knowledge or experience with punching, or skating or punching while skating.

  2. Anyone who watches the Rangers on a consistent basis can honestly say that Prust is probably hands down the toughest guy on the ice night in and night out. Only Cally and Dubinsky are on his level; he might have “sold” it a little bit, but anytime you get hit right on the button from the cross like that unexpectedly, you lose all sort of wherewithal so which way he fell is nonsense.

    I agree that Staal shouldn’t be suspended, which he hasn’t, but to say Prust just simply dove and the punch had no effect, give me a break.

  3. Neither Staal or Prust are dirty players and you can’t judge either based on a heat of the moment exchange. The match penalty was warranted and Staal didn’t get suspended, life goes on. Prust might’ve embellished but he was clearly not expecting a jab either. And it’s not Nathan Gerbe throwing the punch either, Staal is a pretty big dude. It seems like Mike Rupp only scores against the Rangers. Hopefully the two teams meet in the playoffs, both at full strength too.

  4. @Justin. Staal also has never been suspended. So thanks for agreeing that he shouldn’t be.

    Prust probably got razzed by jordan’s brother the moment they hit the locker room about how they’ve punched each other all the time and Marc never went down from anything like that.

    And nobody has yet been able to explain why Prust jerked his head the WRONG WAY upon “impact”. It was like watching an old John Wayne movie where the stuntman forgot which side the punch came from as they shot the scene.

  5. RP, why should Prust have gotten a charging penalty? He didn’t leave his feet to make the hit. Why should it have been an interference penalty? Kennedy had the puck at his skates and was attempting to play it at the time. Later tonight when you get home tell your boyfriend to sucker punch you with a hockey glove on when your not expecting it, I bet you don’t stand in place. Its one thing to drop your gloves, your expecting to be punched, not when you’re standing there and a left comes out of nowhere, with a glove on none the less. It’s real easy to comment on things when you’re not on the ice. Lets say for a minute their roles were reversed, Pens fans would be calling for a 10 game suspension to Prust had he punched Staal. And Prust is not a dirty player mind you, remind me of the last time he got suspended, oh yeah never.

  6. So give Staal a short game suspension to stay within the letter of the law. Prust should have gotten a charging or interference penalty. And if that punch actually was hard enough to flatten him then maybe Prust should be playing in Europe and using the women’s bathrooms.

  7. not even a good dive. i mean, if you’re gonna take a dive, at least fall in the direction that you were hit. you’d think being on a team with avery he’d know how to dive better than that.

  8. Considering how harsh Mr. Staal’s captain has been on the league for the way they are handling contact to the head, I would expect him to be suspended. I mean, that’s exactly what he’s lobbying the league should do, no?

      • ” That’s a good point, Frank. Especially on a play deemed ‘intent to injure’.”

        So should Prust and Engelland be suspended too? They hit each other in the head.

        No one can let the Crosby hate go. Crosby detractors spend more time talking and thinking about Crosby than actual Pittsburgh Penguin fans do. The anti-Crosby crowd is always up in arms about how Crosby is being thrust onto them by the media against their will, but yet never pass up an opportunity to bring his name up at every opportunity.

        But back to the topic of this “article”, you talk about precedent. What about the bare knuckle sucker punch by Milan Lucic this year that didn’t result in a suspension?

        I’d say no suspension; but the NHL’s disciplinary system is completely arbitrary, so who knows? I think Colin Campbell uses that ‘behead a chicken’ method from the Margaritaville episode of South Park to determine supplementary discipline.

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