WILMINGTON — The NHL this morning hit Bruins forward Daniel Paille with a four-game suspension for his blindside head shot on Stars forward Raymond Sawada in the second period of Thursday night’s 6-3 victory over Dallas.
The league found Paille to be in violation of Rule 48, which was instituted last year to help enforce against such head shots in the wake of concussions suffered by several players including the Bruins’ Marc Savard. Paille, a first-time offender who did not have a reputation for such hits, also forfeited $23,118.28 in pay as a result of his illegal check on Sawada, who reportedly suffered a broken nose and a separated shoulder.
“Obviously, we’re right at the forefront of this whole head shot thing and what the league is trying to do, so I support that,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “As an organization we’ve contributed a lot to that, but I thought it was a little stiff, the sentence.”
Paille was hit with a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty and sent off the ice at 11:21 of the second period.
“When I hit him, I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment,” Paille said in the Bruins’ dressing room after practice. “I felt like he turned towards me, so I tried to finish my check. Obviously, with Rule 48 now, it’s sensitive and I know that it’s something where someone has to be made an example of and it happened to be me in this situation right now.
“While I don’t agree with the amount of games, I accept it and I’m just going to focus now on being ready to come back,” Paille said, who is expected to come back Feb. 15 vs.the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Asked what he disciplinary action he expected from the league, Paille said, “Oh, I was expecting a suspension, for sure, possibly two games. But I was shocked at the amount and now I’ll just accept it. I just hope he’s alright. Right now, I think he does not have a concussion, which is something I’m glad that he doesn’t have.”
Paille said he had not reached out to Sawada, but he intended to do so.
“I just hope that the injuries that he has now is all he gets,” Paille said. “If I get in touch with him, I’ll probably just say that I was going to finish my check and I had no intention of hurting him the way I did there. I would hope that he would somewhat understand, knowing the type of player that I am, I don’t go looking for that. I would hope he would understand.”
Asked for his reaction to the suspension, Julien said, “That’s a very touchy question, because you want to support the new rule, but at the same time you want to support your player. You look at it over and over again, but at the end of the day you got to respect what the league is trying to do.”