White Suspended as Canadiens Slip
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The Montreal Canadiens’ forward Ryan White has earned himself an extended ban from the NHL following an illegal check on Philadelphia’s defensive player, Kent Huskins. White has been a Montreal Canadiens player since 2006 after he was drafted from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. Since making his NHL debut for the Canadiens against the Boston Bruins in 2009, White has scored three goals and had a clean disciplinary record.
However, during the Canadiens’ last encounter, White was seen making an illegal head check against Huskins as he emerged from behind his own net. At 6:11 of the first period, White attempted to check Huskins as he came past but missed the body and caught Huskins in the head. While a full blow to the head was deflected somewhat by Huskin’s shoulder, the strike was sufficient enough to warrant a removal from the game. Following the incident, Philadelphia stated that Huskins had suffered a concussion as a result of the blow.
After reviewing the strike, the NHL has decided to impose a five match ban on White, as well as suspend his payment for the duration of his time on the sidelines. In total this will mean that White will lose $18,581; an amount which will be ploughed into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
While White’s suspension will no doubt come as a blow both personally and to his team, the penalty certainly wasn’t as severe as it could have been. Indeed, with the Department of Player Safety requesting an in-person hearing, the sentence could have been six games of more. However, given his presence at the meeting and his clean record up until the incident, White was given a more lenient punishment of a five game suspension.
However, losing one of their forwards will still be a problem for the Canadiens as their 7:3 loss to Philadelphia was further impacted by a second loss to the Penguins in the first game without White. Three defeats in a row have certainly hindered Montreal’s chances of league success, as they’ve now stalled on 57 points and sit in fourth place in the NHL Eastern Conference. In contrast, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently on a hot streak of five games which has allowed them to jump ahead of the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals.
The earliest White can return to action will be April 27 when the Canadiens take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, owing to the significance of Hockey Night in Canada, it’s unclear whether White will be able to make the cut for the starting line-up.